Vilnius Yiddish Conference: State-Manipulated Stunt to Cover for Vilnius Antisemitic & Holocaust Revisionist Events the Same Day?

Question: Will the Roskies (In Geveb) & Fishman (JTS) “Yiddish PR conference” financed to deflect attention from the painful issues, publish a morally clear statement of protest (and support for the Jewish community)? Do conference participants appreciate concerns they are being used as “useful Jewish idiots” (UJIs) in the wider effort to rewrite Holocaust history and cover for blatant antisemitism? Note: these aspects do not detract from the high academic quality of some of the visitors’ fine papers. These are two distinct issues albeit now morally linked. This is a conference honoring Zalman Szyk (Zalmen Shik, author of the 1939 book on Vilna), who was murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators. Surely, an event in his memory should not be allowed to cover for state-sponsored glorification of Nazi perpetrators the very same days. A simple, measured, polite statement by the conference’s leaders and participants would have been of paramount importance in the circumstances. But would it have marred those triumphant photo-ops with ministers and officials? (No, actually…)

The Lithuanian Jewish community’s callout to world Jewry came on Aug. 6, smack in the middle of the Roskies-Fishman (In Geveb/JTS) conclave. The world’s Jewish media reported on the situation facing the Lithuanian Jewish community that led to closure of both the synagogue and the community center during the conference (including: Algemeiner Journal, APnewsForward,  France24Jewish Heritage Europe, Times of Israel). Will the conference leaders and participants perhaps  issue a polite statement of support for the Jewish community even  after the event, having failed to dare interrupt glorious photo-ops with parliamentarians and ministers during the proceedings? Perhaps some will be in line for future medals and awards, joining an elite, illustrious coterie.

Group photo of foreign academics flown in, glorified, wined and dined by Lithuanian gov. agencies the same day the capital’s one synagogue and Jewish community had to close because of threats resulting from a publicly sanctioned demonstration glorifying  notorious Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika with a shiny new city-center plaque and bas relief. The conference was dedicated to Zalman Szyk (Zalmen Shik), who was himself  murdered by the ilk of the collaborator glorified on the day of the conference. Source: Forverts.

Are they aware of the systematic exclusion from their conference of all the local Jewish scholars in this field who have expressed disagreement with the glorification of Holocaust collaborators (including Holocaust survivors who have written about Jewish Vilna)? Will they consider signing Ruta Bloshtein’s petition on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery? “Just one thing is sure — that Zalmen Szyk is turning over in his grave” (he was murdered in 1942 by the resolute allies of those glorified the very day of the conference)…

BACKGROUND: See DH sections on collaborators glorifiedNoreika sagaRamanauskas sagaseven Lithuanian-Jewish issues that could be easily resolved; abuse of Jewish studies as deflection and smokescreen; the academic background. the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)

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