by Markas Zingeris
Rachel Kostanian-Danzig, one of the founders of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, is celebrating her venerable ninety-first birthday. She belongs to the generation that survived the horrific years of the Second World War as well the times of the Soviet regime, and saw the fall of the Iron Curtain: the geopolitical “earthquake” that allowed Lithuania to take back control of its own history.
During her youth in Soviet times, Rachel completed a law degree at Vilnius University and qualified as an English teacher at the city’s Pedagogical University. Her field was not history, until the breakup of the Soviet Union and the rise of Lithuanian liberty gave her the freedom to immerse herself in the history and culture of her Jewish people. But no historian’s diplomas could match her relentless, painstaking and passionate desire to meaningfully fill the gaps in Lithuanian collective memory. Today’s young professionals could envy her enthusiasm and “engagement.”
Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Rachel Kostanian
Tagged Christoph Dieckmann, Emanuelis Zingeris, Markas Zingeris, Rachel Kostanian, Saulius Suziedelis, Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, Vilna Ghetto
D O C U M E N T S
The following English version of the Lithuanian government’s announcement of its new state commission on Jewish heritage was released today. A PDF of the entire document is available here. An excerpt containing the mission statement is available here.
Update of 22 July 2015: Evidence mounts that the “Heritage Commission” was set up by the Lithuanian government, in part, to cover for the decision, at the same time, to proceed with a twenty-five million dollar convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt. One or more members of the commmision are also members of the state’s “red-brown commission” that promotes Double Genocide revisionism of Holocaust history; of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad; of a London rabbinic group that profits from “selling rights” to build on cemeteries under its expensive supervision. See the narrative and the paper trail (where color-coding marks the heritage commission’s adventures in purple).
Update of 22 June 2015: See now our report on the recent history of the Vilnius cemetery dispute. See also the statement from Herbert Block’s office about his own membership in the commission below.
Update of 1 June 2015: See now the 1 May listing of twelve major issues for the commission (with 1 June addendum) and the media chronicle of the renewed dispute over construction of a congress and entertainment complex on the site of Vilna’s Old Jewish cemetery.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Documents, Herbert Block and Issues of Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery Preservation, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory
Tagged Abraham Ginsberg, Alminas Maciulis, Andrew Baker, Andrijana Filinaite, Diana Varnaite, Elvinas Jankevcius, EvelinaPetrone, Faina Kukliansky, Gideon Taylor, Herbert Block, Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania, Jewish heritage in Lithuania, Jewish mass graves in Lithuania, Jonathan Brent, Julius Pagojus, Leonidas Melnikas, Lina Saulenaite, Mantvydas Bekesius, Markas Zingeris, Misha Jakobas, Rimantas Vaitkus, Romas Jarockis, Samuel Gruber, Shmuel Levin, Vladas Bumelis, VytautasVisinskis
O P I N I O N
by Efraim Zuroff
reprinted with the author’s permission from today’s Times of Israel
This week, one of the more shameful events in Lithuanian-Jewish relations since the Baltic republic regained independence in 1991 will be hosted in New York by the once-venerable Yivo Institute. Under the heading “Reclaiming the Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today,” the Yiddish research institute will host Markas Zingeris, whom it describes as a “Lithuanian-Jewish poet and writer,” to speak about relations between Jews and Lithuanians since the fall of Communism.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Human Rights, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, The Great SLS About-Face, United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated?
Tagged Dr. Jonathan Brent, Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust in Lithuania, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Regimes, Markas Zingeris, Yivo, Yivo and Lithuania
Efraim Zuroff, the Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter and author, today posted the following message on his Facebook page. It is reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Zuroff, who is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel office and its Operation Last Chance. For more on the alleged US embassy (Vilnius) blackballing of Dr. Zuroff from an international 2011 summer program in Vilnius see here. Background to the Yivo event: see Milan Chersonski’s article.
This is a call for action to those in the NYC area. This coming Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, YIVO is hosting an evening at the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th St. entitled “Reclaiming The Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today.” The problem is that the featured guests are all supporters of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and are minimizing the huge role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews. Anyone able to go and confront Markas Zingeris, the Lithuanian PM’s advisor on genocide, and former US ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse whose embassy blackballed my participation in a seminar on Lithuanian Jewish history at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, will be doing a big mitzva!!!
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory
Tagged Anne Derse, Center for Jewish History, Efraim Zuroff, Markas Zingeris, Yivo, Yivo Lithuania
O P I N I O N
by Milan Chersonski
Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania, which in Soviet times was the USSR’s only Yiddish amateur theater company. The views he expresses in DefendingHistory are his own. This is an authorized English version (updated by the author) by Ludmilla Makedonskaya (Los Angeles). Russian original.
Photo: Milan Chersonski at this desk at the Jewish Community of Lithuania (image © 2012 Jurgita Kunigiškytė). Milan Chersonski section.
Dear Mr. Jonathan Brent,
A little over a year ago, on 12 September 2011, I wrote my first open letter to you. I wrote that it is inappropriate to hold an event commemorating the Jews of Vilna who were victims of genocide together with the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Audronis Ažubalis on the premises of Yivo. If you did not then find time to read my letter, you can find it now online.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Double Games, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated?
Tagged Anbassador Anne E. Derse, Anne Derse + Lithuania + Jewish issues, Emanuelis Zingeris, Jerusalem of Lithuania, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jonathan Brent, Markas Zingeris, Milan Chersonski, YIVO + far right Lithuanian politics, Yivo + Jonathan Brent + Zingeris + Anne Derse, YIVO Fall 2012 program of events, YIVO lecture series at the CJH
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
On Wednesday, November 16th 2011, the Tolerance Center in Vilnius hosted a conference called: Tolerance and Totalitarianism. Challenges to Freedom.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Events, Geoff Vasil, LGBT Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL)
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, Emanuelis Zingeris, Hannah Rosenthal, Holocaust commemoration in the Baltics, Holocaust in Lithuania, Irena Veisaite, Jewish Affairs in Lithuania, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jews in Lithuania, Litvaks, Markas Zingeris, President Obama's Envoy on Antisemitism, Red-Brown Commission, Ronaldas Racinskas, Sarunas Liekis, Simon Gurevich, Simonas Gurevicius, Tolerance Center