VILNIUS—Coming hard on the heels of the mid-campaign rule-change of 19 April that effectively disenfranchised over 2,000 Vilnius Jews, by “recounting” their collective vote as one vote instead of over 20 (via the long-established formula of 100 persons = one vote), the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, eminent attorney Faina Kukliansky, on 4 May placed an announcement on the Lithuanian-language page of the official community website (followed by the Russian section), Lzb.lt, cancelling the widely announced 24 May 2017 conference of the Vilnius Jewish Community decided upon by a clear majority vote of its Council (15 of 21 active members), for which the large hall of Hotel Karolina had already been booked. This was followed on 5 May by an English language version complete with “Red-Ink Warnings from the Leader” which seems to inaccurately report that the planned 24 May conference was an “arbitrary” act of “one” Council of the Vilnius Jewish Community member, presumably referring to her opponent in the race, Simonas Gurevičius.
UPDATES TO 12 MAY 2017:
Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion
Tagged Faina Kukliansky, Good Will Foundation (Vilnius), Lithuanian Jewish Community, Šeduva Jewish museum, Sheduva Lost Shtetl Museum, Simonas Gurevicius
VILNIUS—Interviews by several Defending History staffers with several dozen members of Vilnius’s Jewish community over the past several days have turned up what seems to be a widespread sense of (citing terms that recurred frequently in the conversations) “disappointment” or “shock” at the “unbelievable changing of the rules of an election in the middle of the campaign.” (Such mini-surveys are not scientific, and a professional survey of today’s Jewish community on a number of issues is a critical desideratum here.)
The change seems to be in the cause of in effect disenfranchising the actual living Jews of Lithuania by suddenly decoupling the numbers of living, resident Jews from votes cast for the leadership of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for which elections are scheduled, as of today, for May 28th (for recent developments see the DH section on Vilnius Jewish Life). A number of those interviewed mentioned the role of the “Good Will Foundation” that allocates funding for the community’s administration, including elections, from the government finance provided as restitution for prewar communal religious Jewish property. Some of its allocations have been highly controversial.
Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A Stolen Election and a Small Jewish Community's Protest, American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Lithuania, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Šeduva (Sheduva, Shádeve, Shádov) and its Free-of-Jewish-Staff "Museum of the Lost Shtetl"
Tagged Democracy in Eastern Europe, Jewish community structures in Eastern Europe, Jews in Lithuania, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Lost Shtetl Project (Seduva), Maceva, Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund, Seduva Lost Shtetl Museum, Šeduva shtetl museum, 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
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the call issued late last week in Vilnius by the Lithuanian Jewish community to the official state Genocide and Resistance Research Center to publish its list of 2,055 Lithuanians whom it alleges participated in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who also is responsible for Eastern European Affairs, the Center noted the importance of the call by community president Faina Kukliansky to finally reveal the names on the list which was originally compiled in 2012, but has hitherto never been made public. Of particular importance was the community’s call upon the Genocide Center to verify whether any of the persons on the list were still alive, how many of them had been granted rehabilitations and whether any of these persons had received decorations from the Lithuanian government (for their anti-Soviet activities).
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center Vilnius, Holocaust in Lithuania, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Ruta Vanagaite, Simon Wiesenthal Center
JTA—The leader of Lithuania’s Jewish community supported a proposal to delay publishing the names of suspected Holocaust perpetrators out of concern for their families’ reputation and privacy. Faina Kukliansky, a former prosecutor and president of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, made this assertion following discussions in Lithuania on publishing a list of 1,000 names that historians from the state-owned Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania have spent years compiling. The center’s director, Terese Birute Burauskaite, said on Tuesday that her institution would publish the list this year in a book, but later said it would transfer the list to state prosecutors instead. “I have it complete,” she said of the list, “but how will the families [of those named] react if this violates their rights, if their guilt is not proven? I will convey it to the prosecutors.” Burauskaite said she transferred a list with 2,055 names to the government in 2012, but it was neither published nor used in criminal investigations. The center then eliminated more than 1,000 names from that list.
Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Faina Kukliansky, Genocide Center Vilnius, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Obfuscation in Lithuania, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Ruta Vanagaite