Tag Archives: Michael Levinas

News and Views on a ‘Levinas Center’ in Kaunas that May Serve PR Interests of Deflecting from City’s Shrines to its Holocaust Perpetrators


[UPDATED]

  LEVINAS CENTER IN KAUNAS  |  FRANCE  |  KAUNAS  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  BALTIC JEWISH INVESTMENTS THAT DEFLECT FROM HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM

Tracking media coverage.

Composer and pianist Michael Levinas, the son (and heir and exclusive legal holder of the moral rights to his father’s works) of French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, has publicly protested Lithuania’s naming an institute in Kaunas for his father. See his op-ed in Le Figaro (21 Dec. 2021) [in English]) and his interview in Actualité Juive (13 Jan. 2022) [in English]). Initial coverage by JTA (19 Jan.) does not mention Michael Levinas’s protest, but unusually, the protest has been covered in some detail by Lithuanian mainstream media’s Lrt.lt (9 Jan., updated 17 Jan. 2022) which reported on the refusal of the French Embassy in Vilnius to send any representation to the center’s opening ceremony in Dec. 2021. A report also appeared on the website of the official Lithuanian Jewish Community (10 Jan.). However, a second local Kaunas community posting on 12 Jan. was alone cited by the European Jewish Congress website  as an uncontroversial news item.

“Question on everybody’s mind”:

Will the Levinas Center leaders, staff, sponsors and visitors politely ask, with dignity, that the city of Kaunas now, in its year as “Capital of European Culture” rapidly remove state-sponsored shrines to the local murderers of Levinas’s family and the other 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas? Or will the Levinas Center become one of the “Useful Jewish Idiot (UJI) addresses” that are used to cover for current Kaunas policies of glorification of Nazi perpetrators, while providing handsome photo-ops, lavish hospitality and generous amenities to visiting foreign Jewish dignitaries who maintain studious silence on current policies of honoring Holocaust collaborators in the public space (in some cases, a very short walk from the new “Levinas Center”).

Levinas for veterinarians?

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Authorized Translation of French Composer Michael Levinas’s Interview with Actualité Juive on Illicit New ‘Levinas Center’ in Kaunas, as City Continues to Glorify Local Holocaust Perpetrators



Defending History’s Belgian correspondent Roland Binet has translated the 13 Jan. 2021 interview with Michael Levinas published on 13 Jan. 2021 in Actualite Juive.  Michaël Levinas, who has approved the translation, is a French pianist and composer of renown. He has this year been appointed Vice-President of the French Academy of Fine Arts, has taught at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance and has been made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.  

For context see the Levinas Center Media Tracker page.


Son of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, pianist and composer, honorary professor at the CNSMDP [National Superior Conservatory of Dance and Music], member of the French Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts, Michaël Levinas has expressed his opposition to the inauguration last month of the Emmanuel Levinas Center in Lithuania. He explains why.

Actualité Juive: The city of Kaunas in Lithuania in December inaugurated a center that bears the name of your father, the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Why do you oppose that initiative?

Michaël Levinas: During a visit in Paris by the philosopher Viktoras Bachmetjevas, I learned that he wished to create an Emmanuel Levinas Center in Kaunas. I immediately told him of my reservations to the use of his name at the very place where all our family had been murdered during the Holocaust by bullets with the proven complicity of the Lithuanian people. It is an employee of  mygrandfather (who was a bookseller) who denounced the family and led the Lithuanian members of the militia to his home. I pointed out the fact that it was common knowledge that my father had on many occasions expressed the solemn vow never again to return to Lithuania and never again to have any contact with that country anymore. On the other hand, I told him that I was not opposed to the fact that, within the setting of a structure dedicated to  contemporary philosophy, a section might be created dedicated to the study of Emmanuel Levinas’s work. One year later, I was contacted by the French ambassador in Lithuania, Mrs. Lignières-Counathe, who informed me of the progress of a project of setting up of an Emmanuel Levinas Center. Again, I expressed my reservations, reminding her of my father’s very firm stance and of my moral and intellectual responsibility as exclusive holder of the moral rights pertaining to his work, which are of course correlated with the respect of his name and its use.

Actualité Juive: What happened next?

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Authorized Translation of Michael Levinas’s Dec. 2021 ‘Le Figaro’ Op-ed on Kaunas’s ‘Levinas Center’



Defending History’s Belgian correspondent Roland Binet has translated the 21 Dec. 2021 op-ed published in Le Figaro by Michael Levinas entitled “Pourquoi je suis opposé à l’inauguration, à Kaunas, en Lituanie, d’un centre qui porte le nom d’Emmanuel Levinas”.  Michael Levinas has agreed to allow Defending History to publish his Le Figaro opinion piece in full, in English, and has approved Roland Binet’s translation, which follows.  Michaël Levinas is a French pianist and composer of renown. He has this year been appointed Vice-President of the French Academy of Fine Arts, has taught at the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance and has been made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.  

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Why am I Opposed to the Inauguration in Kaunas, Lithuania, of a Center that Bears the Name of Emmanuel Levinas

By Michaël Levinas

Following the publication on FigaroVox of Salomon Malka’s text entitled “Lithuania celebrates the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas”  Michael Levinas asked us to publish his reaction to this information. Michaël Levinas, a pianist, is honorary professor at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, as well as a member of the Academy of Fine Arts. He is the son of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas.

It was through an article signed by Salomon Malka in FigaroVox that I was informed of the inauguration of an Emmanuel Levinas center in Kaunas, which took place on December 6 within the setting of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Thus, it is through the press alone that I, as the exclusive holder of the moral rights, and responsible for the use of my father’s name when it concerns his work, learned of this ceremony which honored a major French personality. A noteworthy fact: it was held only in the presence of the Embassy of Israel, and in the absence of the Embassy of France in Lithuania and the Embassy of Lithuania in France, and this, in defiance of the reservations that I had publicly expressed as a son regarding the use of my father’s name, Emmanuel Levinas, in a historically tragic context.

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French Composer and Pianist Michael Levinas, Son of Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, Explains Opposition to Wanton Use of Father’s Name in Kaunas’s New ‘Levinas Center’



 OPINION  |  USE OF ‘JEWISH PROJECTS’ TO DEFLECT FROM HOLOCAUST OBFUSCATION  |  ‘LEVINAS CENTER’  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |   KAUNAS  |  FRANCE

PARIS—The French Jewish journal Actualité Juive  published in its print edition a full-page interview (as PDF) with the eminent French composer and pianist Michaël Levinas, concerning his protest at a new center in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas (once Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne), being named for his late father, the great French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995). An authorized translation is available. Coinciding with the European Union’s naming of Kaunas as “Capital of European Culture” for 2022 and the city’s refusal to remove even one of the many street names, shrines, plaques and monuments to local Nazi collaborators who helped ensure the massacre of nearly all the city’s Jewish residents in 1941, and who participated in the unleashing of the Holocaust in Lithuania even before the arrival of the first German soldiers in late late 1941, the composer’s powerful moral protest represents a singular voice of justice, reason and moral courage to date.

See also op-ed in Le Figaro

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Levinas Center Media Tracker

The composer’s stance stands in marked  contrast with many others, including artists, assorted academics and a wide range of Western wannabees, who are accepting funding, honors, junkets, invites, and photo-ops with “important people” in return for an unspoken assurance of silence in face of the city’s refusal to take down a single shrine to the local perpetrators of the Holocaust.

The following is a PDF of Michaël Levinas’s interview in the print edition of Actualité Juive of 13 January 2022:

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