29 June: In response to media reports, Dovid Katz presents a case against the year’s naming for June 1941 LAF activist Juozas Lukša, invoking the publications of Alex Faitelson, Joseph Melamed and a British parliamentary motion. Cnaan Liphshiz reports in JTA (also in Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel; European Jewish Congress).
29 June: Prof. Kęstutis Girnius presents a hagiographic portrait of Lukša in mainstream media, with no mention of 1941 or its issues. Years earlier, the late Leonidas Donskis took issue with his attempts at “fixing 1941” (commentary on both views by Dr. N. Vasiliauskaite).
30 June: Seimas adopts the bill; 91 votes for, none against; in rare act of defiance, “the one Jewish MP” Emanuelis Zingeris provides the single abstention. The voting.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views
Tagged AJC _ LJC, glorification of alleged Holocaust perpetrators, Holocaust in Lithuania, Juozas Luksa, Juozas Luksa (Daumantas( + Holocaust, Ketutis Girdius, Laurence Weinbaum, Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), Lithuanian Seimas, Ruta Vanagaite, Smon Wiesenthal Center
The resolution of the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) to declare 2021 the “Year of Juozas Lukša” has resulted in heated discussions. They are attentively chronicled by Defending History.
Those who remember the Holocaust and its lessons for history and for life discuss the name Juozas Lukša in conjunction with the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) of June and July 1941, including the versions that link him to a barbaric massacre of Jews at the Lietukis Garage in central Kaunas where some seventy innocent Jewish people, caught in the streets, were brutally killed before cheering crowds.
Juozas Lukša looks very similar to one of the murderers in one of the photos (and he was identified by some from a photo of himself after the war). It links him to one of the versions noting that the Garage Massacre was committed largely by prisoners who had been released from a Kaunas jail (we know that Lukša was released from a Kaunas jail). Opponents to those versions claim that Juozas Lukša is innocent and level accusations of slander against those who implicate him. This discussion is not new and there have not really been any new proofs offered on either side since the flare-up of the argument over the last month.
Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged Evaldas Balciunas, Holocaust in Lihtuania, Juozas Luksa, Kestutis Girnius, LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front), Lietukis Garage
O P I N I O N
LONDON—British author Peter Jukes, best known for his screenplays, literary criticism and political journalism, tweeted last week on the release in the United States of a new documentary film that heroizes certain postwar anti-Soviet “forest brothers” in Lithuania. The film, “The Invisible Front,” that premiered in Greenwich Village’s prestigious Cinema Village theater on 7 November, fails to even mention the view that various of the specific figures it glorifies for their post 1944 activities were in fact alleged recycled Nazi collaborators of 1941. That was the year when, in the days following the Nazi invasion launched on 22 June, the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) started butchering local civilian Jews, often elderly rabbis or young women, before the first German forces had arrived. Premeditation becomes evident from perusal of the LAF’s prewar leaflets.
Posted in Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Peter Jukes, Politics of Memory
Tagged Belarusian Humanities University, Cinema Village theater (NY), Darius Udrys, European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius, Forest Brothers Lithuania, Holocaust collaborators in Forest Brothers, Holocaust in Lithuania, Jonas Öhman, Juozas Luksa, Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), New York Times + Holocaust, Peter Jukes, The Invisible Front, Vincas Sruoginis
The following review of Laima Vince’s Journeys through the Backwaters of the Heart originally appeared in Aspen Review (Dec. 2013). The review is now republished here by permission of Peter Jukes, whose latest book is The Fall of the House of Murdoch.
Ms. Vince’s Journeys was also reviewed in Defending History by Geoff Vasil.
While filming a re-enactment of a battle between Lithuanian nationalists and their Soviet- backed NKVD persecutors, Jonas Kadzionis (a survivor of the “Forest Brothers” partisans) warned the author Laima Vince: “Don’t get lost in the forest, and don’t lose your conscience.”
Unfortunately, in her book Journeys through the Backwaters of the Heart Vince has managed to do both.
Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Peter Jukes, Politics of Memory
Tagged "Journeys Through the Backwaters of the Heart", Holocaust in Lithuania, Juozas Luksa, Laima Vince, Peter Jukes
B O O K S
by Geoff Vasil
Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart: Stories of Women Who Survived Hitler and Stalin by Laima Vince. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform: 2012.
The first problem the reader comes across is in the introduction, where the author asserts two waves of Jewish immigration into Lithuania in the 8th and 11th centuries. Much later in the book she says, twice, Jews settled in Lithuania in the 16th century, a claim that leaves the informed reader wondering for whom the grand duke Vytautas (Witold) issued his famous charters on the rights of Jews in the 14th century.
The introduction also presents the events of 1940 and 1941 in Lithuania in a manner calculated to make the reader think the Lithuanian Provisional Government of 1941 and the Lithuanian Activist Front were two altogether separate entities.
Posted in Books, Debates on Juozas Lukša, Double Genocide, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged "Journeys into the Backwaters of the Heart", Holocaust in Lithuania, Juozas Luksa, Laima Vince