Did a “Dubious Minyan of Ten State Property Bank Officials” with Alleged “Jewish Enablers” Just Sell Out the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery for a Multimillion Euro Conference Center?
Are leaders of some American Jewish organizations betraying Jewish interests for a pot of lentils from East European governments? AJC’s Andy Baker trashes Ruta Bloshtein’s petition and its tens of thousands of signatories; another one-sided YIVO “symposium” (but with powerful audience questions from Ms. Rebecca Cook and Prof. Bernard Fryshman)… Top state medals for Yivo and AJC leaders (see Yivo’s “politics in Lithuania” record from 2011). “History will be very clear about all this, notwithstanding the current mush achieved by some big PR bucks.” Recent PR shtik includes claiming some books found decades ago are “just now discovered” and recruiting an American JTS academic (who helped cover for two new buildings on the old Vilna cemetery over a decade ago) to tell the media they are “the new Dead Sea Scrolls”…
If a new national convention center is indeed to open at the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, thousands each night would cheer, sing, clap, dance, use bars and flush toilets surrounded by thousands of Vilna Jewish graves going back over 500 years. Including the parents and son of the Gaon of Vilna. Just as the state-sponsored “2020 Year of the Gaon” gets underway, including a handsome new recombinated menorah coin.
Posted in American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Yivo Manipulated?
Tagged Andrew Baker (AJC), Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, CPJCE (London), David E. Fishman, Faina Kukliansky, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuanian Jewish issues, Rabbi Abraham Ginsberg (CPJCE), Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, USCPAHA, YIVO in Lithuania
One of the stones with visible Jewish lettering stepped on for decades during its stint as a step at the front entrance of the Reformed Evangelical Church on central Vilnius’s Pylimo Street. Photo: DefendingHistory.com.
VILNIUS—More than five years after Defending History’s September 2013 article (“Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church”), almost four years after Julius Norwilla’s May 2015 impassioned plea (“A Protestant Pastor in Vilnius Speaks Out About Church Steps Still Made of Pilfered Jewish Gravestones”), and almost five since Genrich Agranovski’s 2014 survey (“The Stones Tell Me. After All, They Lived Here”) of Jewish gravestones pilfered for public space in Vilnius, the steps were finally removed last week in the face of mounting international pressure.
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius)
Tagged Jewish cemeteries in Europe, Jewish cemetery in Liithuania, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Jewish gravestonees as steps, Jewish gravestones as paving stones, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius)
Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery
How Do Things Come to Matter?
Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. My name is Andrius Kulikauskas of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in Lithuania. I will be speaking about a question important to me, How do things come to matter? and I will relate it to the topic of Lithuanian Jewish heritage: The Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. So I am very grateful to the organizers and to our last speaker for having a very much related topic and I’ll be focusing on my own philosophical question but as a citizen of Lithuania I am very glad to be able to think about this very concrete issue. In our case, the cemetery is from the 1500s. As you know, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had fantastic relations with Jews up until the Holocaust when Lithuania was I think the first place where all of the Jews were killed, in our countryside in 1941 even before the Wansee conference.
Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology
Tagged Andrius Kulikauskas, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Piramont Snipiskes cemetery
The following Letter to the Editor (see middle column) from Professor Shnayer Leiman appeared in today’s edition of Ami, following upon the 18 January 2017 feature article by Riva Pomerantz, “Guardian of the Cemetery.”
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Sid (Shnayer) Leiman
Tagged Ami magazine, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuanian-Jewish affairs, Piramont Snipiskes cemetery, Riva Pomerantz, Shnayer (Sid) Leiman
VILNIUS—The American taxpayer-funded agency known as the “U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad” has a mission statement that stresses commitment to preserving Jewish cemeteries in post-Holocaust Eastern Europe. They are in special danger because of the Holocaust: the people buried have no descendants or relatives to care for the preservation of their final resting place. Moreover, nationalism and antisemitism sometimes come into play, with powers that be not wanting any city-center reminders of major erstwhile Jewish populations in their cities, and in any case, applying very different standards to the preservation of Jewish and Christian cemeteries. The issue was addressed in a 2014 U.S. Congressional resolution.
Posted in American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, USCPAHA (US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad)
Tagged America's Heritage Abroad, cemetery in Snipiskes (Piramont), Commission for the Preservation, Herbert Block, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Jules Fleischer, USCPAHA
VILNIUS—The following is the text of a cable sent by the United States ambassador in Vilnius to Washington, on 27 May 2015, concerning the old Jewish cemetery at Piramont (Snipiskes). Though initially confidential, it enetered the public domain via publication by Wikileaks where the document is available at: http://cables.mrkva.eu/cable.php?id=208864.
Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok)
Tagged Benzion Shalom Eliezer Freshwater, Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, CPJCE, Jewish cemetery + Piramont / Snipiskes, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Rabbi Herschel Gluck
C E M E T E R I E S / P I R A M Ó N T
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today released a statement reaffirming its previously reported opposition to plans to place a $25,000,000 convention and congress center on Vilnius’s old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in today’s Šnipiškės). International opposition to the project has been mounting in recent weeks. The text was released by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and head of its East European Affairs division. The text follows:
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Piramont cemetery, Snipiskes Jewish cemetery, Vilnius
O P I N I ON
VILNIUS—The battle over the preservation of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (now part of the Šnipiškės [Yiddish: Shnípishok] district) has taken some bizarre turns.
In an article that appeared today in English in The Lithuania Tribune, city architects and officials excited by the prospects for the new convention and congress center planned for the heart of the cemetery, announced further plans for its rapid development. Proposals include “a hall for 3,000 people which could be flexibly converted into smaller spaces.” One of the plans cited explains that the center “should not be a venue exclusively for conferences, it should also host concerts and theatre performances. There are ideas to build an annex with a universal ‘black box’ suitable for various events, including circus shows.” Needless to say, there is no mention of any cemetery there, let alone having to ask any rabbis permission for any of this.
NEW YORK—Rabbi Lazar Stern, New York area chairman of the international religious Asra Kadisha organization that calls for preservation of threatened Jewish cemeteries, issued a statement today concerning the latest prima facie instance of desecration of the final resting place of dead Jewish citizens of Lithuania. This time the fracas concerns a Holocaust-era mass grave site in Šiauliai (Shavl), in northwestern Lithuania. Published in a number of media outlets, including Baltic News Service (BNS), News.lt, Gnome.es, the Asra Kadisha statement calls for an immediate halt to the ongoing excavations. These works rapidly resulted in lurid pictures of human remains and personal possessions (including shoes) with which these people were murdered, being splashed over a number of Lithuanian online publications, including 15min.lt; Etaplius.lt; Skrastas.lt; Snaujienos.lt. Asra Kadisha is Aramaic for “Holy Place” and refers here to the sanctity of human burial grounds.
UPDATE OF 16 JULY:
Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok)
Tagged Asra Kadisha, Holocaust in Lithuania, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Jewish cemetery Snipiskes / Snipisek / Shnipishok / Piramont, mass grave in Siauliai (Shavl), Rabbi Chaim Burshtein
I would like to make an observation concerning the use of Jewish cemeteries for building projects, as this has come to be a major issue of controversy in Lithuania, and in other nations as well.
I would like to pose a question: Would these building projects be pursued if the cemeteries in question were the resting places of Catholics, Protestant Christians, or other non-Jewish people?
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Michael & Fausta Maass, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism
Tagged cemetery at Piramont (Snipiskes, Christian-Jewish relations in Lithuania, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Shnipishok)