Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter, and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, has posted the following comment on the website of Tablet magazine, as one of the comments to a new book review. The comment also appears separately on Facebook.
Tag Archives: Double Genocide
Efraim Zuroff on Tablet Magazine’s Co-Sponsorship of Lithuanian Government’s Yivo Event, and a Suggestion for Yivo’s Audience
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
Jonas Öhman is a Swede who has been coming to Lithuania and living here on and off from almost the beginning of modern independence in the 1990-1991 period. During that time he has produced a number of films, only one of which appears to his credit on the internet film database imdb.com, but all of which deal more or less with a mythologized version of the history of Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.
The 2008 Prague Declaration was followed by the EU’s controversial establishment of the 2011 “Prague Platform” which has been a major disseminator of Double Genocide political and academic products intended to appear neutral rather than of the East European far right (see Double Genocide section for examples over the years). Internally, the movement has been torn by strife between the “witch hunters” who want to exclude from the Double Genocide movement (known by any number of Eurisms, e.g. “equal evaluation of totalitarian regimes”) persons who held communist related posts before the USSR’s collapse, and those who take a more moderate stance toward their own followers’ pasts.
Followers of our Media page have noticed the rapidly moving events in recent days:
This week has seen a further public and, in most assessments, vitriolic attack, from the president of the (Prague-based) “Platform of European Memory and Conscience,” the European Union financed body responsible for “enacting” the 2008 Prague Declaration, against one of its own founding constituent members, the (Prague-based) “Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.”
The news release, which was also circulated widely via the WUPJ’s emailed news reports, follows by half a year the SYD’s endorsement by Britain’s major Orthodox union, The United Synagogue, in the summer of 2013. [SYD text in European languages]
At the request of Defending History, Dr. Clemens Heni’s office in Berlin has kindly made available for our readers’ convenience a PDF comprising his writings and presentations between 2009 and 2013 that deal with the 2008 Prague Declaration and its subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) links with contemporary antisemitism. Dr. Heni is author, among other works, of Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon (Berlin 2013).
If Israel Can Honor the USSR’s Unquestionable Role in Bringing Down Hitler, Why Can’t France and the European Union?
O P I N I O N
by Didier Bertin
From the very beginning, the source of our problems is to be found in an inaccurate narrative of World War II that is rather widespread here in France. This can be explained in part by France’s position as a de facto ally of the Axis at first, starting from the time of Petain’s surrender to Hitler’s forces in 1940. It was rather late in the war that a substantial segment of society in the country per se (as opposed to the heroic resisters who had joined the Allies outside surrendered France’s borders) became a stalwart ally of the United States and Great Britain, at a time when that was by a confluence of circumstances most convenient for all three countries.
A German translation of this article appeared in Die Presse (Vienna) on 7 November 2013. The original English text appears here with the author’s permission. Dr. Denis MacShane, a former British MP and Foreign Office minister writes widely on European politics. His Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism (Weidenfeld and Nicolson) appeared in 2008. See also Defending History’s Denis MacShane section.
O P I N I O N
England has the most provincial intellectual class in Europe. Very few professors (unless they are foreign language teachers or specialists in say French or Italian history) will speak and read a foreign language fluently. They do not pick up Le Monde, Der Spiegel or El Pais and wait, sometime for years, for a translation of a key work published in a European language to appear in London.
O P I N I O N
by Michael Shafir (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
1. Approximately when did the drive to equate the Holocaust and the sufferings endured by people under Communist regimes start?
It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact date. In the West, a number of Sovietologists have long driven attention to the fact that the horrible crimes perpetuated by Stalin and his henchmen in East Central Europe deserved the attention and the opprobrium that Nazism met with after the Second World War. Due to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous book Gulag, these crimes soon began to be referred to under the synthetic name of that book. The collapse of the Communist regimes in the region in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 intensified that drive, which also found an impulse in the once popular (but later criticized) “totalitarian model.” That model was now revived, finding support particularly in the eastern part of Europe that had suffered under Soviet domination. Western historians were (and still are) quite divided over this issue. For example, Robert Conquest, who produced several important books on Stalinist crimes, was reluctant to place the Holocaust and the Gulag on the same footing. On the other hand, Stéphane Courtois, who edited and contributed to the Black Book of Communism, not only embraced the comparison, but insisted on
British MP John Mann, Chair of Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, Speaks Out on “Double Genocide”
MP John Mann (photo: Guardian)
2013: “It is an industrial rewriting of history in Eastern Europe to excuse mass murders carried out on behalf of the Nazis.”
O P I N I O N
A REVIEW OF THE PRAGUE PLATFORM’S TRAVELLING EXHIBITION “TOTALITARIANISM IN EUROPE” PAID FOR BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (CURRENTLY ON SHOW AT TUSKULĖNAI PARK IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA)
by Geoff Vasil
At the edge of downtown Vilnius, along the river Neris where the buildings suddenly turn old and worn and bushes, trees and grass take on unmanicured forms, across the bridge whose entree is gated by the Danish and British embassies to Lithuania, there is a strange park nestled in between some very empty Soviet-looking and much older buildings.
The renowned philosopher and current Liberal MEP representing Lithuania, Professor Leonidas Donskis, has spoken out again on the interrelationships between current antisemitism and Double Genocide discourse, and on the enormous credit due Lithuanian authors who dare confront the historic truth. The following article appeared in the print edition of The Baltic Times on 29 August 2013. Daiva Čepauskaitė’s 2011 play, Day and Night, referred to in the article, was reviewed in Defending History in December 2011. See also our Bold Citizens page.
O P I N I O N
by Danny Ben-Moshe (Melbourne)
I remember my first visit to Yad Vashem as a 16-year-old visitor to Jerusalem. It had a profound, and indeed formative, effect on me. I left there with a badge clipped to my lapel inscribed with the motto, zakhor, the Hebrew word for remember.
Yet for all its splendid work, Yad Vashem whose formal title is The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, I am sorry to say, is now dramatically failing both the martyrs and heroes of the country where the percentage of the Jewish community annihilated in the Holocaust was higher than anywhere else in Europe – Lithuania.
O P I N I O N
This opinion piece and eyewitness report by Geoff Vasil relates to the July 10th event in honor of the Red-Brown Commission held at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library. See related reports on the library’s instrumentalization as a PR platform for the Commission and the more or less contemporaneous announcement of the Commission’s resumed activities, in the absence of apologies to Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg, and the other accused Holocaust survivors.
State-sponsored Zingeris-Račinskas “red-brown commission” (officially: International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania) in Vilnius posts new list of members.
Page on the commission
Resignations to date from Commission-related bodies include Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert (London), Prof. Gershon Greenberg (Washington DC), Prof. Konrad Kwiet (Sydney) and Prof. Dov Levin (Jerusalem).
Holocaust survivors themselves have stood up to express disquiet about some aspects of the commission: Yitzhak Arad, Pinchos Fridberg (more), Dov Levin (more), Joseph Melamed (more), Basheva Ran, the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, Jewish Community of Lithuania / Union of Ghetto Survivors. A decade and a half of issues.
See also: Defending History’s Film and Theatre section; recent films with Dr. Efraim Zuroff; films on rescuers.
• Rewriting History by Marc Radomsky and Danny Ben-Moshe: Reviews; 2013 USA screening tour; Facebook page; SYD site. Background of Prague Declaration, the resistance to which led to the film.
• Prosecutors help neo-Nazis target women’s rights advocates (instead of standing with the victims); see also Lina Žigelytė’s essay.
• Defending Holocaust History (release date: 23 September 2013).
• The Pit of Life and Torment, by Lilija Kopač, Danutė Selčinskaja, Algis Liutkevičius and Anatolijus Tetiušinas, based on the life story of Moyshe Kukliansky and his family.
Films focused on Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, and including the nexus of failure of certain governments to take seriously the prosecution of Nazi war criminals and the quest to distort history:
• CNN documentary featuring Efraim Zuroff in Lithuania: completed but never aired. . . Can it be rescued by a non-profit organization?
The Lithuanian government sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes of Lithuania,” known for short as the “Red-Brown Commission” has recently added a new layer of obfuscation and opacity to its activities.
Its website has deleted the names of the “Members of the Commission” thereby rendering it a kind of “secret society.”
O P I N I O N
by Pinchos Fridberg
Editor’s note [updated 27 January 2013]:
Pinchos Fridberg, a native and resident of Vilnius, is a Holocaust survivor. He graduated from Vilnius University in 1961 and completed his PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics in 1965 and an additional doctoral science degree in radio physics in 1974. From 1961 to 1978 he was chair of the Laboratory of Theoretical Investigations at the Vilnius Scientific Institute of Radio Measuring Devices. In 1978 he joined Grodno State University, where he was named professor. In 1989 he became head of the Department of Theoretical Radio Physics at the Zondas Company in Vilnius.
Compiled by Dovid Katz
EU/NATO Ally Honors Holocaust Collaborator; Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Protest; 3 US Congressmen Write to Prime Minister
Remains of 1941 fascist leader Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) met by honor guard at Vilnius Airport on 17 May 2012 and reburied in Kaunas’s Church of the Resurrection on the 20th, as city’s mayor dismisses criticism.
Office of the prime minister, who signed off on government funding (€8,700 / US $11,000), defends reburial & honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” who personally signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for (1) “all means” against Jews (but avoiding executions in public); (2) setting up a concentration camp for Lithuanian Jews [euphemism for the carnage underway at the Seventh Fort]; (3) all Kaunas Jews to be herded into a ghetto within 4 weeks (English here).
Solemnly commemorates the Holocaust and reaffirms human rights of all people. Opposes the Prague Declaration and ‘Double Genocide’ politics. Rejects glorification of the Waffen SS of Estonia and Latvia and the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF).
Lithuania’s foreign minister’s “moustache response” came within minutes of SYD’s release.