OPINION | ANTISEMITISM | OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY | CEMETERIES | HUMAN RIGHTS | LITVAK AFFAIRS
by Dovid Katz
Antisemitism takes many forms in the twenty-first century. It includes the religion-based, the anti-Israel-based, the globalization-based, the envy-based, and the drunk-violence based — all the way to sophisticated and elegant forms that are so sublimated that it is hard to discern what’s what. In Eastern Europe, some rather exotic forms flourish: hatred of remnant local Jewish communities (who know the truth about the Holocaust-relevant roles played by local nationalists during the Holocaust years of 1941-1944/45) alongside love of rich, distant foreign Jews (who can be charmed right to the high heavens with medals, junkets and photo-ops to help underpin Double Genocide revisionism — and sometimes cover for glorification of local collaborators — as part, naturally, of “Holocaust remembrance” or “commemoration of the victims of equal genocidal regimes”).
Then there is the occasionally encountered East European love of substantial Jewish sacred sites that are suitably far from the center of town (“best place is the forest, you know!”) and provide a fine niche in-season tourism without upsetting the ethnic-purity concocted versions of town-center history that want it to be say pure Ukrainian (Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg), pure Latvian (Riga), or pure Lithuanian (Vilnius/Vilna/Wilno/Vílne).
The hard fought battle to keep the convention center out of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was won last summer (report in the AJ). It will go down in history as a victory for Lithuania and all the country’s true friends. Now comes Part II.