Photographic Memories of Roza Bieliauskienė (on her Shlóyshim)


We mark the traditional conclusion of the thirty-day mourning period (standard Yiddish: shlóyshim, Lithuanian Yiddish shléyshim, Hebrew sheloshim) for Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023), founding curator of Lithuania’s Jewish museum, beloved researcher, art historian, guide, teacher, and translator, who has helped thousands of people from near and far with their Jewish culture research over the last 35 years. See Defending History’s obituaries by Dalija Epšteinaitė (Dalia Epstein) and by Dovid Katz; and DH’s video interview with Roza about her life recorded less than a year ago; DH’s Roza Bieliauskienė section.

I: from Roza’s son Julius Bieliauskas:

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We Knew Roza


by Dalia Epstein (Dalija Epšteinaitė)

in memory of

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023)

She died faster than a match burns out. Dumbfounded, we are trying to understand her place in our lives, and in Jewish culture, to which she devoted so much energy. The Jewish Museum in Lithuania has a long-suffering history. It burned, and was plundered, and ceased to exist, opened and closed many times… There were always experienced workers, Torah connoisseurs who knew Hebrew and, of course, Yiddish.

And suddenly, after World War II, only a few of these specialists remained alive. And in 1949 the museum, where writers, journalists and other cultural figures had already settled, the Soviet authorities again closed the museum and dispersed its collections, all that had miraculously survived during the war years, distributing it to various museums in Lithuania. Jewish culture was rapidly destroyed. Yiddish writers either went to camps, like all “rootless cosmopolitans,” or mastered some applied professions, while others began to write in Lithuanian. In a rare Jewish family did they continue to speak máme-loshn (Yiddish). Parents among themselves — yes, but with children in Russian or in Lithuanian.

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Review of Michael Kretzmer’s Documentary Film “J’Accuse”


by Dovid Katz

Genuine heroes of this saga—both written out of the film

  • At left: Evaldas Balčiūnas (who first called his nation’s attention (in Lithuanian) and the world’s (in English) to state-sponsored adulation of Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika. That was a year after his classic essay “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” appeared in Defending History in 2011. Here pictured at Vilnius County Court after one of the hearings in the litany of kangaroo cases against him (Defending History was there at each hearing to support him). He is DH’s 2023 Person of the Year.
  • At right: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas brought his self-crafted poster to a nationalist event on independence day in central Vilnius, with an image to show his people the kind of national hero Lithuania should be celebrating: the inspirational Holocaust-era rescuer Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė (DH’s person of the year in 2018). The gentle, teetotaling mathematician and philosopher took this sign right into the heart of an alcohol-fueled ultranationalist demonstration, leaving observers of every persuasion in awe of his courage. Dr. Kulikauskas boldly led the effort to expose Noreika in Lithuania and is the de facto author of the primary documents underpinning the legal petitions to the state’s Genocide Center and its courts. A Lithuanian American born and raised in California, he and his family migrated to newly free Lithuania decades ago.
  • See DH’s Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas sections. A future film maker might even find an enchanting angle in the stark differences between the two Lithuanian heroes of this story. One is a devout Catholic, the other an atheist. One is an anarchist, the other a nationalist. One an urban family guy, the other a lone thinker and dreamer in a faraway wooden hut in the depths of the Lithuanian countryside.

VILNIUS—Michael Kretzmer’s new documentary J’Accuse! provides a terrific extended interview with legendary truth-teller Silvia Foti. The film’s narration provides effective statements on ongoing East European state adulation of Nazi collaborators though focused on just one, Jonas Noreika of Lithuanian Holocaust infamy (who was the Chicago-born Foti’s grandfather).

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Film, Video, Radio, Music




Rewriting History logo


See also DH sections on: ARTS, BOOKSFILM, MUSIC

Films and Videos on Defending History topics:

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Lithuania Learns Important Lessons ― The Hard Way


by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

The war in Ukraine has truly shaken everyday life in Lithuania. It has, among other things, pushed human rights issues to the background, or reframed them in a strictly military or geopolitical east-west perspective. When information about civilian women being massively and brutally raped by the occupying army reached our shores, a protest was organized at the Russian Embassy in Vilnius. The protest was very similar to the one in Estonia, where Estonian women similarly protested at the Russian Embassy in Tallinn, expressing their solidarity with Ukrainian women by placards depicting victims of sexual violence. They stood by the embassy with horribly blood painted groins and bags on their head. Lithuanian protestors echoed the image. Protesters in Lithuania also brought children’s toys and strollers with them to direct attention to the tragedies of women who got pregnant after being raped. The image was reinforced by “the red pond” because, before the protest, the performance “Swimming Through” took place, during which the famous Lithuanian swimmer Rūta Meilutytė swam across the pond near the Russian Embassy, the water of which had been colored with red dye, to remind the diplomats of the ongoing massacres and atrocities and mass murder in Ukraine.

Lithuanian women activists started organizing various forms of aid to Ukrainian women, from raising funds for mobile gynecological clinics to supplying Ukrainians with hygiene products and pregnancy terminating medication.

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BBC’s New Documentary Helps Viewers Come to Grips with the Start of the Holocaust’s Genocidal Phase


by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)

We are accustomed to the frequent excellence of BBC broadcasts, documentaries, and investigative reports. On January 23, 2023, with its documentary How the Holocaust Began featuring historian James Bulgin, BBC 2 struck a welcoming chord, demonstrating powerfully and convincingly that the Holocaust ― in the sense of the genocide per se, unleashed upon Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 ― started in the Baltic States of Lithuania and Latvia.

Through the works of Michaël Prazan (Einsatzgruppen as a book and TV documentary in French), Efraim Zuroff’s untiring crusade against the states in Eastern Europe that still cover up their complicity in the murder of millions of Jews during World War II (see his renowned book Operation Last Chance and the site of the same name at the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem), through the vigorous and constant series of articles on in the web journal Defending History (see also the documentary Rewriting History by Danny Ben Moshe), we, the attentive and honest readers know what the reality of the Holocaust had been in the Baltic States when Jews were hunted as animals, slaughtered as animals by the German forces, and in many cases before they even arrived, also by the local populations “activists.”. We are cognoscenti but it is reassuring to see that the BBC broadcasts an image of far-reaching collaboration by the local populations in the Baltic States with the focus primarily on Lithuania.

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Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023): Cofounder of Lithuania’s Jewish Museum, Longtime Chief Curator, Educator, Specialist on Litvak Artists


The following is a revised text of Dovid Katz’s obituary that appeared on his Facebook page today.

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023)

The world of Jewish Vilna and Litvaks everywhere mourn in deep sorrow the untimely sudden death of our dear Roza (Róze, Reyzl) Bieliauskienė, beloved scholar of Lithuanian Jewish art, long time historian, museum curator, educator, guide and a loyal friend unafraid of untoward local politics and its boycotts. Whether for an old friend or a foreigner she’d never seen before, Roza would rush to help anyone research anything if it was in the field of Lithuanian Jewish culture, history. Here is our 2 hour+ interview with her (entirely in Yiddish) from less than a year ago (recorded and posted in the Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA) thanks to the generosity of Remembering Litvaks Inc).

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Books in the Debate to 2023 — With Latest on Silvia Foti’s “Nazi’s Granddaughter”



Evaldas Balčiūnas reviews Vilnius Genocide Center chief’s new book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; in German translation

Silvia Foti: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal


Sylvia Foti’s major new book is widely available in English and Lithuanian, among other languages. QUESTION: Why is the center of Vilnius still blighted by an upgraded plaque & bas-relief  (right) and a central boulevard marble slab glorifying Hitler collaborator Jonas Noreika, who masterminded the death of thousands of Jews, and touted his unadulterated hate for Jewish fellow citizens in a prewar book? Why do  Western diplomats, and most visiting American, British and Israeli Jewish dignitaries feel obliged to avoid even the most polite critique of these prominent carbuncles on the face of the European Union? Surely, a true friend of Lithuania would want the best for Lithuania and its international stature, even if a small far-right “history rewriting elite” might feel offended.

Kitos Knygos Books published Lithuanian edition of Silvia Foti’s book; she appeared in Vilnius to launch it at the Feb. 2022 Vilnius Book Fair

See the author’s major op-eds in the New York Times (27 Jan. 2021 [as PDF]), Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021 [as PDF] & Lou Gerber’s 7 Sept.WSJ letter [as PDF]; EU Today (2 Sept. 2021 [as PDF]); author’s BBC Hard Talk interview with Stephen Sackur (15 April 2021); 17 Sept. 2021 report in Spiegel;

Events include: Seminar at Harvard University’s Davis Center; Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (23 Jan. 2022); Palos Heights (Ill.) Public Library (10 May 2022)

Related reports in; Andrew Higgins in The New York Times; Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith on NBC NewsGrant Arthur Gochin in Jewish JournalRichard S. Hirschhaut at American Jewish Committee

Reviews of Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter: Bettina Berch in Jewish Book Council; Liz Mineo in the Harvard Gazette; in the National Book Review.

Background on author’s website.   Spanish edition

When you visit Vilnius, Kaunas and other Lithuanian citizens, be sure to ask the powers that be to remove city-center shrines to brutal Holocaust collaborators that mar this beautiful European country.

See also a selection of street names and public-space shrines across Lithuania and DH’s Collaborators Glorified section. Also: Noreika section.

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Roma Heroism in Ukraine Eases Some Prejudice



by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

At the supermarket door here in Vilnius, I met Olga, a Roma woman. I was surprised that security had not chased her away, since she was begging. Even more, they brought her a chair to sit on, since Olga was pregnant. I thought to myself: “What unseen humanity of the security guards!” I have seen more than once how the begging poor were chased away even from outdoor supermarket surroundings. As I started talking to Olga, we were approached by a nice, well-to-do woman, who donated to Olga a lot of food: sausages, sweet curd snacks for children, pasta, and oil. I was again pleasantly surprised.

However, talking to Olga quickly disabused me of my illusions that perhaps there is now more good will towards the Roma. She told me about the new hardships in these years of crises, as well as about how hard it is for vulnerable people to make ends meet these days.

“Do you think I’m not ashamed to stand here with my hand stretched out?”, asked Olga in tears and added: “I have five children. What else can I do?”

It has been a long time since I asked Roma about work, especially mothers of many, because I know very well how their lives so often progress, traditionally married off in chosen matches while in their early teens and, at only say twenty years of age, a woman can be the mother of multiple children.

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Notes from my Life


by Evaldas Balčiūnas

I was born in Šiauliai on May 27, 1962. My father worked in nearby Kuršėna. My first memories are mostly from there, especially the hamlet Daugėliai, established thanks to a brickyard, and surrounded by forests and the Venta river. My first ten years we children of the common yard rose up against the construction workers who were demolishing the football stadium that we had built with our own hands. For a six-year-old, I was quite adamant, standing up against a construction company truck. Alas, when my mom discovered my struggles, I was forced to rapidly move my resistance underground.

Evaldas Balčiūnas is Defending History’s Person of the Year 2023

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DH’s 2023 Person of the Year: Evaldas Balčiūnas


In the decade since Evaldas Balčiūnas began informing the English-speaking world, in a series of articles in Defending History, of the details, scope, and pain of his own country pursuing a state policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators, the phenomenon has moved from local shadows to the bright lights of open and free debate across the democratic world. His 2012 exposé of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika ultimately led to the publication in America of a bold new book, The Nazi’s Granddaughter by Sylvia Foti. But back here in Lithuania, Evaldas was lugged into court for years and years on kangaroo charges and harassed extensively. The Defending History team was there at each hearing to provide moral support. The day will surely come when Evaldas Balčiūnas — journalist, educator, rebel, author, and historian — will be honored by Jewish and Holocaust history and remembrance groups internationally, by humanists everywhere, and last but not least, by his own country, as its fearless grand  ethicist of the earlier twenty-first century.

Editor’s memoir

Evaldas Balčiūnas

In 2011, when our small Defending History team headed out (as we did each year) to Kaunas to monitor and document the 2011 neo-nazi city center march, an event that glorified Holocaust collaborators, we went for a coffee after the event. There, our mentor who never missed a march before his final illness, Milan Chersonski (1937–2021), the longtime Vilnius Yiddish theatre director and editor for some dozen years of the Lithuanian Jewish community’s quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, told us (in Yiddish, of course): “Look, there is one young Lithuanian who has more courage than the rest of the country combined. He has been writing articles on the tragedy of his country’s government organs glorifying Holocaust collaborators in the public space. And unlike others, he’ll be happy for Defending History to publish them in English translation. Trust me, his articles are more important that all of ours that come from Jewish pens.”

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Jerusalem Post’s ‘Report’ on ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture’ Fails to Even Mention Public Shrines Glorifying Local Holocaust Perpetrators


Not for the first time, the Jerusalem Post has sent a “correspondent” to Lithuania to do a write-up in the professional style of a journalist’s report, that serves in fact to facilitate the project of some branches of the Lithuanian government to falsify Holocaust history (2013 example). This falsification is not in the spirit of classical denial of the last century. It is rather primarily a case of dotting the country with shrines (street names, plaques, sculptures, school and university hall names), all in the public space, all financed by the state, that actually glorify local Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators, while simultaneously investing a fortune in “Jewish events” that will hypnotize naive foreign visitors who like royal treatment, photo-ops with officials, and delightful attention.

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Western European Intellectuals Must be Alert to Peril of Being Made into Useful Idiots by Lavish Baltic History Revisionism


by Roland Binet  (De Panne, Belgium)

Annelies Beck is a Flemish journalist whom I admire. She is a tough cookie. I have often seen her interviewing politicians and admired her determination, intelligence and open-mindedness. So, I was quite curious to read her opinion piece in the literary supplement of the Flemish language De Standaard dated November 26, 2022, entitled “History is Far From Gone” and relating to a conference in Lithuania she went to on the subject of the role of public television within democracies. She is also a writer. In her opinion piece, she focuses on what the Lithuanians did during the Soviet occupations to protect and preserve their language: “The Lithuanians whom I later questioned declared the importance of resistance through language and literature (…) in different periods of their history.” While visiting, Mrs. Beck was impressed by what she saw “in a cell in the cellar of the Genocide Museum,”  imagining all the prisoners during the Soviet occupation, symbolized by the eighteen different layers of color having been necessary to wipe out all the graffiti they had scratched on the walls. She also writes, referring to a conversation she had with a Lithuanian journalist colleague, “that some heroic partisans were also antisemites” (no mention that many of those glorified were in fact recycled 1941 Holocaust perpetrators).

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Wollongong, Australia is a Long Way from Kaunas, Lithuania: Discovering a Holocaust Collaborator Among Us


by Michael Samaras

Michael Samaras at the Wollongong Art Gallery in Australia

Wollongong, an Australian city located about 80 kilometres south of Sydney, is a long way from Lithuania’s Kaunas, which probably made it attractive to Bronius Sredersas. He arrived in 1950, having fled Lithuania ahead of the Red Army in 1944. For the next 25 years Sredersas, one of more than 100,000 displaced persons to settle in Australia, worked in Wollongong’s steelworks. He led an unobtrusive life and acquired an anglicised nickname, “Bob”. He never married and didn’t waste his money. Instead, he saved his pay, frequented auction houses and with a canny eye built a substantial art collection.

In 1976, Sredersas shocked the citizens of his adopted city by presenting his art collection to them. For an industrial city like Wollongong, which didn’t even have an art gallery, this gift was a sensation. It triggered the establishment of the Wollongong Art Gallery which has since grown into a major regional cultural institution.

Sredersas was widely celebrated in the media and an exhibition space within the new gallery was named in his honor. After his death in 1982, his memory was preserved with eminent persons giving lectures in his memory. The gallery erected a plaque and hosted the Sredersas Dinner as a fundraising social event.

In 2018, the gallery staged a major exhibition celebrating Sredersas. Titled “The Gift”, the exhibition included a recreation of his home, a display of the artworks, a video, and a symposium on his life and benefaction.

Publicity for the exhibition included mention that in Lithuania, Sredersas had been a policeman. While I was aware of Sredersas’ life as a steelworker in Australia, his prior career as a policeman was new to me. I knew though that the Nazis had relied on local collaborators, formed into police battalions, to carry out the Holocaust in Lithuania. I was appalled at the possibility that Wollongong, my home town, might be honoring a Holocaust perpetrator and decided to see if I could find out more.

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Rabbinic Specialist on Divorce Survived Warsaw Ghetto, Went on to Rebuild Jewish Life in Fürth, Germany


by Yizhak Ahren

Moshe Nathan Rosenfeld: The Rav of Fürth. The Legacy and Legend of Rav Dovid Kahane Spiro. London 2021, 696 pp., £25.00/ $35.00 + postage. Orders directly from:

Rabbi Dovid Kahana Spiro (1901-1970) was a very pious and learned man who cofounded the Jewish community in Fürth after the Holocaust. He worked there for twenty-five years as a community rabbi and helped numerous people in need. The Firter Rov (Fürther Rav) was buried in the Har Hamenuchos Cemetery in Jerusalem. A picture of his tombstone can be found in Moshe Rosenfeld’s recently published book on Rabbi Spiro. The book’s thirteen chapters cover in great detail the origins of  the family Spiro, their pre-war life in Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto, survival, rebuilding, dialogue with a bishop, divorce cases and much more.

The author, who now lives in London, grew up in Fürth and practically from birth had a close relationship with Rabbi Spiro, who lived next door. Rosenfeld’s mother was the rabbi’s cousin, and his father became his right-hand man. The author frankly admits that he should have asked a thousand questions at the time, but didn’t. And therefore there are many answers that he honestly does not know today. Nevertheless, with a vast amount of work and love, he  managed to collect a wealth of material and to publish this extensive work. The history of the Spiro family, that lived in Poland, is presented in great detail.Continue reading

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Papers by Professor Michael Shafir (1944-2022)

Please send additions and corrections to Thank you.

Between Denial and “Comparative Trivialization”: Holocaust Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe

The Nature of Postcommunist Antisemitism in East Central Europe: Ideology’s Backdoor Return

Conceptualizing Hungarian Negationism in Comparative Perspective: Deflection and Obfuscation

Political Antisemitism in Romania: Hard Data and its Soft Underbelly

A Present Chiaroscuro: Review of Himka & Michlich (eds), Bringing the Dark Past to Light: the Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe

Questions and Answers on the Holocaust-Gulag “Comparative Martyrology”

Einmal mehr zu einer Vergangenheit, die nicht vergeht


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Defenders of Truth of the East European Holocaust Mourn Sudden Death of Professor Michael Shafir

We mourn the sudden and untimely death of our dear colleague, mentor and teacher


(4 January 1944 – 9 November  2022)


The entire Defending History community mourns the  untimely sudden death of the great Holocaust historian, who was in recent months putting final touches on the manuscript of his new book on the East European revisionist campaign, and its many Western and Jewish nochsheppers. Inspired by Randolph L. Braham (1922-2018), among others, Professor Shafir’s papers covering the whole swath of East European governments’ huge investments to “fix” the Holocaust made him the pioneer of the academic and intellectual resistance to state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism. May his completed book and all his other writings soon be made accessible to scholars and the public alike. His works will live on and in time come to be recognized for their successful exposure of the vast and elaborately financed efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust. For an introduction, please read some of his seminal papers in the field.

Michael Shafir section in

Under construction:

Papers by Michael Shafir

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Will Second Opinions be Heard at Yale-Fortunoff Nov. 9 Event featuring Professors Dieckmann & Snyder?

Will Second Opinions be Heard at Yale-Fortunoff Nov. 9 Event?

Hopefully, families of Connecticut area Holocaust survivors will be included at the event, 5 PM at Luce Hall (room 202)

More on history of the Lithuanian gov. financed “Red-Brown Commission” of which the Yale-Fortunoff speakers are long-standing members

Two truly gifted and prolific scholars are featured on Nov. 9. But both have been extensively instrumentalized by the Lithuanian government for years. Both are veteran members (one for 25 years?) of the state-sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” that has been the engine for Holocaust revisionism in the spirit of Double Genocide and the Prague Declaration in the European Parliament. The commission has caused Holocaust survivors huge pain from day one. The other was brought to Vilnius a decade ago to help cover for (and deflect from) the reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister. Please attend and ask both about the Lithuanian government’s vast “history fixing industry” coming clean on:

(a) the thousands of Jews murdered by Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) butchers before the first Germans arrived or took over and the state effort to “cancel” this “little fact” from the historical record and narrative;

(b) the state’s current glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators via street names, plaques, sculptures, and museums;

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Will ‘Jewish’, ‘Litvak’ & ‘Yiddish’ Parts of ‘Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture’ Festivities Include Calls for Removal of Kaunas’s Hurtful Public Shrines to Holocaust Collaborators?



KAUNAS—The last Holocaust survivors in this city that gave birth to the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941 (before the first German soldiers arrived, later that week) are in pain to learn that their government is now investing in foreigner-rich “Jewish” and “Litvak” and “Yiddish” events as part of gala PR for this year’s Kaunas 2022 “Capital of European Culture” program — without also removing the city’s shrines to the most infamous collaborators and perpetrators of the genocide. The Defending History community congratulates Kaunas on the European year of honor, while urging its foreign participants and honorees to politely and with dignity call  (publicly!) for Kaunas to kindly remove its prominent state-sponsored public-space shrines, monuments and memorials to major local Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators. By speaking out, with dignity and publicly, they would be successfully countering the moral taint of ipso facto being used as “Useful Jewish Idiots” (known as “UJIs”) to cover for the ongoing failure to remove even one such shrine and thereby participating actively (and having been forewarned) in the current (East European based) incarnation of Holocaust revisionism and denial (covered up with lavish “Jewish events”). By failing to do so, they would bring moral taint upon themselves for all time, while deeply offending the legacy of the victims and survivors, and more broadly, the rights of minorities everywhere to life without genocide.

The Kaunas region even has a state school named for an alleged killer at the June 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre, one about which the British Parliament weighed in.

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Defending the History of: Yiddish at Oxford


Under the leadership of the visionary founder of modern Jewish studies at Oxford University, Dr. David Patterson (1922–2005), the academic research and teaching institution which he created became for around two decades a major world center of Yiddish studies. That institution was the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies (since renamed the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies). Indeed, it was Yiddish in the last quarter of the twentieth century that catapulted the Centre from just another sleepy Hebrew studies unit to a world-class center in advanced studies, including successful doctoral programs that provided a generation of (today’s) professors, and seminal publications in English and Yiddish that will be there for centuries to come. The kind of thing that the current twenty-first century incarnation of the same institution might well look back on with pride and even some nostalgia.

Among today’s scholars, educators, authors and personalities in the wider arts who were attracted to come and study Yiddish by our team, enabled at each stage by Dr. Patterson (in an array of settings ranging from weekly classes through summer courses to doctoral programs) at the Centre between the 1970s and 1990s are Prof. Marion Aptroot, Dr. Helen Beer, Prof. James Dingley, Prof. Jennifer Dowling, Prof. Gennady Estraikh, Mr. Elliot Gertel, Prof. Christopher Hutton, Dr. Devra Kay, Prof. Dov-Ber Kerler, Ms. Miri Koral, Dr. Holger Nath, Prof. Ritchie Robertson, Ms. Elinor Robinson, Mr. David Schneider, Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro, Prof. Astrid Starck, Dr. Heather Valencia, Prof. Nina Warnke, Mr. Tim Whewell, among many others.

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