Jacob Piliansky (1946-2018)
Several dozen Vilnius Jews turned up today for the funeral of Jacob Piliansky at the city’s current Jewish cemetery at Sudervės 28. Decades ago, Piliansky, an engineer by trade, relocated to Washington DC (and for a time to the Netherlands) where he built a new life and career. But when his mother back in Vilnius, the legendary Dobke Jonis, turned ninety, he decided to return to his native Lithuania and live with her for the remainder of their years. Dobke (Dora Piliansky, 1912–2014), who passed away at age 102, was a cultural icon of her shtetl Zézmer (today’s Žiežmariai), whose prolific writings and drawings remain a testament, as does her testimony on the bestial brutality of the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) fascists in June 1941 who turned back Jewish escapees on the roads to ensure they would be trapped in the Nazi choke-hold. She brought up her children — Jacob (Yasha, Yankl) and his older sister Fréydke (Frida Piliansky Zavalkovsky, 1942–2016) — to stand proudly for historic truth and to fear nothing and nobody when it comes to telling the story of Lithuanian Jewry in its homeland. Or plain and simple, to stand up for what is right. Such folks do not often enjoy lifetimes of unbroken popularity or the easiest of times.
Posted in Jacob Piliansky, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Obituaries, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius)
Tagged Defending Holocaust History, Dobke Jonis, Jacob Piliansky, Jews in Vilnius, Simon Gurevich, Simonas Gurevicius, Vilnius Jewish community
As 2017 gets underway, Defending History is proud to honor three Vilnius personalities, this year all from its Orthodox Jewish community, who have stood up for cherished principles against powerful forces. In all cases, the principles defended pertain also to human rights more generally. Their courage and determination can serve as an example to all who defend human rights and history even when it is inconvenient and draws the ire of power-invested institutions that are often associated with state-supported entities.
The three honorees are, in alphabetical order, Ruta Bloshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, and Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky. On Facebook. See from previous years the Prophet Amos Human Rights Awards and the 2014 Person of the Year.
Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Chabad in Vilnius, Defending History's Person of the Year, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Persons of the Year
Tagged Chabad Lithuania, Commission for the Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad., Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, CPJCE (London), Good Will Foundation (Lithuania), Jacob Piliansky, Jewish Restitution (Lithuania), Jews in Lithuania, Leon Kaplan, Lithuanian Jewish, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Ms Ruta Bloshtein, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Rabbi Kalev Krelin, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, USCPAHA, Vilnius Jewish cemetery
O P I N I O N
by Jacob Piliansky
Iam proud to be a Litvak, and I am proud to be a citizen of independent and democratic Lithuania. I very much enjoy walking in our city’s delightful Vingis Park, as well as downtown in the beautiful city center area.
However, I feel suddenly both sad and shocked, when I see neo-Nazi parades with swastikas and other fascist symbols along Gedimino Boulevard on our independence day repeating the yelled chants of “Lithuania for [ethnic] Lithuanians.”
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Jacob Piliansky, Kaunas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Symbology, Vilnius
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, Bagel Shop (Lithuania), Beigelių krautuvėlė (Vilnius), Glorification of Nazi Collaborators, Holocaust in Lithuania, Jacob Piliansky, neo-Nazi marches, Vingis Park monument