Tag Archives: Holocaust in Lithuania

When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

[UPDATE OF 27 NOV: See now the same author’s follow-up article of 22 Nov. including links to the known responses and debates up to that date. See now Ruta Bloshtein’s short essay in DH].

Many in the local Lithuanian Jewish and the international Litvak communities have responded with some shock to the news that the Lithuanian government’s official “Year of the Gaon of Vilna and Jewish Heritage” has been launched by a handsome, shiny 10 Euro Coin that plonks a symbol beloved in recent years of neo-Nazis (and prominently used in their new projects) onto a Jewish Menorah. The symbolism strikes some as evoking the idea that the largely vanished Lithuanian Jews and their language make for one of the “cute Jewish toys” for the ultranationalist camp to exploit in its PR outreach to unwitting foreigners.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Ten Euro Gaon Combo Coin (and its prehistory), When an East European Gov. Imposes a Far-Right Symbol Beloved of Neo-Nazis as 'Representative' of Nation's Annihilated Jewish Minority Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When is a Hollowed-Out Jewish Menorah a Flowerpot for a Symbol Nowadays Brandished by Far-Right Antisemites?

Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?


[updated 29 August 2019]


Twenty years after Joe Melamed named Noreika & Škirpa as Holocaust collaborators in Crime & Punishment. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Skirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of “Noreika Plaque” in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Protest Mayor’s Actions and Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

Media coverage: AFPAJ,  AP/WAPOA7BBCBS,  EJCIHJNS,   JTA,  TOI 

Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Midsummer Week of Vilnius Synagogue Closure, Antisemitic Demo Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators; A Roskies-Fishman Conference for Neat Cover?

Raphael Ahren’s Important 4 Aug. Article in Times of Israel; DH’s Response



OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—Who’s afraid of DefendingHistory.com? Yet again, a treatment of Holocaust history and Jewish issues in Lithuania involving government funding of a journalist’s trip coincides with the “two frightening words” Defending History not being mentioned, in spite of the journal’s being one of the central addresses for these matters for a decade now, entailing publication of several thousand reports over the decade, including dozens of authors and subjects. There has been no such hesitation in reports in the New York Times, BBC and other general outlets. Are readers of Jewish publications not entitled to the same standards of inclusion of views and news?

Today’s extensive and important article by Raphael Ahren  on some of the most pressing Lithuanian-Jewish issues appears in The Times of Israel. The Defending History community’s comments appear in an informal posting on the journal’s Facebook page. An unedited paste-in follows below.


Who’s afraid to mention the words Defending History?


Congrats to Raphael Ahren on his historically important article in today’s Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/graves-guilt-and-genius-inside-lithuanias-struggle-with-its-checkered-past/.
Its most singular achievement is perhaps the sterling quote from Prof. Yehuda Bauer, dean of Holocaust scholars in Israel and far beyond, a powerful retort to the nonsense that those who disagree with the Lithuanian government’s (small but powerful and overfinanced) ‘history fixing units’ are ipso facto non-scholars, scoundrels, and all the rest.
As ever, journalists who do not reach out to interview ANY of the dozen or so DefendingHistory.com authors in Lithuania, and whose articles don’t mention the two words Defending History are sometimes prone to being manipulated by their government hosts (on state sponsored trips) to the detriment of at least some aspects of genuine open debate. Just a few examples from today’s article:

(1) While the debate over the degree of local complicity in the Holocaust is important, it should not obviate the need to at least deal with the massive campaign to export to the West a revised view of the Holocaust altogether (the Double Genocide or Two Holocausts theory). The primary documents are the Prague Declaration, and our rejoinder, The Seventy Years Declaration, signed also by eight incredibly brave Lithuanian parliamentarians (none of them were reached out to for the article). In other words, there is a serious battle over the wider history that remains unmentioned. There is a larger issue on the extent to which the Holocaust “fixing” policies of a whole range of East European states are ipso facto the 21st century incarnation of Holocaust Denial per se. See for example:
https://archive.jewishcurrents.org/the-double-genocide-theory/. For more academic papers on these subjects please see: https://defendinghistory.com/holocaust-and-antisemitism-studies-papers-and-reviewsin-academic-venues.

(2) The ongoing need for state apologies to the Holocaust survivors (or their families) defamed for posterity as potential war criminals in history books and on the web (it was Mr. Ahren himself who penned one of the best articles on that back in 2009, and now — wholly unmentioned). Of course these kangaroo charges were themselves a function of Double Genocide thinking, and the need to “find” supposedly “equivalent genocide perpetrators” among the handful of Holocaust survivors. Please see Mr. Ahren’s terrific 2009 article: http://www.operationlastchance.org/PDF/p_8_lith_2.pdf.

(3) The article cites a government official’s mistatement of DH editor Dovid katz’s opinion, claiming the view that “all” anti-Soviet heroes are being called Holocaust collaborators! This is a scurrilous misstatement (and locally very dangerous and already led to a new death threat). It was wrong of the journalist to quote it without also speaking to DK and the Defending History team to be able to cite the named person’s response.

(4) On the question of the Old Vilna Jewish cemetery, there are still thousands of graves extant (found by ground radar) on all four sides of the Soviet dump slated to become the national convention center. A year ago, a New York Times journalist was not afraid to ask also the views of the democratically elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community too (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/30/world/europe/lithuania-genocide-museum-jews.html)
But perhaps the next journalist to look into all this will ask gov. officials just one question: Had this been a 500 year old Christian Lithuanian cemetery, would they be building a national convention center with graves all around, or would it be lovingly and respectfully restored as a national and international treasure?

(5) The Defending History team happens to agree entirely with Mr. Ahren’s findings that daily life for Jewish people in Lithuania is fine! Again, “what it is that is the issue” goes unmentioned. East European antisemitism differs markedly from its western counterparts. See for example:
https://isgap.org/flashpoint/west-is-west-east-is-east-the-specific-east-european-incarnation-of-antisemitism/
or. more recently: https://defendinghistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PDF-of-DK-on-Holocaust-Inversion-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf.

(6) The discussion of the parliament’s decision to name 2020 “for the Jews” needs to include the history of the decision, i.e. a reaction to much criticism of 2019 being named for an alleged Holocaust collaborator, one for whom a monument was slated to go up in New Britain Connecticut last year (see: https://defendinghistory.com/category/new-britain-connecticut-plans-to-glorify-alleged-nazi-collaborator?order=desc); this year the monument went up in Chicago (see: https://defendinghistory.com/category/debates-on-adolfas-ramanauskas-vanagas?order=desc). The head of the Jewish Agency has spoken out: https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Herzog-underscores-obligation-to-remove-Chicago-monument-honoring-Nazi-collaborator-591319).
INCIDENTALLY, Defending History’s response to the naming of 2019 for an alleged Holocaust collaborator was to start naming years for LITHUANIAN RIGHTEOUS who risked everything to just do the right thing.
Our 2018 choice: https://defendinghistory.com/malvina-sokelyte-valeikiene-is-defending-historys-2018-person-of-the-year/92536
Our 2019 choice: https://defendinghistory.com/jonas-paulavicius-1898-1952-is-defending-historys-2019-person-of-the-year/97205
We are confident that history will render a true verdict on who, during these years, was the TRUE friend of Lithuania. . .

(7) Mr. Ahren writes that he is consciously staying away from internal Jewish community rifts which are sadly a part of the scene in many places. That is in itself a fine position to take, but here it seems to function as an excuse for shutting out entirely and failing to ALSO interview the democratically elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, Simon Gurevich, which represents the vast majority of Lithuanian Jews, and who has taken a DIFFERENT stance on the very issues dealt with in this article (most famously the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery slated to become a national convention center, with the support of the government-supported non-democratic official Jewish community; see: https://defendinghistory.com/democratically-elected-leadership-of-vilnius-jewish-community-shows-consistent-moral-clarity-on-old-vilna-jewish-cemeterys-fate/97300).

(8) Finally, let us hope that future journalistic quests will reach out to the Jewish Lithuanian citizens who have over the years actually spoken out with inspirational courage. They do not deserve to be omitted from a foreign journalist’s quest to learn the various sides of issues that they have given so very much to express themselves, even when not convenient to their careers or status. To name just a few: Moyshe Bairak, Roza Bieliauskiene, Ruta Bloshtein, Milan Chersonski, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, Simon Gurevich, Leon Kaplan, Sania Kerbelis, Rachel Kostanian, Arkady Kurliandchik, Chona Leibovich (Leibovičius), Prof. Josif Parasonis… When journalists fail to do so, it can mean that “the names of the right Jews to talk to” have been provided by the same government whose policies are being critically discussed. . . In other words, a state apparatus supplies its “own list of dissidents” for the benefit of journalists. And, last but not least, there are the many inspirational non-Jews who have earned over decades of blood, sweat and tears the moral right to be heard by foreign journalists on these topics. Here in Lithuania they include: Vytenis Andriukaitis, Evaldas Balciunas, Saulius Berzinis, Andrius Kulikauskas, Fiokla Kiure, Julius Norvila, Ruta Ostrovskaya, Prof. Liudas Truska, Linas Vildziunas, If you have a moment, do look up their essays on the pages of www.DefendingHistory.com  AUTHORS page is at: https://defendinghistory.com/authors)
—————————


Postscripts:
(1) Lithuania is a wonderful place and great to visit, see our page for some ideas: https://defendinghistory.com/litvak-tourism


(2) The ongoing debates with a small and powerful government unit do not equate to being “against” a country. They do concern important issues on which there are various opinions. Defending History’s summary of the currently outstanding Lithuanian-Jewish issues is an updated version of the original that was hammered out in close consultation with the late Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the long-time beloved head of the Jewish community. It’s at:
https://defendinghistory.com/7-solutions
Perhaps one day a journalist will come and at least ask these seven questions and even dare to report that for the state’s “Jewish issue units” to come to terms with them would cost so very little — and do so very much good. . . .
A good week to all!

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Raphael Ahren’s Important 4 Aug. Article in Times of Israel; DH’s Response

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street



Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold

Report by JTA

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Five years ago, I wrote about the alleged connections of Adolfas Ramanauskas to the persecution of Jews in Druskininkai. Following publication of the Lithuanian version, the English version appeared here in Defending History in 2014. The connections are based in the first instance on Ramanauskas’s own memoirs, published in post-Soviet independent Lithuania, where he boasts that he served as leader of “the rebels’ squad” during the precise days and weeks of June and July 1941 when these “rebels” of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were in fact unleashing humiliation, plunder, violence and indeed murder against Jewish neighbors (the Soviet army was escaping Hitler’s invasion, not these white-armbanded LAFers). Following upon Ramanauskas’s own memoir and boast came research into the actual police records of the summer of 1941, as well as the postwar Soviet war crimes trials’ transcripts.

When writing that first article in 2014, my goal was not to find or prove something directly compromising. I was simply disturbed by the obvious collision of this heroic myth and its historical circumstances. It was part of my series of articles in Defending History, starting in 2012, that was launched by my essay “Why does the State Commemorate Murderers?”.

LATEST MEDIA:

AlgemeinerBBCIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA

But then, in late 2017, the Seimas (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania declared 2018 to be the Year of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Indignant at the uncritical worship, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s department of East European affairs, brought a copy of my article to the members of the Seimas and was condemned without them even attempting to read it. During that period, I published a second, follow-up article focused on the moral issues.

Successful resistance to the plans of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania to erect a monument to Ramanauskas in his native city of New Britain, Conn., were enabled exactly by the facts mentioned in the 2014 piece (that saga can be followed in Defending History). One year ago, the City Council of New Britain “just said No.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OUR TAKE ON THE LATEST IN THE 7 YEAR OLD NOREIKA SAGA

VILNIUSLRT state television reported that an American religious Jewish school would held a polite protest outside the Lithuanian consulate in New York on Yom Hashoah, 2 May, to protest the Lithuanian government’s continued state-sponsored glorification of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika and others. The protest was carried out by students of the Rambam Mesivta High School, under the guidance of its renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. See Defending History’s report on the event.

Lithuanian Public Television’s Special Investigation of the controversy over Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika was supposed to air on Thursday May 2 at 7:30 PM (19:30), including an interview with Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. But the program did not air. Instead, the LRT website posted an “Open Letter Regarding the Increase of Tension in Society” signed by four leaders of  Lithuanian (ultra)nationalist organizations. The letter specifically attacks Chicago resident Silvia Foti, Noreika’s granddaughter, California resident Grant Gochin, and other critics of the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, while claiming that Noreika, Škirpa, Brazaitis, Krikštaponis and Kraujelis are national heroes. LRT.lt added a remark clarifying that, according to the Genocide Center, Krikštaponis participated in the mass murder of Jews. The article claims that criticism of glorification of Holocaust collaborators is the work of “Moscow.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Dr. Kulikauskas to Speak on Noreika Issue at Vilnius Conference on Interdisciplinary Interaction



THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS   |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—On Friday, April 26, 18:00-18:20, Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, curator of the Captain Jonas Noreika Museum, Archive and Forum, will give the final talk at the conference “The Territories of Interaction of Aesthetics, Art Philosophy and Art History: Intercultural Fields of the Functions of Representation”, organized by Prof. Antanas Andrijauskas at the Lithuanian Cultural Studies Institute, at Saltoniškių St. 58, Vilnius.

Dr. Kulikauskas will be speaking in Lithuanian on “How to Forego, Through Dialogue, Monumental Images of Those Who Voiced the Will of the Lithuanian Nation in 1941 But Committed Crimes Against Humanity”.

His talk will be followed by an hour of open dialogue on two questions:

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American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS    |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Author Silvia Foti, the American granddaughter of the notorious Lithuanian Holocaust collaborator, Jonas Noreika, has been described as “exceptionally courageous” for publicly telling the truth about her grandfather, whom far-right elements in the Lithuanian government and its “history fixing agencies” continue to revere with street names, plaques and state-contrived history. That rewriting of history has a “higher purpose” — to downgrade the Holocaust and beyond whitewashing, to recast the local perpetrators as “heroes” (because they were “anti-Soviet,” a description that could match close to 100% of the East European Holocaust murderers). He is only one of a series of collaborators in the destruction of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry (among the highest proportions in Holocaust-era Europe) who are regarded as “national heroes” in tandem with the vast, and lavishly state-financed, campaign to rewrite World War II as “two equal genocides,” thereby, according to some, seeking to  write the Holocaust out of history as unique event here — without denying a single death.

This week, Ms. Foti launched an international petition boldly entitled  “Remove all honors awarded to my grandfather Jonas Noreika.” In some ways, it is a follow-up to an earlier petition, launched some years ago by London-based Monica Lowenberg.

TO SIGN THE PETITION 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika

How I Feel about Street Names & Public Plaques for Alleged Holocaust Collaborators



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Roza Bieliauskienė

The twentieth century was drenched in upheavals, blood and tears. New states were founded, others were destroyed and above all, it cost so many people a huge price: to suffer broken lives and fates or to be senselessly killed. If not for the world wars, how much more would humankind have reached in science, art, literature, technology, economy and more.

 Over seventy years have passed since the end of the Holocaust, and, as in the legend of Till Eulenspiegel the ashes of our people‘s annihilation during the Holocaust is still in our hearts. We do not forget them, every year we come to Ponár (Paneriai), to the fortresses of Kaunas. In my case, also to the Pivonijos forest where in the period from July to September of 1941 so many of my relatives, all simple peaceful civilians, perished, they of the Reitenbort and Kahan families. We also visit other places of mass killings.

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Court will Read Out Noreika Verdict Wednesday 27th at 1 PM in Historic Holocaust History Trial



VILNIUS—On March 27, Wednesday, at 1 PM here in Vilnius, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court will be reading its verdict on  the case filed by California resident Grant Gochin calling on  the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, widely known as the Genocide Center, to revise its evaluation of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika as a hero who is worthy of state honors. Hundreds of documents have been produced demonstrating beyond all doubt his participation in the Lithuanian Holocaust (see sample document). One of the case’s sensations was the powerful and historic statement condemning Noreik’a crimes produced by his granddaughter, the American educator and author Silvia Foti.

The public and the press are welcome to attend the conclusion of this historic trial at Žygimantų Street 2 in central Vilnius.

BACKGROUND

DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

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After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th



EVENTS  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

 

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, moments before his historic address before the Vilnius court on state-funded Genocide Center’s policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators. The center’s “decisions” are cited by high officials as “justification” for street names, university hall plaques and other public-space state-funded glorifications of Holocaust collaborators. Around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry was massacred in the Holocaust.

Defending History was there. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s report here. Editor’s take:

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th

Run-Up to Vilnius Trial on March 5th



EVENTS  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

 

California Financial Planner Takes Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” to Court on March 5th for Enabling Gov. Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

   Proceedings are open to the public (Tuesday March 5th, 10 AM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in central Vilnius). Media to date includes the BBC World ServiceChicago TribuneJTA. The plaintiff is California wealth advisor Grant Arthur Gochin whose family lost around 100 relatives in the Holocaust in the area where Noreika operated. He will be represented in Vilnius by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, author of the Query that launched the case. He has a compelling letter of support from Noreika’s granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti. See Ms. Foti’s remarkable 2018 essay in Salon, and the recent takes by Grant Gochin, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Efraim Zuroff.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Run-Up to Vilnius Trial on March 5th

Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

On February 14, BBC World Service Outlook presented a 23 minute conversation with Silvia Foti and Grant Gochin about Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Silvia Foti, born in Chicago, is the granddaughter of Noreika, and Grant Gochin, born in South Africa, and resident in California, is related to a hundred of his victims in the Šiauliai region. The radio show, “The truth about my ‘hero’ grandfather”, reached about 75 million listeners, a well-informed 1% of humanity.

Global interest is growing as Lithuania’s Genocide Center chooses to defend in court its refusal to reconsider its estimation of Jonas Noreika. In a similar spirit, on February 5, the State Security Department together with the Defense Ministry’s Intelligence and Counterintelligence Department warned in their 2019 National Threat Assessment Report to the Seimas: “Russian officials and subordinate propagandists seek to shape the attitude that only Nazi collaborators and Holocaust-complicit criminals supported the resistance against the Soviet occupation. To compromise the Lithuanian resistance the Kremlin cynically manipulates the Holocaust tragedy to achieve the goals of its history policy.”

See also: Defending History’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s series of articles which brought this issue to the English speaking world starting in 2012. Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s position that the Noreika issue cannot be about one single plaque in the sea of national glorification. DH’s section on Collaborators Glorified. Illustrations of a number of street names and state plaques that glorify alleged Holocaust collaborators. 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Holocaust collaborator prime minister. More. DH Editor’s academic papers on the wider historical and intellectual background.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika

Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)



OPINION  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

Defending History was there. See Background and DH’s take on the trial.

THE PLAINTIFFS’ TABLE: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, longtime contributing writer at DH (left) represented absent American plaintiff Grant Gochin at the hearing on state honors for Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika, whose case was first brought to the English speaking world in 2012  by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was also in attendance.  At right is attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. PHOTO © Defending History 2019.

VILNIUS—As the long-awaited trial opened this morning, the Genocide Center’s official and two lawyers explained to the three-judge panel that they need a lot of time to study so many documents, including some less-than-perfect printouts, hence an adjournment would be required. The next hearing was set for 5 March. In fact, the Genocide Center has for many  years been familiar with the documents demonstrating Jonas Noreika’s brutal Holocaust collaboration (and has for years tried to say that they prove “only” ethnic cleansing, expulsion, isolation and ghettoization, humiliation, and plunder of all the region’s citizens who were Jewish).

Just seven people came to observe (three of them from DH’s team, nobody from abroad). There was no local media coverage as of now. US, UK, Israeli embassies sent no observers. Efforts to “muzzle the whole thing” seem to have been effective.

Update of 19 Jan: media blackout at the national and local level here has continued unbroken as of today (except for “Putin-propagandist” pseudo-media)

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Holocaust History Trial Slated for 15 January in Vilnius


[LAST UPDATE]

OPINION  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

As trials of alleged criminals come to an end, is the era of ‘history on trial’ getting underway?

OUR TAKE

Holocaust perpetrator: glorified in marble on the central boulevard of an EU capital?

On January 15th, 2019, at 10 AM, a momentous historic court case will unfold in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled to start at the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in the heart of the capital. Challenged by a call for removal of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika from the pantheon of national heroes (including street names, memorials and an inscribed stone block on the capital’s central boulevard), the state-sponsored “Genocide Center”, a bastion of far-right extremism that, in the opinion of many, does grave damage to the image of modern democratic Lithuania, will be defending Noreika using the hard-earned tax euros of the nation’s noble citizens. See the remarkable 2018 Salon magazine essay by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti; DH report by Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas on the action brought by Grant Gochin. Documents include the original query (15 June), Genocide Center’s response (19 July), Mr. Gochin’s legal complaint (10 August) and the Genocide Center’s response (1 Oct.).

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Holocaust History Trial Slated for 15 January in Vilnius

My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: Seven years ago,  journalist, researcher and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was born, raised and continues to live in Lithuania, began his remarkable series of articles on state “heroes” who were alleged Holocaust collaborators (or perpetrators) with his 2012 essay on Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”), published in Lithuanian and the same year, in English in Defending History. As a result, Mr.  Balčiūnas (bal-CHOO-nass) was subjected to years of legal harassment and persecution by prosecutors, police, and assorted far-right “plaintiffs” (please scroll down to 22 May 2014 in the Balčiūnas section to follow the saga). The Defending History community is proud to have stood by Evaldas at each of the kangaroo trial hearings in Vilnius, and is delighted that all these years later, talented American campaigners with wherewithal have taken up the cause to major good effect, and have now brought the Noreika matter to the Vilnius courts (see report on 15th January  hearing). We hope that our American friends and colleagues will see their way clear to fully crediting Evaldas Balčiūnas’s work (and noting its consequences for him) on the various new websites and blogs established, including, for starters, the excellent online Captain Jonas Noreika Museum.

The first time I heard of Jonas Noreika was back in 1993. I was chatting with Petras Dargis in the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked, here in Šiauliai, northwestern Lithuania, when a man of short stature came in. He started to scold one of the reporters for his article on Jonas Noreika. These were the times — right after the Soviet system’s collapse — when various colleagues and friends were going through the deepest corners of their memory, looking for all sorts of bits and pieces of their past struggles and sufferings.

This was particularly the case when that which was perceived by some as “their battles” or perhaps even their “glorious episodes” amounted to extraordinary suffering for others. First, Noreika’s comrades came to the editorial office and told of glorious episodes of the (so-called) Uprising of June 1941, incarceration in Stutthof, and the post-war legend of General Vėtra (Noreika’s famous nom-de-guerre which translates: General Storm). The journalist published the story, referring to respectable historical sources.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)

Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUSDr. Andrius Kulikauskas today released an appeal, in the Lithuanian language, that calls on fellow Lithuanian citizens to come together in opposing the ongoing national glorification of Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika in a spirit of historic integrity that would also lead to the inevitable conclusion that the controversial historical personage was in effect a Holocaust criminal. For some background on recent developments in the Noreika saga, set to culminate in a historic trial here in the Lithuanian capital on 15 January, see recent articles in DH’s Collaborators Glorified section.

The trial scheduled for 15 Jan. 2019. Sample Noreika document.

The Noreika case was first brought to the attention of the English speaking world by DH’s correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012, as part of his series on “national heroes” who were Holocaust collaborators. As a result of those articles, Mr. Balčiūnas was subjected to years of prosecutorial harassment (scroll down to 2014 in his DH section). More recently, the 2018 bold article by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti in Salon resulted in New York Times coverage last September, that itself followed up on the paper’s March 2018 article on Holocaust related issues in Lithuania.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Another One-Sided Yivo Program on the Lithuanian Holocaust — in New York City?


[Last updated 21 Dec. 2018]

OPINION  |  YIVO MANIPULATED?  |  WHAT IS THE RED-BROWN COMMISSION?  | A VILNIUS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR’S PLEA TO YIVO  |  FROM THE EDITOR OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S NEWSPAPER

NEW YORK—Yet again, the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, once the international bastion of living Yiddish high culture and genuine loyalty to East European Jewry, is putting on, in New York City, an event about the Holocaust in Lithuania that reflects only the Lithuanian government’s views on the subject. More precisely, a small number of well-funded government agencies in the business of “fixing the history of the Holocaust”: a “red-brown commission,” a Genocide Center, and Genocide Museum. The first of these, in a macabre tribute to George Orwell, is actually called “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania”. And indeed, it is one of its veteran members that is the instructor of the New York seminar, “The Shoah in Lithuania” to be held in five sessions from 3 to 17 January 2019. The fee is  $350, reduced to $275 for Yivo members.  For background see Dr. Yitzhak Arad’s paper on the red-brown commission’s actual purposes, DH’s page and section, a recent historic overview by DH’s editor in a Holocaust studies journal, and the resignation letters of  Prof. Konrad Kwiet and the late Sir Martin Gilbert.

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Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, United States, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another One-Sided Yivo Program on the Lithuanian Holocaust — in New York City?

Regional Lithuanian Monthly Publishes Noreika Query at Heart of Upcoming 15 Jan. Vilnius Holocaust Trial



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Žemaičių Saulutė (“Samogitians’ Sun”) is an esteemed regional cultural monthly newspaper based in Plungė, Lithuania. It is shattering the silence about Lithuania’s state-sanctioned hero Jonas Noreika’s leadership in the Holocaust in Samogitia. It will print, in eight installments, Grant Gochin’s query to the Genocide Center, which asks, how can the Republic of Lithuania honor Jonas Noreika as an anti-Soviet hero when it acknowledges him as a Holocaust perpetrator?

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Regional Lithuanian Monthly Publishes Noreika Query at Heart of Upcoming 15 Jan. Vilnius Holocaust Trial

Vilnius “Genocide Center” Defends Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator



“BELIEVE IT OR NOT”

Lithuania’s State Sponsored “Genocide Center” Goes to Court to Defend Legacy of Notorious Holocaust Collaborator

The Question: Does a vibrant and successful EU/NATO democracy really need expensive far-right history “fixing” units that adore Nazi collaborators,  stifle free debate of history and ethics, promote ultranationalism, and do untold damage to the country?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius “Genocide Center” Defends Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator