[LAST UPDATES; FIRST PUBLICATION: 13 MAY]
THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA | OPINION | MEDIA WATCH | LITHUANIA’S JEWISH COMMUNITY | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | US STATE DEPT. MANIPULATED? | WHEN FOREIGN MINISTRIES PLAY WITH THE HOLOCAUST | HUMOR (OF SORTS)
You just could not make this stuff up. A powerful government unit of an East European democracy that is a member of the EU and NATO wants nothing more than to plonk a monument in America for someone who was not only an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles of 2014, 2017 and 2019), but who is today a prime icon of the country’s neo-Nazis. Indeed, his visage is first on their banner of “national heroes” used to front torch-lit neo-Nazi parades in the nation’s capital. The monument is unveiled in Chicago on May 4, 2019.
High government officials from the Seimas and the Lithuanian consulate in New York jad fronted an effort to put the monument in New Britain, Connecticut, and charm that city’s mayor (2017) into going along with the plan, without mentioning the honoree’s having boasted in his own memoirs of leading a pro-Hitler militia in the days when the Lithuanian Holocaust was launched in late June of 1941. After many months of discussion (2018), the city council of New Britain overwhelmingly turns down the idea.
Then (now), a year later (spring 2019), the monument is plonked, on 4 May, on the grounds of the World Lithuanian Center in Chicago, causing huge pain to Holocaust survivors and their families and frankly, many friends of Lithuania who cannot understand why a great country with a grand history of so many universally beloved heroes “needs” to glorify those who collaborated with Hitler in 1941 in a land where some 96% of the Jewish population was butchered, and where the real heroes that year were the amazingly courageous inspirational Lithuanians who rescued a Jewish neighbor from the LAF and the other Hitlerist groupings about. Some snitty little groups even have the chutzpah to name years for them (for example, 2018 and 2019).
State-sponsored East European Jewish communities can negotiate away many things, but not the history of the Holocaust. It is not for sale, rent, or up for negotiation. Period.
After its 2017 fiasco, the Israeli embassy remained silent, but its name was frequently invoked by diplomats in trying to assuage concerns in the US.
The country’s foreign minister, who got himself into trouble last year by agreeing with critics that monuments to a much better documented collaborator be taken down, was “chosen” to give legitimacy to this monument’s unveiling in the Windy City. But that didn’t help him escape the wrath of the nation’s top neo-Nazi blogger who for the second time lumped him together in a photoshop hit job with Defending History’s editor. Perhaps not that much worse can happen to a foreign minister in this part of the world? But then again, see the first time…
But the best efforts of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry and fellow-travelling neocons in the US State Department to prevent the Chicago Monument from hitting the media do not wholly succeed. There are reports in New York City’s Algemeiner, the Grayzone, Wiesenthal Center, and in a bunch of British venues not affected by the foggy bottom induced fog: the BBC, the Independent, the Telegraph. That’s all in addition to the usual chicanery and sanctimonious, opportunistic crocodile tears from Comrade Putin’s own media. Yikes.
What to do?
In a modern day version of the medieval court Jews being whisked into action, the official head of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) is flown by express mail to a grand photo-op in Washington with the foreign minister and their main American Jewish macher in fixing all the Jewish news from the Baltics and beyond: the man from the American Jewish Committee, who is, along with the head of the LJC, joint chairperson of the Good Will Foundation that disburses the millions in restitution to their heart’s content (the precise methodology for that was forensically analyzed and published by today’s official rabbi of Vilnius’s single synagogue; he was somehow not flown in to DC for this photo bash). In fact, there is a whole bunch of (mostly American) Useful Jewish Idiots, colloquially known as UJIs, who have walked away from Vilnius with medals, awards, honors and sundry glories of the realm.
Never mind that the chairperson of the state-sponsored Jewish community lost her democratic legitimacy two years ago when in the middle of the election campaign, the rules were changed to disenfranchise all three thousand living Jewish people in Lithuania, in favor of changing the “community” into an “association of associations,” these being the cronies around her table that count as the “board”. After being declared illegal, the action was on appeal found to be truly legal (what a high moral standard — that something is not illegal).
The state-sponsored “official” Jewish community issues a statement to make the foreign ministry happy in all things Chicago. It reads:
“The Lithuanian Jewish Community in response to a difference of opinion regarding a monument commemorating Adolfas “Vanagas” Ramanauskas unveiled in Chicago underlines our support for the struggle by the Lithuanian nation for an independent Lithuanian state. The LJC does not question making monuments to honor those who fought for Lithuanian freedom so long as the facts don’t testify to more controversial facts implicating such fighters as Holocaust perpetrators. In the cases of Jonas Noreika, Krištaponis and Kazys Škirpa such facts are known. At the present time the LJC has no reliable information implicating Lithuanian partisan leader Adolfas Ramanauskas in Holocaust crimes.“
But things are never that simple here. This wording, on the LJC website’s English section and intended for foreign Jewish eyes, was the basis for a much more gung-ho sounding endorsement of Ramanauskas in LRT’s report on the subject entitled “Lithuanian Jewish Community says it has no problem with monument for partisan leader Ramanauskas” thereby cementing the puppet Jewish community’s expertise at serving government masters while using a different tone for “the Jews” even on questions as morally powerful as the Holocaust. Needless to say, there were no complaints that the LRT report somehow “misrepresented” the LJC statement; it did not. It was, as ever, all part of the master PR finesse that hundreds of thousands of euros from the restitution deriving from the properties of the annihilated religious Jewish communities of Lithuania bring to bear nowadays for obfuscating the Holocaust.
The foreign minister was so thrilled that he tweeted out his profound gratitude right down to Trumpian capitalization of the word “world”:
But hey, wait a second! How is the truly enormous price Lithuania paid for freedom better conveyed to the world by the glorification of leaders of Hitlerist bands of white-armbanders who went around in 1941 to initiate the moral and physical destruction of their own country’s citizens of a certain minority? Moreover, what kind of “moral license” can the head of the vassal state-sponsored Jewish community give the foreign minister in such circumstances?
As usual, the first Vilnius publication to see that “something is wrong” was the perspicacious Weekly of Vilnius, which rapidly published this commentary (PDF here):
“The Weekly of Vilnius research team finds it very strange and odd that Lithuania’s foreign ministry and foreign minister are in charge of Lithuanian citizens who happen to be believers in the Jewish faith! This makes one wonder: are Lithuanian Jewish citizens considered to be foreigners in their own home country because they are not Christians, or Muslims, or pagan etc. Shouldn’t Lithuania’s Ministry of Interior’s Department of Minorities or Social Affairs, or other “internal” government bodies responsible for managing Lithuanian Jewish affairs — Is being Jewish now considered a citizenship in its own right! How odd! Things seem not to make common sense anymore — or be upside down or inside out, or somewhat in-between!”
Maybe we can help out? What would happen if a hypothetical official Jewish community still in possession of elementary spiritual and intellectual freedom would have said something like, just for example:
“We are of course deeply disturbed that Mr. Ramanauskas himself boasted in his memoirs of leading an LAF militia during the weeks when the LAF was humiliating, plundering, injuring and killing Jewish civilians up and down the country. They also surrounded towns to send back Jewish neighbors trying to escape the Nazi choke-hold. We are, moreover, deeply disturbed by some of the materials cited in the articles of Mr. Balciunas and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. We are deeply disturbed to note that after months of carefully considering the question of this monument being placed in public space in Mr. Ramauskas’s birthplace, New Britain, Connecticut, that town’s democratically elected City Council overwhelmingly rejected the monument one year ago. But we are not specialists in history. What we do know is that the guy is today a prime icon for the shameful and hateful neo-Nazi parades in Vilnius and Kaunas. That’s enough for our community not to be overjoyed at our taxpayer money and nation’s prestige going into this monument out in faraway Chicago.”
Nope, that would be far too radical and petty jewsousie for the court Jews, the Pylimite Ministry of Jewish Affairs, and the Good Will Foundation Superior Executive Club. Well, not quite like the one-time effusive statements thanking the Genocide Center (the Defending History whino years have taken their toll on state Jewish leaders’ precise formulations). But for the Chicago Monument saga, sill, more than enough to bring a huge vote of gratitude from the foreign ministry to the “independent” Jewish community fueled by the millions in state restitution funds and staffed at top levels by Lithuanian political operatives called “Litvaks,” including the Executive Director who is also a member of the mayor’s political faction on the Vilnius city council, and the Director of the Directorate who is the daughter of a major foreign ministry official who is a top PR expert (rumors are flying about “the other renaldas” being beamed in to help ensure that the state’s plans for a convention center in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery are not disturbed unduly, never mind the world’s opposition, or the 46,000 signature petition). But heck, if the community’s chairperson, now elected by the system of “associations” instead of Jewish people, can also be a major private attorney specializing in citizenship and passports, why the heck not? Those local Jews are a bunch of old nobodies to be forgotten. The important Jews, of America and Israel (and dammit, South Africa) can now write in to the Ministry, Directorate, and Secretariat, to ask about the grand new restitution that shall be coming ’round the mountain when she comes.
Meantime, the death threats (Facebook; PDF; translation) from the neo-Nazis keep coming DH’s way; someone has to do the dirty work of elementary truth about the history that is just not ours (or anybody’s) to sell, or even to rent out. Coming over Ramanauskas, New Britain, and Chicago, they were apparently instigated by the neo-Nazis’ top blogger in Lithuania, “Zeppelinus” (PDF; part transl.) who is said to work in the Ministry of the Economy But does he really? Surely someone wants to investigate the identity of a nation’s chief purveyor of fascist trash against women, Jews, people of color, Roma, Poles, the LGBTQ community, and more. Doesn’t anyone in the Foreign Ministry care about the damage this is doing to Lithuania worldwide? Wouldn’t that be more constructive that investing all those resources in getting court Jews (and a couple of DC shleppers-along) to front the whitewashing (and glorification in marble) of this or that alleged collaborator?
BUT REMEMBER THAT EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT!
On the subject of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika, the official Jewish community finally came around to the simple truth, and even boldly exposed the Genocide Center’s far-right distortion of history with the help of that institution’s “Jew for hire”….
AND DON’T FORGET THAT TODAY’S LITHUANIA HAS ITS TRULY INSPIRATIONAL POLITICAL FIGURES WHOSE HEROIC STANCES WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN
Instead, the chairperson of the state-sponsored Jewish community was duly flown into Washington to participate in the victory conference after plonking of the Chicago monument, right alongside the American Jewish Committee’s Lithuania specialist, a recipient of medals and glories, co-chair of the money-disbursing Good Will Foundation, and someone who has yet to spend one hour meeting some everyday Jewish people in Lithuania.
One of those everyday people, an elderly gentleman who frequents the synagogue had this to say about it all: “Remember the good old days when we had a real Jewish community, we’d all come together and argue it out over a drink, before the millions from restitution completely ruined everything?”
The caption doesn’t mention whether the agenda included also plans for the PR needed to cover for the siting of the new national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt in the Snipiskes district, on the basis of “permissions” given by the alleged London grave traders of the CPJCE. Surely, cheers at conventions, drinks and bars and flushing of toilets surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves will be spun by the PR maestros as a great advance in preservation of Jewish heritage. The chairperson of the state’s Jewish affairs department and the AJC’s point man will be on hand to offer congratulations and declare the 46,000 petition signers to be dodo dimwits. There will even be signs telling people to meditate about the dead and buried during the conventions, drinks and visits to the washrooms. All part of the Good Will Foundation’s sacrosanct mission no doubt.
Why is the US ambassador to Lithuania at this meeting? More State Dept. collusion with far-right East European Holocaust Fixing? See DH’s section on the subject, sources on the 2009 shift of policy, and a list of links up to 2017. The American ambassador systematically excludes from events, consultations and policy discussions the democratically elected chairperson the Vilnius Jewish Community, Mr. Simon Gurevich, who represents the 2,200 Jewish citizens of Vilnius, who are the vast majority of today’s Lithuanian Jewish community of under 3,000. For nearly a decade, at first in her earlier role serving the previous ambassador, she has been helping state government agencies pursue Holocaust revisionism in the guise of Holocaust studies (2010 correspondence with the now US ambassador; plea from Holocaust survivors (never answered); article in Tablet).
Whatever happened to America’s time honored diplomatic practice of genuine embassy renewals to ensure that America has access to a range of opinions from all sides of a question and that its ambassadors do not become mired in misguided personal-loyalty driven petty alliances with cunning local forces serving their own interests, interests that may well violate core American values?
Veterans of what coalesced as the Defending History community in Vilnius remember with both awe and affection the superb United States ambassadors in Lithuania, including, in this century, Keith C. Smith, John F. Tefft, Stephen D. Mull, and with special gratitude, John A. Cloud, Jr. and, in his time, the inspiring attaches Joe Bosky and Tim O’Conner. These were people of conscience who reached out to men and women on all sides of an issue to move issues forward with dignity and without defamation against people of other opinions (including US citizens whom the embassy is supposed to represent). What happened?