Heartfelt Plea for Vilnius Jewish Community to Foreign Members of “Good Will Foundation” (& Charming Reply from AJC’s Andrew Baker)


The following is the text of the public letter from three elected board members of the Vilnius Jewish Community, posted earlier this week, on 12 August, on Facebook (as PDF), and the reply received today, on behalf of the Good Will Foundation, by the American Jewish Committee’s Rabbi Andrew Baker, who is also a medal awardee of the Lithuanian government and a long-time member of its Holocaust-revisionist “red-brown commission” that has caused decades of pain to Holocaust survivors and their families.


State medals for ambitious Westerners who cover for Holocaust revisionism

Destruction of Jewish community democracy in Vilnius

Rabbi S. B. Krinsky was first to expose the moral issues at stake

Abusing the identity of the fragile, struggling Litvak heritage

Battle to save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from humiliation of convention center

(1) Letter from Vilnius Jewish Community board members to GVF board members (12 Aug. 2020):

  • Andrew Eliot Baker (Director of International Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Committee)
  • Julius Berman (Chairman, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
  • Herbert Block (Executive Director of American Zionist Movement)
  • Arie Bucheister (The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
  • Nachliel Dison (Acting Director General, World Jewish Restitution Organization)
  • Robert James Grey (Chair of the World ORT Restitution Committee)
  • Michael Hilsenrath (World Jewish Restitution Organisation)
  • Mark Barry Levin (National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry)
  • Daniel Mariaschin (B’nai B’rith International)

For years now, millions of dollars/euros have been squandered on the morally corrupt leadership of passport attorney Ms. Faina Kukliansky, who has disenfranchised the Jews of Lithuania by changing the election rules of the official Jewish Community three years ago into a vote by cronies who themselves mostly receive benefits from the Good Will Foundation, which she herself co-chairs, making it unclear which is the bigger conflict of interest: that of the attorney who needs the gov. to rapidly process her wealthy foreign clients’ citizenship applications, or the Good Will Foundation and the official Jewish Community becoming one and the same complex of restitution resources being diverted to the benefit of the same few parties.

There is by now a large list of sources on the de-democratisation, extreme nepotism and supreme shamefulness (and shamelessness) of the Good Will Foundation’s process for disbursing funds deriving from the value of the religious properties of the annihilated Jews of Lithuania. To cite one of many examples, the official trilingual website of the official community has repeatedly been used as a mouthpiece for Turto Bankas’s and some politicians’ wish to turn the Old Jewish Cemetery into a convention centre, in spite of massive local and international protest, (an international petition by one the Vilnius Jewish Community’s members is approaching 52,000 signatures). The website has been used (in three languages) to slander those community members who disagree. The Good Will Foundation has failed to provide even one penny of support it promised for the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community. In a recent reply to a television exposé, the GWF website explained that in reality all decisions go through two boards with eminent international members representing the great international Jewish organisations.

We contend that these international members, enjoying banquets, junkets and honours (sometimes even medals) in Vilnius (and who, unlike locals, have absolutely nothing to fear in the way of career-destroying repercussions) have in fact served as an unethical rubber stamp for the personal benefit of Ms. Kukliansky and her collaborators. They have been assured that their names will remain on some obscure web page. Well, no longer. In the absence of change of policy, we hold each of them as co-equally responsible for the tragic “destruction from within” of Lithuania’s small and fragile Jewish community, and of the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in Lithuania, all for the private ambitions of one wealthy lawyer and immediate relatives, and a circle of cronies. We call on you to speak out with force and ethical clarity.
  • Arkady Kurliandchik, member of Vilnius Jewish Community Board
  • Elen Janovskaja, member of Vilnius Jewish Community Board
  • Efim Desiatnik, member of Vilnius Jewish Community Board

(2) Reply received from Rabbi Andrew Baker, American Jewish Committee (14 Aug. 2020):

From: Andrew Baker
Date: 14 Aug. 2020, 17:43
Subject: RE: Letter from Vilnius Jewish Community board members
To: Arkady Kurliandchik
Cc: Faina Kukliansky

Dear Mr. Kurliandchik, et al,

I had debated whether even to reply to your sad, shameful, and libelous email. Certainly, if it had been written on paper and delivered through the postal service, I would have washed my hands thoroughly after reading it.

Your attacks on Faina Kukliansky for squandering “millions of Euros” are baseless. You have challenged her election as Chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in the Lithuanian courts, and they have ruled against you.

You attack me and my fellow international board members of the Good Will Foundation for “supreme shamelessness” in the distribution of funds, “deriving from the value of the religious properties of the annihilated Jews of Lithuania.” How dare you?

Please, I do not need any lecture from you on the source of these funds. I spent over ten years of my life negotiating with three separate Lithuanian Governments—together with Simonas Alperovitch and Faina Kukliansky—for these compensation payments. I have made numerous trips to Vilnius for those negotiations and for other reasons over the years. I would hardly call them “junkets” and few of them were “enjoyable.”

Since it was established, the GWF has been subject to both annual Government audits and audits carried out by private accounting firms. The programs and activities that receive funding from the GWF are identified on its website for all to see.

You are correct that the GWF had promised support for the Vilnius Jewish Community. However, you must first present us with a description of the projects you wish to organize and follow the rules for all grant applicants. This you have failed to do. That is your choice, but you have only yourselves to blame for it.

As you also bring up the case of Snipiskes Cemetery as another means to attack the LJC, I will reply briefly to that, as well. Because of the concerns that emerged already fifteen years ago with private development plans in and around the cemetery, we helped facilitate a visit from Rabbi Eliyakim Schlesinger and his rabbinic colleagues from the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe (CPJCE), the foremost halachic authority on cemeteries in Europe and perhaps the world. Eventually, the CPJCE entered into a formal agreement with the Government to provide oversight for any activity at Snipiskes as well as at other sites in Lithuania. That agreement is still in force, and the CPJCE regularly visits Vilnius. Your own Vilnius Jewish Community President, Simonas Gurevicius, was there at the time of Rabbi Schlesinger’s visit and the signing of this agreement, and he was an enthusiastic supporter of it. Perhaps you would be better served by discussing this matter and your complaints with him.

Andrew Baker


This entry was posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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