Tag Archives: Yiddish in Vilnius

Could the Israeli Foreign Ministry be More Sensitive to Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture in Eastern Europe? Latest from Vilnius


by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—The lovely idea to name a square in modern Vilnius for the State of Israel is a fine gesture of friendship between the two countries and their foreign ministries. Today’s LRT report informs readers that Israel Square will adorn the neighborhood known as Naujamiestis (the New Town, or the New City).

There is a problem.

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Posted in Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Could the Israeli Foreign Ministry be More Sensitive to Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture in Eastern Europe? Latest from Vilnius

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023): Cofounder of Lithuania’s Jewish Museum, Longtime Chief Curator, Educator, Specialist on Litvak Artists


The following is a revised text of Dovid Katz’s obituary that appeared on his Facebook page today.

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946-2023)

The world of Jewish Vilna and Litvaks everywhere mourn in deep sorrow the untimely sudden death of our dear Roza (Róze, Reyzl) Bieliauskienė, beloved scholar of Lithuanian Jewish art, long time historian, museum curator, educator, guide and a loyal friend unafraid of untoward local politics and its boycotts. Whether for an old friend or a foreigner she’d never seen before, Roza would rush to help anyone research anything if it was in the field of Lithuanian Jewish culture, history. Here is our 2 hour+ interview with her (entirely in Yiddish) from less than a year ago (recorded and posted in the Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive (LYVA) thanks to the generosity of Remembering Litvaks Inc).

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Obituaries, Roza Bieliauskienė | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023): Cofounder of Lithuania’s Jewish Museum, Longtime Chief Curator, Educator, Specialist on Litvak Artists




Come visit Lithuania & neighboring EU countries!

DH editor in neo-nazi & far-right imagination

Can eminent Western folks (& Jewish organization heads) be seduced by state medals, junkets & photo-ops to unwittingly compromise historic truth of the Holocaust & the interests of the remnant Jewish communities of Eastern Europe?


We support Ukraine!

27 June 2024

OPINION: Ukraine Needs Help from the “Red-Brown Commission” Like a Hole in the Head

21 & 23 June 2024


Defending History’s Report Brings News to International Attention


17 June 2024

Building Sheets Down, Scaffolding Removed, Builders’ Barriers are “Last Stage” for “Noreika section” of National Library of Sciences Facade

Latest images (17 June 2024) from the cleaned facade that Lithuania’s friends hope will remain morally clean…

5 June 2024

A splendid opportunity presents itself to the leaders of Vilnius and Lithuania:

“Please just announce that the Noreika plaque, glorifying a brutal Holocaust collaborator, will NOT reappear on the facade of the central Vilnius Library of the Academy of Sciences after completion of the building’s renovations. It causes so much pain to the families of Holocaust survivors, and so much unnecessary damage to Lithuania’s status. Time to throw systemic antisemitism and state glorification of Holocaust collaborators into the junkyard of the last century’s horrors. And move onward together in the spirit of the European Union, NATO, and the free world.”

Photo at right: 19 May 2024 by DH. June 3rd update: Scaffolding removed. Will the authorities now explicitly keep the plaque off? Or, will the circus of crowds coming to re-affix the plaque  glorifying a brutal Holocaust collaborator come back to town this summer (as was the case five years ago, in 2019)?

The plaque was removed a year ago in the run-up to July’s NATO conference (pretext: “renovations of the facade”). The builders’ sheets  have finally come down, but the scaffolding is still up. When the plaque was removed for renovations, Delfi.lt reported one year ago that  the director of the National Library of Sciences, whose Noreika facade has so damaged Lithuania’s standing, gave the plaque to a far-right, pro-fascist youth group “for safekeeping” and that “the sign will be put back when the renovation works are completed.”

America’s ambassador to Lithuania, H.E. Cara McDonald, mentioned Noreika by name in her historic Jan. 2024 statement that included the words: “I will continue to speak out strongly against the glorification of individuals who are known and documented to have participated in the Holocaust. This is part of the definition of antisemitism.”

20 May 2024

Video: Rabbi S. J. Feffer, descendant of Gaon of Vilna and long-time provider of Jewish festivals to city’s Jewish community, speaks out passionately against plans to plonk a museum & memorial complex in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.


10 May 2024

Five Minutes & Six Seconds:

The Satanic Verses of Sheduva, Lithuania?

Our take:

Shame on the directors, donors, and staff of the “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” that has just had the five minute and six second  trailer to Saulius Beržinis’s classic Holocaust documentary on Sheduva removed from Youtube:

If this really is some kind of “copyright dispute” the Museum of the Lost Shtetl will rapidly re-post the trailer on Youtube with its own proposed copyright data. Or is this a case of the museum wanting to bury forever from the public domain these moments from the documentary that it itself commissioned — and with it, the truth about the Holocaust and the memories of its last witnesses in town?

The five minute trailer on Yom HaShoah.  The saga.  Sheduva in Holocaust history over the last few years. A foreign journalist’s report withdrawn, allegedly after threats.

6 May / Yom HaShoah 2024:

Please spend five minutes and six seconds watching the youtube trailer for Saulius Beržinis’s blocked film

Is Sheduva’s “Museum of the Lost Shtetl” really blocking Beržinis’s remarkable documentary film (that it itself commissioned)?

For lavish replacement, famous Hollywood director is brought in. But will she now publicly support Beržinis’s film also being readily available online?

Text of a foreign journalist’s major-media article withdrawn “allegedly after threats”

25 years ago, Elena Rimdžiūtė, a Christian Lithuanian townswoman, told us, in Litvak Yiddish, what happened during the Holocaust in her town while remembering her murdered neighbors by singing their beloved Yiddish folksongs (translation of the excerpt in youtube ‘description box’). Entire interview here.

26 April  2024

Rwanda Genocide: Instrumentalized by “Genocide Center”?

22 April 2024

Orthodox Jewry Launches Protests against Latest Incarnation of “Soviet Junk in Heart of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery”

Could the “plot line out of a horror movie” be true? Yet another drive to obtain “Orthodox permission” for converting a Soviet dump in the middle of Lithuania’s oldest, greatest, Jewish cemetery to a modern building with toilets and lights and masses of visitors to museum-grade exhibits? The American Jewish Committee’s point man again “coming to the rescue” by allegedly offering a “substantial sum” to the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), previously a staunch opponent of desecration, in return for stitching it all up via a new commission to which they would appoint Orthodox members who would merrily sign on? With money from where? From the “Good Will Foundation” restitution funds deriving from the religious property of the murdered Jews of pre-Holocaust Lithuania. The AJC man will no doubt get even more medals and shmontzes. Ah, but then the power of truth shows itself  again in a way that revealed the whole of it for history. One member of the commission dissents with the deepest of honesty, courage and integrity, via eloquent documents for the records of history.

See the saga of the cemetery since 2015. Of the new commission since 2023 (its members).  Of the AJC’s exploits in Lithuania (do American donors know?). Of the Good Will Foundation. Of one single righteous voice of public dissent among the commission members. Of four Litvak heads of yeshiva immediately protesting the new plans. Public statements by Ruta Bloshtein, Julius Norwilla and Rabbi Elchonon Baron. The commission minutes “out of George Orwell”. What next?

15 April 2024

Vilnius Jewish Community invites people of all faiths and backgrounds to Rabbi Samuel Jacob Feffer’s Open & Free Passover Seyder, celebrating the Jewish festival of freedom

this Monday, 22 April, 9 PM to late, at the

Narutis Hotel, Pilies g. 24 (ground floor, hall at end of corridor)

Everyone is welcome! Admission free! No tickets required! More information at Facebook page of the Vilnius Jewish Community . . .

April 2024

Greetings — from ‘Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery’

Did “Conference of European Rabbis” (CER) reverse a long-held principled position after alleged financial incentive from gov. sponsored ‘Good Will Foundation’ (GWF) in latest betrayal of Lithuanian Jewry by the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) point man who allegedly arranged the deal? He  is also the nonrotating co-chair of GWF controlling tens of millions meant for Lithuanian Jewry.


Do the leaders and supporters of the AJC know of its unethical and destructive activities in Lithuania over many years? How AJC’s Andrew Baker responds to a Lithuanian Jew who dares write in protest?

On the future of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery: To date, just  one member of latest “international commission” on the cemetery stood up with integrity for the cemetery’s dignity, and could not be swayed by junkets, banquets, photo-ops, translations, medals and trinkets. His statements for history on the process and on the content. Who are the other members? Will any of them — especially the “religious” Jewish representatives —  ever speak out?

 Real Lithuanian tradition rabbis have spoken out with simple integrity. Statement of four yeshiva heads, and of Rabbi Elchonon Baron.


Tale of Two Visions — for Lithuania’s most sacred Jewish site, the Old Vilna Cemetery, where many thousands still lie buried



March 2024

Welcoming Springtime in Vilnius with Ever More Repairs at Library of Sciences


Ever more antics to avoid having to permanently remove plaque glorifying the Nazi collaborator (or just to delay announcing any decision)? National Library of Sciences in central Vilnius on the eve of the Ides of March 2024. Defending History photos by William Adan Pahl.

Critics ask: Is it all to avoid making the bold decision to leave the plaque and bas relief of Noreika away from the building’s facade and right on the junkpile of Hitlerist paraphernalia — where it justly belongs?

“These repairs, approaching the one-year mark, are the Vilnius answer to Chris Christie’s Washington Bridge repair scheme”…

Plaque was temporarily removed on eve of last July’s successful NATO conference (according to mainstream media, it was given to far-right hate group Pro Patria for “safekeeping”). New American ambassador speaks out with unambiguous moral clarity at the start of 2024. Nu? What keeps the president, prime minister and mayor of Vilnius from proudly announcing that just like Soviet junk, public space shrines to Holocaust criminals have no place in the  public space of EU and NATO capital cities. One mayor once took down its predecessor plaque (alas, very temporarily). On Vilnius’s 700th last year, Defending History assured our readers that Gediminas, creator of Europe’s first truly from-the-start multicultural capital, was crying out from the grave.

Meanwhile, hated relics of Soviets’ architectural (and human) barbarism are all correctly coming down, with the one exception of the one on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, where demolition would entail the “danger” of restoring Lithuania’s most storied Jewish cemetery in the onetime Jerusalem of Lithuania.

It pays to defend history: success stories

Our authors: Who has written for DH during its first decade and a half?

Our survivors’ Yiddish oral history archive reaches 670+ videos

DH editor in the neo-nazi, far right & fellow traveler imagination: cartoons, photoshops and death threats

Can well-meaning distinguished foreigners become UJIs (“useful Jewish idiots”) who unwittingly help cover for East European Holocaust obfuscation and revisionism when showered with honors?

February 2024

America’s new ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, makes a dramatic entrance that will go down in history, citing glorified Holocaust perpetrators Krikštaponis and Noreika by name, in first major interview:

“I will continue to speak out strongly against the glorification of individuals who are known and documented to have participated in the Holocaust. This is part of the definition of antisemitism.”

New US ambassador in Vilnius HE Kara McDonald


AMBASSADOR MCDONALD’S FIRST MAJOR CHALLENGE: Hope rising that the ambassador can succeed to persuade authorities to truly join West’s sensibilities in their imminent decision on…

To restore or not to restore a city-center plaque glorifying a brutal Holocaust collaborator? Noreika or no Noreika?

Plaque was taken down “for repairs” before last July’s NATO conference. Choice rich in symbolism confronts nation’s leaders as huge white builders’ sheet continues to cover up the indecision…

DefendingHistory.com photo by William Adan Pahl


Doesn’t the proud 1000 year history of Lithuania deserve better than this in the heart of Vilnius?

Can a handful of antisemitic, ultranationalist, Holocaust-revising elites continue to stymie Lithuania’s progress?

The day will come, when the nation’s educators, journalists, parliamentarians and cultural leaders will appreciate who were the true friends of Lithuania in the 2020s. . .

Coming back? Plaque with bas relief of the Holocaust collaborator. Photo: DefendingHistory.com.

For a decade and a half, the Defending History community has been calling for an end to glorification of Holocaust perpetrators. See DH’s sections Perpetrators Glorified; J. Noreika. The far-right’s argumentation, that “Double Genocide” means that all perpetrators can also be heroes has been propagated for a quarter century by the “Red-Brown” Commission. It’s best-known iteration is on video, concerning the state’s attempts to prosecute anti-Nazi resistance heroes Fania Yocheles Brantosvsky, Rachel Margolis, Joseph Melamed, and others; official apologies to their families remain a vital issue. Defending History is proud to have brought these travesties to the world’s attention, and to have supported to the hilt the last survivors. Our community is certain that this constitutes a great service to the future of the delightful, democratic EU/NATO state of Lithuania, whose valiant people deserve much better than their taxes going to glorify Holocaust killers, or to rewrite history in the spirit of the far-far right’s ultranationalism, racism and antisemitism.

Mark Blumberg on the Noreika plaque merry-go-round

Jan. 2024

Defending History’s 2024

Person of the Year

Meet our Persons of the Year over the past decade

Dec. 2023

We wish all our readers

Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year 2024!

The Defending History community’s annual new year’s meditation

Dec. 2023

Grand opportunity knocks: Don’t restore the Vilnius plaque glorifying Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika!

Before New Year’s Eve rings out the 700th anniversary year of Vilnius: Defending History renews call for rapid removal of all of Vilnius’s shrines, plaques, statues, street names and museum exhibits glorifying Holocaust collaborators (including the LAF neighbor-killers of the First Week of the Lithuanian Holocaust)

B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand award: “DefendingHistory.com stands as the pre-eminent record of historic truth in the face of well funded state efforts to rewrite history

Nov.-Dec. 2023

Vilnius’s Ruta Bloshtein begs Orthodox Jews appointed to commission on Old Vilna Cemetery to stand up to ‘directed conclusion’ — a fancy restored 1970s Soviet building in the cemetery’s center. Rabbi Elchonon Baron calls latest project for cemetery destruction ‘despicable’. Julius Norwilla issues a final appeal to all members of the commission. Four Top Lithuanian-heritage heads of yeshiva issue clear rabbinic edict. Rabbi Baron issues another. Latest from ‘Working Group’ is ‘right out of Orwell’

Please write to members of the “Working Group” on the moral imperative of removing the huge Soviet ruin and lovingly restoring Vilna’s grand Old Jewish Cemetery with its many magnificent stone structures

“History will hold to account each and every member of the Working Group, including addiction to junkets, photo ops, translations, grants, honors and glories, for enabling the cruel humiliation of the graves of tens of thousands of Jewish citizens of Vilna over half a millennium whose cemetery has no true local descendant-defenders because of something called the Holocaust. Who knows, more of the Working Group will end up with classy state medals too. But their names will remain in the accurate history until the end of days.” 

“Cemetery restoration” planned for one of Lithuania’s most sacred Jewish sites?

The frightening imagined image that so disgusts antisemites in town: the idea that A Cemetery Is A Cemetery, that the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, not a convention or memorial center, not a museum or fun & recreation park…

What would be a magnificent world attraction for a European city — a restored medieval Jewish cemetery reflecting a grand history — seems to elicit deep, primal ultranationalist and antisemitic panic in Vilnius. Time for the prime minister to step in again?

Were allegedly compromised groups possibly manipulated to provide “Jewish cover” for de facto cemetery destruction? Focus on AJC, CPJCE, LJC. Previous steadfastness of Conference of European Rabbis (CER) now unclear as “clear new statement” awaited. Follow the dramatic saga in Defending History.

Julius Norwilla explains that the “Working Group” members may not know that other hated Soviet buildings have rapidly had their “landmark status” removed to enable demolition. But the one in the Jewish cemetery…?

QUESTION for the Working Group members: Would any of this be happening to a half-millennium old Christian or Lithuanian national cemetery where many thousands still lie buried?

QUESTION for the planet’s Litvak rabbis and Litvak leaders: Who will be among the First Ten to publicly say something along the lines of “Sorry, guys, but the middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is just no place for a museum or other renovated Soviet monstrosity. A cemetery of any people is for those buried there, to lie in peace in the plots purchased freehold by their relatives, with nothing but restored gravestones on top. Not just Jewish law, it’s part of human rights of all people, dear khévre.”


☰ Who will be the second? ☰

Autumn 2023

Roland Binet: On the Unvarnished, Unedited Holocaust Art of David Olère

‘It Pays to Defend History’: Yad Vashem’s new chairman, Dani Dayan, gives watershed speech at Lithuania’s parliament

Emily Tamkin’s JTA report on Vilnius’s twin anniversaries: 700 years since city’s founding, 80 since end of the Vilna Ghetto

Pinchos Fridberg’s latest reflections

B’nai B’rith honors Lithuanian filmmaker

Lev Golinkin (in the Forward) on more Nazi-honorinng monuments in America

New books for autumn 2023

August 2023

B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand Honors Saulius Beržinis, Lithuanian Film Maker, Bold Fighter for Historic Truth of the Holocaust


B’nai B’rith Australia & New Zealand issues press release; on J-Wire; archived

Summer 2023

Lithuania’s Famed Documentary Film Maker Saulius Beržinis, Pioneer Truth Teller on Holocaust in the Baltics, Under Multipronged Assault

Feelings mount on alleged “gang-up” by  Sheduva Shtetl Museum, its executive director in Brussels, the South African billionaire in Zurich, and swish lawyers in Vilnius. “Kosher” Hollywood master is brought in to produce an uncontroversial replacement film.

“Forbidden” scenes in the film Petrified Time have become known informally as The Satanic Verses


For a decade and a half, Defending History has been proud to stand with the inspirational heroes of modern Lithuania: the bold truth tellers of history (of all personal backgrounds). In summer 2023, documentary film maker Saulius Beržinis, after near-miraculously filming the last witnesses to the Holocaust in Sheduva (Šeduva), finds that powerful forces (including a Brussels macher, a Zurich billionaire, various officials, and Vilnius’s most ellexist law firm) all stacked up to prevent these ‘satanic verses’ of the film entering the public domain of Western civilization. Defending History intends to ensure that the Sheduva truth, a microcosm of the East European Holocaust, is not suppressed — museum or no museum. And that master documentarian Saulius Beržinis is acclaimed for his achievements rather than be subjected to strongmen-commanded, billionaire-financed campaigns of destruction actuated via fancy law firms. A major Hollywood documentary master has been brought in to do a replacement film that will presumably not ruffle the local, national or regional feathers.

Latest updates on

‘The Satanic Verses of Lost Shtetl Sheduva’

16 June 2023


Lithuanian cartoonist Voluvak on whether in the internet age film footage of real significance for the historic record of Western civilization can be eaten up (“catch and kill”) before ever seeing the wider light of day.

May 2023

Full translation of public antisemitic proclamation by Lithuanian parliamentarian Žemaitaitis; Will he now resign?

Mark Blumberg on new Noreika shrine circus: down for NATO conference (“for repairs”) & back up again when folks leave town?

With all Soviet monuments (rightfully) knocked down in Vilnius, will they make a single exception for the one in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Will the French Embassy in Vilnius finally deal with the “private French bookshop” (in the heart of the French Embassy compound) that has for years featured in the center of its prominent Old Town show window far-right works intent on glorification of local Holocaust collaborators?

April-July 2023

Vilnius Celebrates its 700th Birthday: Time to Take Down the City-Center, State-Financed, Public-Space Monuments that Glorify Local Holocaust Collaborators

Some of the state-sponsored public-space shrines to local Holocaust collaboration in Vilnius in 2023, year of the city’s 700 years celebrations. Top: Vilnius street offensively named for the most tragic day in Lithuanian Jewish history: outbreak of mass murder of helpless neighbors across the land (the Soviets were fleeing the Nazi invasion, not the local Jew-killers). Montage: DefendingHistory.com

Meanwhile, an antisemitic commemorative envelope (featuring “numerous crowds of Kaunas Jews” allegedly greeting the Red Army in Kaunas during World War II) “updated” for this year’s celebration of Vilnius’s 700th birthday, purchased in Vilnius Old Town’s central tourist souvenir district (Pilies St.) on Easter Sunday, 9 April 2023:

See more samples of the same “genre” and the related saga of 2012 (which includes a fine Delfi.lt exposé by a young Lithuanian journalist, and a bold protest staged by nine young Lithuanian human rights champions at an exhibition of the “art” of the envelope maker)

April-June 2023

Latest Shenanigans for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Shnípeshok, today’s Šnipiškės)

After the Defending History led campaign to thwart the “national convention center on top of the Vilna Jewish cemetery” culminated in success, powerful forces continue to try to “save” the unsightly ruin of the Soviet Sports Palace built in the cemetery’s center, this time around via plans for a “Jewish museum.” See the latest in Defending History.

Reminder: There is not one Jewish museum, Jewish center, or Jewish institution on the planet built on top of an old Jewish cemetery, among other reasons because this is strictly forbidden by Jewish law, and any such misguided endeavor would be ipso facto shunned or boycotted by traditional religious Jews, and many other people, Jewish and non-Jewish, in solidarity with their millennial sensibilities, and in harmony with universal humanistic respect for the rights of the deceased to be left in peace and respected, which is a right now enumerated by the US Congress and the European Union, among others, as part of universal human rights.

March-April 2023

Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, dean of New York’s Rambam Mesivta High School, leads over 100 students on a peaceful demonstration outside the Lithuanian Consulate in Manhattan  (also in Matzav.com; European Jewish Press)

March 2023

March’s Marching Season in the Baltics: Latvian & Lithuanian worshippers of Hitler’s henchmen continue to be gifted the centers of Riga and Vilnius…

The Holocaust in Latvia: Amid a general silence over this year’s shameful March 16th central-Riga worship of the Latvian Waffen SS, the Defending History community honors Roland Binet for his years of activism and superb musical compositions in remembrance of the victims and protest of celebrations of Hitlerist forces. Binet is a master of original music composition as a voice of historic protest.

See also Defending History’s coverage of central Riga’s annual Waffen SS fest since 2010

Julius Norwilla’s eyewitness report of far-right’s march in central Vilnius on 11 March 2023

Journey to Lithuania and Poland in May 2023

February 2023

16 February 2023:

Happy  105th Independence Day, Lithuania!

We all join in celebrating February 16th 1918, just 105 years ago, that ushered in the successful interwar republic. Classic image of the Jews of the shtetl Dorbyán (Darbėnai, northwestern Lithuania) in 1928 celebrating the tenth anniversary of the happy day so cherished by all the peoples in the land. . .

Also: In 2018, to honor the 100th anniversary of independence, we established the (still slow moving) Mini Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania

February 2023

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė on How Minorities’ Bravery in Defending Ukraine is Changing Some Attitudes in Lithuania

Review of Michael Kretzmer’s documentary “J’Accuse”

January 2023

Roza Bieliauskienė (1946 – 2023)


Roland Binet Reviews New BBC Documentary on the Onset of the East European Holocaust

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė on Image of Roma in Ukraine in Light of Heroism in War

Evaldas Balčiūnas Reflects on his Life

New Year’s Day 2023

Defending History’s 2023 Person of the Year is Announced…

Evaldas Balčiūnas (photo: Defending History)

Who were Defending History’s previous People of the Year?


Happy New Year 2023!

The Defending History community’s annual new year’s meditation

December 2022

Last Days of “Kaunas 2022 Capital of European Culture”


the shocking “omission of the main point” in Jerusalem Post’s coverage

Roland Binet on Latest Example of Baltic Revisionism Seeping Westwards

November 2022

We mourn the sudden and untimely death of our dear colleague, mentor and teacher


(4 January 1944 — 9 November  2022)


The entire Defending History community mourns the  untimely sudden death of the great Holocaust historian, who was editing his book on the East European revisionist campaign, and its many Western and Jewish nochsheppers, in his final months. Inspired by Randolph L. Braham (1922-2018), among others, Professor Shafir’s papers covering the whole swath of East European governments’ huge investments to “fix” the Holocaust made him the pioneer of the academic and intellectual resistance to state-sponsored Double Genocide revisionism. May his completed book and all his other writings soon be made accessible to scholars and the public alike. His works will live on and in time come to be recognized for their successful exposure of the vast and elaborately financed efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust.

Papers by Michael Shafir

Michael Shafir section in DefendingHistory.com

November 2022

A one-sided event at Yale and the Fortunoff Archive in New Haven on 9 Nov. 2022? Speakers are long-time members of the Lithuanian government financed “Red-Brown Commission” that is a prime engine of the Double Genocide revisionist movement in Europe

London Jewish Chronicle reports on last wish of 100 year old Holocaust survivor and heroic partisan veteran Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky: Preserve for posterity Europe’s last Jewish fort from Holocaust times! (background; 100th birthday and list of videos)

John Oxley’s  ‘non-Critical’ piece in ‘The Critic’ Magazine: Some PR for Europe’s most antisemitic and far right revisionist museum — Vilnius’s ‘Genocide Museum’ that turns Hitlerist Holocaust perpetrators into ‘gallant heroes’. The DefendingHistory.com community views of the museum.

Yet again, Holocaust revisionism commission puts on a macabre show for naive foreign Jewish visitors in Vilnius

October  2022

Julius Norwilla on Lithuania’s overdue spiritual analogue of: “Russian warship go f**k yourself!”

Roland Binet on latest attempt to export Baltic revisionist Holocaust history to Belgium and the West

Defending History on stream of ‘useful idiots’ brought to legitimize Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture’ year without removing a single state sponsored, city-center public-space shrine to Holocaust collaborators (and to actual local perpetrators)

Will the state-sponsored ‘Red-Brown Commission’ in Vilnius ever apologize for its public role in defamation of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance and are heroes of the free world?  (background)

Will ‘liberal professors’ (and tolerance-loving students!) ever call publicly for removal of shrines to Hitler’s Nazi puppet PM in Kaunas from Vytautas Magnus University lecture hall?  (background)

Sept. 2022

Vilnius Cinderella Comes to the Ball (belatedly, and in Berlin)

German Wikipedia now tells the tale of Lithuania’s Rachel (Rokhl, Rochel) Kostanian, who for decades led a one-woman campaign in Vilnius for truth about the Holocaust, standing up to some very powerful forces. Photo: Rachel in Berlin with Thomas Pfanne, former German cultural attaché in Lithuania, after she was honored by the president of Germany. See Defending History’s Rachel Kostanian section.

Sept. 2022

Defending History Turns 13

On our pages TEN YEARS AGO

It pays to defend history: success stories

Our authors: Who has written for DH during its first dozen years?

Our survivors’ Yiddish oral history archive reaches 670 videos

DH editor in the neo-nazi, far right & fellow traveler imagination

Aug. 2022

We Honor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky on her 100th Birthday

We join Fania in calling for preservation of Europe’s last Jewish partisan fort in the forests (“Fania’s Fort”), where 100 Jewish escapees from the Vilna Ghetto lived and fought the Nazis during the Holocaust as part of the anti-Nazi resistance. The fort in the forest, which should become a major Lithuanian, Baltic, UNESCO, Jewish Heritage and European Union site to be cherished, is rapidly disappearing because of far-right history revisionists in high positions.

There is also an urgent need to ask the Lithuanian government to issue a written apology and retraction following a decade and a half of defamation for the history books, a defamation that has included a formal statement from the executive director of the state-sponsored “red-brown commission” that also runs Holocaust studies in the country.

See Defending History’s Fania Brantsovsky Section and some of our videos with dear Fania over the last 25 years

August 2022

Are Leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania ‘Taking Advantage’ of Ukraine Tragedy? They Call on EU to Support Far-Right Holocaust-Obfuscating ‘Prague Platform’

July 2022

President Zelensky Dismisses Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany after Shameful Public Worship of Stepan Bandera, a Major Holocaust Collaborator

See G. Rossolinski-Liebe’s authoritative study of Bandera’s Hitlerist history and the racist, fascist leader’s inspiration of hundreds of thousands of murders of Polish and Jewish civilians. Erika Solomon’s update in the New York Times

Defending History was ahead of curve; see from earlier years Bandera section and some of Dr. Rossolinski-Liebe’s earlier writings in Defending History; DH’s Collaborators Glorified section for the wider context of the issue in contemporary Eastern Europe (more details on Sections page)

February–August 2022

Civilized World Condemns Putin’s War of Barbaric Mass Murder in Ukraine

The Defending History community joins in calling for immediate restoration of peace and security for all the people of Ukraine, condemning unequivocally the savage and barbaric invasion — and rain of death and destruction — by a neighboring big power, led by our century’s most dangerous and deranged warmonger dictator.

As a small gesture of spiritual solidarity, our Yiddish Studies team has constructed a modest new collection of videos of Ukraine’s last Yiddish speaking survivors. Ukraine alone spans every modern dialect of the language.

June 2022

Israel’s Prof. Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky, During Recent Visit to Vilnius, Boldly Spoke Out in Mainstream Media (Lrt.lt) on State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators

in Lithuanian  &  in English
Related: Defending History’s Collaborators Glorified section. See also sections on  23 June 1941 (and its public-space commemoration), J. Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis), A. Baltūsis-Žvejas, J. Lukša, J. Noreika, A. Ramanauskas (+ New Britain, Conn. saga), K. Škirpa, J. Žemaitis.
Professor Klibansky is a major contemporary scholar of the history of Lithuanian Jewry. His book on Lithuanian yeshivas has just come off the press…

June 2022

Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again: Secret Memorandum on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Courtyard

UPDATE: DH Publishes the memorandum, commissions full translation

Just in: Concern in official “Lithuanian Jewish Community” circles about possible 7-year insinuation of alleged Putinist (with potentially dangerous influence over English language website and comms, and community’s leadership). Refers to Ukrainian victims of barbaric Putin invasion as “fascists” (in a country where over 70% voted for a Jewish president in the last election…). More here and here. English readers: sample here.

27 May 2022

Happy 60th Birthday to our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas, Unique Lithuanian Ethicist

A major unheralded truthsayer of our times

Lithuania’s most intrepid pursuer of historic truth and its defense. A decade ago, his series “Why Does My Country Honor Murderers?” included his 2012 revelation to the English speaking world on the Holocaust collaboration of “national hero” Jonas Noreika. From 2014 onward he was for years dragged into court in a prosecutorial campaign of kangaroo hearings and harassment. Defending History stood with him with pride. Today his work (selection in English) is sometimes undercredited elsewhere. But not here. Happy Birthday Evaldas!

May 2022

Another ‘World Litvak Congress’ in Vilnius

Efraim Zuroff’s critique in The Times of Israel


Why is this Photo on Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry Website So Disturbing?

Julius Norwilla in Defending History


Is a New Book by Director of Vilnius ‘Genocide Center’ & Published by ‘Red-Brown Commission’ a Tool for Far-Right East European Holocaust Revisionism? 

Evaldas Balčiūnas in Defending History. Online German version

Background on Genocide Center: DH section & page; review of its museum in Tablet

Background on “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania” (ICECNSORL or, as dubbed by Vilnius diplomats for brevity: The Red-Brown Commission): DH page & section


To mark Yom Hashoah 2022, Lev Golinkin releases new edition of epic study of some 1500 shrines (in some 30 countries)  honoring Nazi collaborators

Lev Golinkin in the Forward


Is New York City’s Jewish Museum the Latest Western Jewish Institution to be Duped into “Legitimizing” East European Far-Right Holocaust Revisionism?

Michael Casper in Jewish CurrentsReport in the Jerusalem Post.


102 Year Old Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust Survivor Explains Why May 9th is Still Precious 

Yetta Gurvich reflects (Yiddish video). Part of LYVA (Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive).

April 2022

New Digital Video Archive of Survivor Testimonies from Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine (& Northeastern Poland) Passes the 650 Video Mark

March 11 and 16:

Even this year, Latvia and Lithuania permit city-center far-right, collaborator-glorifying marches that idolize Holocaust collaborators:

David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen on Latvia’s Waffen SS glorification event

Julius Norwilla in Defending History on Vilnius’s far-right city-center event

Feb. 2022

February is “Can you imagine?” month…

Can you imagine a museum in South Africa dedicated to the history of Apartheid without a single on-site African member of staff on site?

Can you imagine a museum in Mississippi of Slavery without a single on-site African-American member of staff?

Can you imagine a museum of Lithuanian shtetl history in Lithuania without a single on-site Jewish member of staff?

Yes, it’s  the Lost Shtetl Museum in Sheduva (Šeduva), Lithuania.

Will it tell the truth about who (exactly) massacred the Jews of Sheduva?

Will it reveal its “top secret” multimillion-dollar donors of a massive new building and complex in town? Transparency is paramount when it comes to Jewish history on ground zero of the East European Holocaust.

Evaldas Balčiūnas has published an outline for  his play: Museum of  the Lost Truth.

Are South African, Russian or other anonymous tycoons again being duped by slick Lithuanian government operatives?

See also DH sections on Sheduva; Museums; and unique, exclusive recordings of the amazing Christian Lithuanian Yiddish speaker and Holocaust truth teller of Sheduva, Elena Rimdžiūtė (video; clip; article).

Someone has to defend history and ask the hard questions. That’s us. Thank you for your support.

Jan. 2022

Kaunas — EU Capital of European Culture for 2022

Will city’s leaders finally remove state-sponsored public-space shrines, sculptures & street names glorifying local Hitlerists who helped annihilate city’s 30,000 Jews in the Holocaust?


Composer and pianist Michael Levinas, son of French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, publicly protests Lithuania’s naming an institute in Kaunas for his father. Op-ed in Le Figaro (in English). Interview in Actualité Juive (in English).

“The question on everybody’s mind” is: Will the Levinas Center leaders, staff, sponsors and visitors politely ask 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 Addresses” that are used to cover for current policies of glorification of Nazi perpetrators and defamation of local dissidents?





PS: Seems that a Levinas-named entity deemed not suitable for Vilnius University’s Faculty of Philosophy, just the “Health Sciences” unit (Medical School & Veterinary Univ.) in Kaunas, during the era of the Ramanauskas Year, the Lukša Year, & Kaunas Capital of European Culture, all of which glorify Kaunas’s Holocaust enablers.

Takes on Kaunas 2022 in the wake of Nazi shrines abounding in town (and the university): Arndt Beck; Thomas Pfanne; Dovid Katz

The plaque with bas-relief glorifying the prime minister of Adolf Hitler’s puppet government in Kaunas. That “provisional government” collaborated in the sudden and total dehumanization of the city’s 30,000 Jewish citizens. It still adorns a lecture hall in his name at the city’s Vytautas Magnus University. There is also a matrix of street names and public-space exhibits glorifying the Holocaust’s perpetrators. Will the EU politely call for their removal as Kaunas becomes “Capital of European Culture” or are these the EU’s lax new standards for elementary European values? See the reactions when the Nazi puppet PM was reburied with full honors nearly a decade ago.

Jan. 2022

Who are Defending History’s 2022 Persons of the Year?

Dec. 2021

Sad Setback for Vilnius’s Standing in the West

City Council opens brand new square named for alleged 1941 Holocaust murderer Juozas Lukša (“Daumantas”) in spite of pleas and testimony from the (late) last Holocaust Survivors who provided evidence.  Council members tell DH off the record: “What do you want, this was a grand compromise with the Jews, not to make the square in the old town or city center!” (citing far-right demands for the square to be opposite the Jewish Community building).

See Defending History’s chronology of the 2021 debate, including links to Alex Faitelson’s book, British Parliament members’ 2012 early day motion, and 2021 calls from World Jewish Congress’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and (very unusually) the American Jewish Committee. See essays by Defending History’s Dovid Katz and Evaldas Balčiūnas.

Testimony identified Mr. Lukša as one of the participants in the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky of Slabodka (before the arrival of German forces) and as a participant in the Kaunas Lietukis Garage Massacre.


search by author

Dec. 2021

‘It pays to defend history!’

Town Council of Zedelgem, Belgium, Decides to Dismantle Offensive ‘Beehive’ Monument to Latvia’s Waffen SS


Dec. 2021

Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive Passes 500 Video, 12,000 View Milestone

Online for the first time: 30 years of Holocaust Survivor testimonies from Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine

Yoel Matveyev’s coverage in the Yiddish Forward (Nov. 2021)

Survivor testimonies and linguistic and cultural interviews, all in Yiddish, videographed mostly in situ from 1990 to 2020

Excerpts of testimonies on the launch of the Lithuanian Holocaust in the week of 23 June 1941; in Latvia

Oct. 2021

Roland Binet on the Road Sign Welcoming Visitors to Zedelgem, Belgium’s Town with the Nazist Waffen SS Monument

Evaldas Balčiūnas on the Holocaust in Šeduva, a Town in Northern Lithuania

26 Sept. 2021

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė on Roma Issues in Lithuania

Sept. 2021

Defending History Turns 12

Founded on 6 Sept. 2009. Emailed circulars and reports from May 2008 were then uploaded making for a record starting in 2008, A dozen years of posts provide a unique record.

Quiz: How many and which authors have published in Defending History?


10 years ago.  7 years ago.  5 years ago.  3 years ago

Contributions in the United States are now fully tax-deductible via the new nonprofit Preserving Yiddish and Defending History.

Sept. 2021

Congratulations Start to Pour in to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on 16 Aug. Cancellation of Vilnius Convention Center in the Cemetery (“CCC”)

Agudath Israel of America leads the way (18 Aug. statement; 25 Aug.  Jewish Tribune)

Deans of three top Lithuanian yeshivas, all named for cities in Lithuania, congratulate PM

Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė “just did the right thing” (Getty Images)

During mid-August lull, many were caught unaware (reports in DH, DH UpdatesAlgemeiner Journal, JTA)

Vested  interests (commercial and  ultranationalist/antisemitic) quickly ensnared Vilnius mayor and city council to demand reversal

Rumors (still uncorroborated) spread of  plans by usual “gov. Jewish unit” for another “quisling and UJI [‘useful Jewish idiot’] conference” to cloud the issues and cover for “slow-motion rollback” of PM’s bold decision. That trick had (Sadly) worked back in 2007-2008 when leading American Jewish scholars were lavishly brought to a “committee” to cover for building “just the second green building” on top of the cemetery (still known locally as the “D.E. Fishman Building”), on the “understanding” that no more would ever be desecrated with commercial projects…

From the history of the saga

26 Aug. 2021

Silvia Foti in the Wall Street Journal (26 Aug. 2021)

(as PDF)


25 August 2021

In Shock to Admirers, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Calls for Reversing Gov’s Cancellation of ‘Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery’

Question: Is this how he wants to o down in the 700 year and counting history of Vilna (Vilnius/Vílne/Vilna/Wilno)?

18 August 2021

All welcome in Malát (Molėtai), Lithuania, on

Sunday 29 August

16 August 2021

Success! It Pays to Defend History!

Bravo to Lithuania’s Gov on Decision to Move Convention Center Project away from Old Jewish Cemetery

Lithuanian mass media: top journalist Arvydas Jockus reports in Alfa.lt



DH’s coverage of the Vilnius cemetery saga: Look at it chronologically, or work back from the most recent






DH’s coordination of international opposition. Some highlights

Other Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe must be saved from mercenary corrupt clutches of London’s CPJCE and complicit cowardice of US gov’s USCPAHA


Augusat 2021

Danny Ben-Moshe’s Documentary Film Rewriting History Now Free on Youtube

“Nearly a decade later it’s more relevant than ever”

 As a matter of Interest…

Which American Jewish leaders and Western academics would “adjust” their views of the Holocaust after getting medals, trinkets, photo-ops & assorted glories from East European governments hooked on Holocaust revisionism (governments that crave Western/Jewish silence — abject silence — on state glorification of local Nazi collaborators)?

for example

Some major, city-center glorification of Nazi and Holocaust Collaborators — in August 2021

Photographic selection.   Lev Golinkin’s international survey.

August 2021

Playwright Marius Ivaškevičius’s in-depth videotaped interview with DH editor Dovid Katz:

Now Online

August 2021

Harvard’s Prof. Alan Dershowitz on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery:

“Beyond raising a compelling constitutional issue, this resolution is wrong as a matter of justice, historical preservation, basic decency and the dignity of the dead.”

Prof. Alan Dershowitz

July 2021

Roland Binet’s New Musical Composition on the 80th Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Baltic Holocaust

June 2021

Photo-Op Starved Officials of US Taxpayer Funded “USCPAHA” (with State Dept. “Special Holocaust Envoy”) on Vilnius Visit; Triumphant Images are Tweeted

But did they even  bother to meet with Ruta Bloshtein, author of the international  petition calling on the Lithuanian government to move the national convention center project away  from the sacred old Vilnius Jewish Cemetery? Her office, in the Judaica section of the national library, is a short walk from their gov. meetings.  Petition has 53,500 signatures to date. History of the US taxpayer-funded commission’s role in the affair. Meanwhile international opposition to desecration of the old Jewish cemetery grows apace. And on the Holocaust? Not a word of critique of state projects to glorify the local perpetrators on the eve of the 80th anniversary of 23 June 1941, when the Lithuanian Holocaust broke out. Land of “tweeted photo-ops fix all”. . .

23 June 2021

June 23rd 2021: 80th Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust

When “white-armbanders” and LAF followers began to injure, plunder, humiliate and (in 40 locations) murder thousands of Jews across Lithuania (before arrival or taking-of-control by the first German forces). And who will honor the real Lithuanian heroes of 1941 — the amazing, inspirational folks who saved a neighbor from the LAF and the Hitlerist hordes?

Will the state and its “history” units finally honor the victims or again perpetuate the far-right pro-fascist false history that this was some minor crossfire in a “great revolt against the Soviets”?  The Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history — not the local white-armbanded Jew killers.

A freedom fighters’ revolt? Hitlerist white-armbanders surround Jewish women being marched to their death. These militias, responsible for deaths of Jewish civilians in forty locations in Lithuania prior to German arrival, are honored by the state as “freedom fighters”….

Another “conference to paper it all over” adorned by “useful Jewish academics” from far and wide?


6 May 2021

Yitzhak Arad, Hero of Jewish Partisans in Forests of Lithuania, and in Israel’s War of Independence, a Major Holocaust Scholar, Dies in Tel Aviv at 94

Yitzhak Arad (1926-2021)

Holocaust revisionist who started the campaign against Arad in 2006 (in interview in the antisemitic Respublika  representing state’s “Genocide Center”) is today the nation’s Minister of Defense.

Arad was first Jewish partisan veteran to be libeled by kangaroo prosecutions of Lithuania’s “history fixing” units  attempts to revise Holocaust history. Major effort was to paint victims as perpetrators and perpetrators as victims. Follow the ins-and-outs in Defending History.

In 2012, Dr. Arad reported that Yad Vashem (under Israeli Foreign Ministry pressure) had refused to publish his own paper on Holocaust revisionism in Lithuania and asked for it to appear on the pages of Defending History.

For decades he was the leader of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. But when, in retirement, the Lithuanian assault got underway, he felt betrayed and abandoned by Yad Vashem (and after some early support) by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  Neither seriously demanded the needed letter of apology (still doable for posterity).


22 April 2021

In “Shameful” Decision Lithuanian Parliament Appoints Glorifier of Holocaust Collaborators as Director of State’s “Genocide Center”

Secret ballot: 76 for, 34 against,8 abstentions, 2 spoiled ballots

Defending History Reports on Nomination

“No, Sir. This is No Photoshop”

Algemeiner Journal is first US publication to cover the news

Earlier: On the Bubnys nomination.  In the Algemeiner JournalOn Dr. Bubnys’s record. The state-sponsored Genocide Center. On glorifying collaborators.

Addressing a group of far-right and neo-Nazi devotees on 23 June 2020, Dr. Bubnys proudly speaks under a banner of two notorious Hitler collaborators, Jonas Noreika (see Silvia Foti’s new book) and Kazys Škirpa. The 23rd of June 1941 is the date remembered by Lithuanian Jewry as the outbreak of the Holocaust with onset of  widespread murder, dehumanizing degradation and humiliation of civilian Jewish neighbors by the “white armbanders” and “LAF” forces (whose pamphlets declared explicitly their plans for their nation’s Jewish citizens). But instead of honoring the victims, the state’s far-right historians-in-tow glorify the perpetrators as “anti-Soviet rebels,” a well known historic nonsense: the Soviet army was fleeing Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, the largest invasion of human history, not the local Jew-killers with their white armbands. More on the historic background.

Tension mounts: How will  Lithuania’s government (and its state-sponsored historians and “foreign Jewish leaders in tow“) mark the eightieth anniversary two months from now, on 23 June 2021?

14 April 2021

Milan  Chersonski

1937 – 2021

From his dozen years as editor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s former quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania

His writings over the last decade in Defending History

His 80th Birthday celebration in Vilnius

15 April 2021

Historian Who Poses Proudly with Posters of Holocaust Collaborators is Nominated to be Head of Lithuania’s State-Sponsored Far-Right “Genocide Center”

“Why does Lithuania keep doing this to itself?”

Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, chief historian at the state sponsored “Genocide Center” proudly glorifies June 23rd 1941 (on June 23rd 2020  — pandemic or no pandemic…) under the visages of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika (left) and ethnic cleansing advocate K. Škirpa in central Vilnius. Photo: Julius Norwilla


April 2021

Silvia Foti’s The Nazi’s Granddaughter Has Appeared

The Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator’s Chicago-based granddaughter has told the whole truth about her grandfather, J. Noreika. But meanwhile, in central Vilnius, a flashy new plaque (erected less than two years ago) continues to glorify the collaborator, who helped organize the destruction of thousands of Jewish citizens. As the 80th anniversary of the onset of the Lithuanian Holocaust, 23 June 1941, rapidly approaches this June, the question arises: Will the government (and its sycophants) again be honoring the perpetrators on this day, or, at long last, the victims? Last year, the chief historian of the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” stood proudly before a neo-Nazi banner glorifying two major collaborators (including Mr. Noreika…).

Defending History has been on the Noreika case for 9 years. For years on end our correspondent was lugged into court with kangaroo prosecutions. Scroll down to May 2014 to read more.

Meanwhile, Kaunas’s Vytautas Magnus University continues to feature a lecture hall named for, and adorned by a bas relief of  a second major collaborator, the Nazi puppet prime minister of 1941. Hopefully the city of Kaunas will remove all its shrines to Nazi collaborators before being named a “capital of European culture” in 2022. See Lev Golinkin’s sweeping expose, earlier this year, of the wider issue of glorification of Holocaust perpetrators internationally.

April 2021

We need your support to stop the current tidal wave of East European Holocaust revisionism

(that often progresses with the de facto underpinning of American Jewish organizations whose leaders are addicted to “Glories and Medals in the East”  

Support for Defending History is now fully tax deductible

Danny Ben-Moshe’s film Rewriting History is again online!

Come see our latest reports…

Defending History is no fly-by-night. On our pages…



6 April 2021

All Welcome at Yom Hashoah Event Featuring DH Editor Dovid Katz

in international discussion of Danny Ben Moshe’s film Rewriting History

Tuesday 6 April 2021 at Midday US Eastern time (5 PM London, 7 PM Israel and Baltics)

Admission free but registration required

March 2021

Roland Binet on

The Monument to Latvia’s Hitlerist Waffen SS Divisions in a Town in — Belgium

Passover songs in the Lithuanian Yiddish tradition

March 2021

Joel Lion, Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Boldly Slams Latest Municipal Honor for Nazi Collaborators

Ben Cohen reports in the Algemeiner

March 2021

‘My Heritage’ and ‘Litvak SIG’ Announce Availability of Millions of New Jewish Genealogical Records

Collection from the Lithuanian lands covers the period from Catherine the Great to the Holocaust. Report in the Jewish Chronicle.

Feb. 2021

Cinderella finally comes to the ball

President of Germany Awards the state’s Order of Merit to Rachel Kostanian, the “Mother of History Dissidents in Eastern Europe”

“A Powerful Statement”

See: DH’s report; press release from Berlin; recent tributes on Kostanian’s 91st birthday; DH’s Rachel Kostanian Section spanning over a dozen years

Welcome to Defending History!

A safe space that genuinely respects your privacy. No log-ins. No passwords. No offers of notifications or pop-ups.  Just read what and when you like. Over a dozen years, we have covered under-the-radar issues that went from obscure to the forefront on the international arena.

The East European far right’s clever and lavishly financed campaign to rewrite, revise, and fix history (with the help of well-meaning naive westerners) is finally under serious challenge. Together we can defend history, and along with it, human rights and dignity (of the living and dead alike), equality, free speech, and the values of free society and liberal democracy.

The Latest in Defending History


16 February 2021

Happy  Independence Day, Lithuania!

We all join in celebrating February 16th 1918, just 103 years ago, that ushered in the successful interwar republic. Classic image of the Jews of the shtetl Dorbyán (Darbėnai, northwestern Lithuania) in 1928 celebrating the tenth anniversary of the happy day so cherished by all the peoples in the land. . .

12 February 2021

Viktorija Kazlienė, Internationally Admired Director of Molėtai (Malát) Regional Museum in Lithuania, on Developing Holocaust & Jewish Cultural Memorials in Region

— Based on Historic Honesty, Intercultural Cooperation, and Bona Fide Reconciliation

Viktorija Kazlienė

See DH section  on the unique role of Moletai (Malát) and its region in ongoing Holocaust  and Jewish cultural commemoration in Lithuania and beyond over the past five years

February 2021

February Flare-Up of Holocaust Polemics in Lithuanian Mass Media:

1: Defending History’s take on the sunshine boy “heroes” — perpetually silent until all are in any case slamming an obscure parliamentarian (or the far-right, antisemitic Genocide Center) for the usual Holocaust falsification.

2: The naming of 2021 for an alleged perpetrator of LAF atrocities against the Jews of Kovno (Kaunas) in June 1941.

February 2021

Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery (Piramónt – Šnipiškės)

1. Aliide Naylor’s “Soviet Modernism’s Enduring Baltic Legacy” in Jacobin.

2. Latest: US Commission’s P. Packer, silent on the cemetery his commission is responsible for, finds other things with which to make himself an American Jewish hero.

3. Julius Norwilla warns of the dangers of “illusory progress” on saving the Old Vilna cemetery.

4. Christian News Journal claims State Dept. and US Embassy shift to clear new stance on the old Vilna cemetery’s preservation.

6 February 2021


Professor Joseph Parason

(Josifas Parasonis)

27 January 2021

Holocaust Remembrance Day Leads to Veritable Battle of History

Silvia Foti in the New York Times

Public historical debate and coverage of  East European state efforts to “fix the narrative” and export the revisionism to an unsuspecting West.

Lev Golinkin’s survey (and interactive map) in the Forward of monuments to Nazi perpetrators in Eastern Europe, and increasingly in the West, makes ample reference to Defending History’s role in bringing these issues to the world’s attention over the last dozen years.

Efraim Zuroff slams Israeli foreign minister’s betryal of Holocaust history. See DH’s Israel chronicle page.

Dovid Katz on the need to politely confront the major state actors, not just convenient small-fry outrages.

31 January 2021

Warm Good Wishes Pour in For Rachel Kostanian on her 91st Birthday (31 Jan. 2021)

For decades the spirit of life and leadership at Vilnius’s legendary Green House. See Defending History’s Rachel Kostanian section. Her best-known book is Spiritual Resistance in the Vilna Ghetto (with preface by Sir Martin Gilbert).

January 2021

Israel’s Ambassador Joel Lion in Kiev

Israel’s Ambassador Joel Lion in Ukraine Boldly Condemns Annual Parade Glorifying Holocaust Collaborator Stepan Bandera; JTA’s Cnaan Liphshiz Reports

But at same time, Israeli Foreign Ministry colludes  to silence dialogue on glorification of Holocaust collaborators in Lithuania (including the “naming of 2021”); Wiesenthal Center’s Dr. Zuroff protests in Jerusalem Post

Lithuanian Parliament’s dedication of 2021 to memory of J. Lukša, alleged Kaunas 1941 killer is little mentioned after early protests by WJC’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, and Yakov Faitelson, son of legendary escaper from Ninth Fort. Defending History’s take, chronology of the debate, and alternative dedication of 2021. Even the usually hesitant official Jewish community, and its AJC partner, spoke out


Dec. 2020  — Jan. 2021

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė: Updates on Women’s Issues in Lithuania


Defending History’s Persons of the Year 2021

Dovid Katz on Uniqueness of the First Week of the Lithuanian Holocaust (on its 80th Anniversary)

Commemorate Victims and Savers, Not Perpetrators”

See also: Dovid Katz’s webinar at the Jewish Holocaust Center in Melbourne, Australia on “Writing the Holocaust Out of History (without denying a single death)”


Andrius Kulikauskas Reports: Major Success in Campaign to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from Convention Center Desecration; Follows up with BNS Press Release

Lithuanian Parliament Nixes Convention Project’s Budget for 2021

 Julius Norwilla conceived this Star of David as a symbol of fellowship for November 1, 2020, the traditional day for visiting cemeteries throughout Lithuania. From left: Andrius Kulikauskas, Ruta Bloshtein, Povilas Birbilas, Vanda Birbilienė and Julius Norwilla stand in front with a bag of stones. Edmundas Kulikauskas and Arkadij Kurliandchik stand on the bank of the Neris with the Sports Palace behind them. Photo: William Adan Pahl.

14 Dec. 2020

Are US Tax Dollars Really Going for Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators in Ukraine?

25 Nov. 2020

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė on the Fate of a Roma Boy in Vilnius

Dovid Katz’s lecture on “Writing the Holocaust out of History?” at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, Australia now on Youtube (PP presentation online)

Defending History’s editor is named to Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life in 2020 at @Algemeiner’s annual banquet (#J100) in New York City. DH’s campaign to save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery is cited.

Nov. 2020

Are Authorities in Latvia Trying to Shut Down Riga’s Famous Outdoor Holocaust Museum?

Petition is Launched

Yakov Faitelson Calls on the Lithuanian Parliament to Reconsider Decision to Name 2021 in Honor of Alleged Participant in Kaunas Atrocities of June 1941

Participation of honoree witnessed in both Kaunas Garage Massacre and the beheading of Rabbi Zalmen Osovsky. See chronology of the 2020 debate. Yakov Faitelson joins protests by Defending History, Dr. Laurence Weinbaum (World Jewish Congress),  Rabbi Andrew Baker (American Jewish Committee) and Ms. Faina Kukliansky (head of official Jewish Community of Lithuania).

Nov. 2020

“Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery”

♦ Prof. Josifas Parasonis of Vilnius, professor of building sciences uses science, common sense and humanity to come to a simple conclusion

♦ Julius Norwilla, head of Committee for Piramónt, exposes huge budget hole being made to put convention center project on top of the cemetery

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, editor of Respect Cemeteries, calls on readers to write to Lithuanian parliament’s budget masters by Nov. 10th deadline

♦ Next Vilnius District Court Hearing on Fate of the Cemetery is on November 24th

Eyewitness reports on recent hearings:

1 October Vilnius hearing;  6 Oct. hearing;

Earlier report on stance of European Foundation for Human Rights. Reports in Algemeiner Journal and Jerusalem Post.

Defending History was there…

Autumn 2020

Trending in Defending…

Does the president’s PR team really want big posters of Holocaust collaborators at his rallies?

Summer 2020

Making Heroes out of Holocaust Collaborators: Spreading to the West?

Does Vilnius Really Need ‘Convention Center in the Jewish Cemetery’?

Will an EU Member Parliament Really Name 2021 for Alleged Participant in 1941 Kaunas Atrocities?

Tragic Fate of Inspirationally Brave Lithuanian Rescuers

Lithuanian Jewish Commmunity: ‘Concern’ over Appointment of Genocide Center Deputy Head who Specializes in Whitewashing Holocaust Crimes of 1941 Hitlerist LAF and Nazi Puppet Provisional Gov.

US contributions for defending history are now tax-deductible

″The Power of the Ancient Hebrew Letters”

Arkady Kurliandchik and Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas lead a group in partnership with the Vilnius Jewish Community, in placing stones with Hebrew letters painted  in the traditional gold paint (used to highlight lettering in old Lithuanian Jewish / Litvak gravestones) at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės / Shnípeshok), site of the abandoned Soviet sports palace and a planned national convention center. Thousands of graves are still there all around the building. The new gold-lettered Jewish stones were variously placed to mark out the approximate perimeter of the cemetery.

Stone lettering and photos: Andrius Kulikauskas

Vilnius Jewish Community’s Pre-Tíshebov Event at the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery on 29 July. More on the event: Andrius Kulikauskas

Recent News:

Vilnius City Council rushes through decision for convention center with annex in heart of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.  Julius Norwilla reports from VilniusRabbi Elchonon Baron reacts from Jerusalem (video).


Series of webinars by Dovid Katz on Litvaks, Yiddish, the Lithuanian Holocaust (and the contemporary debates)

July 2020

Stinging Pain for Lithuanian Jews & Holocaust Survivor Families More Widely, as Seimas Names 2021 for Alleged Participant in June 1941 Kaunas Atrocities

Editor’s take. Chronology of events and publications. WJC’s Dr. Laurence Weinbaum in the Jewish Chronicle. Rare protest from AJC with LJC. But Wiesenthal Center strangely silent for first time

6 July 2020

The Defending History community wishes all our readers in Lithuania


celebrating the Lithuanian king’s crowning in 1253. A wonderful modern holiday for all the peoples of Lithuania, and the world, and especially those with roots in the Grand Duchy…

26 June 2020

European Jewish Congress Reports on Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition to Save Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from Convention Center Project:  51,000 Have Signed to Date 

Local, international opposition growing by the day

25 June 2020

LJC’s Video of Dieckmann-Vanagaite 25 June Book Launch


23 June 2020

Chief Historian of State Sponsored  Genocide Center is Key Speaker at Events Glorifying June 23rd; Evening Event under Banner of Two Holocaust Collaborators

Defending History was there to monitor the events. Julius Norwilla’s photo gallery.

Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, chief historian at the state-sponsored Genocide Center in Vilnius and long-time member of the state-sponsored “International Historical Commission” proudly appears under the banner of two heinous Holocaust collaborators, J.  Noreika and K. Škirpa, at an event glorifying the day, 23 June 1941, that murder and mayhem broke out against the country’s defenseless Jewish citizens.

Škirpa with Hitler in Berlin

23 June 2020

Remembering June 23rd 1941: Why Would Anyone in the EU Want to Celebrate the Outbreak of the Baltic Holocaust under Guise of “Rebellion”?

Outbreak of mass murder, injury, pillage and humiliation of  defenseless Jewish neighbors by  the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) and others before arrival of first Nazi forces. Soviet forces were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa — not the local Hitler allies. The real heroes of the day are Lithuanians (and Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians and others) who risked everything to just do the right thing and save a neighbor from these Hitlerist organizations…

Defending History’s section on June 23rd events & issues in previous years. Background on the history. New English edition of Leyb Koniuchowsky’s compendium of testimonies now available online.

Online town hall on European Holocaust Denial is organized in the US. All welcome

Here in Vilnius: Lithuanian parliament (Seimas) schedules 10:30 AM (Vilnius time) press conference. Fears rising that this will be yet another effort to glorify June 23rd and the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust at the hands of the LAF, provisional gov. and assorted other local Hitler allies. Speakers include members of Seimas, Genocide Center and Red-Brown Commission…

Far Right Will Honor Nazi Collaborators on 23rd at 6 PM in central Vilnius. Defending History will be there to monitor the event

Late Spring 2020

Who’s Gonna Welcome Folks to a Convention Center in the Middle of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery?

Dramatic Developments for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, Still Slated to Become Vilnius Convention Center

Petition by Ruta Bloshtein, Vilnius native and resident, reaches 51,000 signatures. Defending History reports. Bloshtein’s articles.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo receives multifaith plea from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim leaders and key human rights organizations.

Two new websites launched: Save Vilna (US and Israel) and Respect the Cemetery (Vilnius); Both efforts entail Christian-Jewish (& Lithuanian-Litvak) alliance. Vilnius project announces 14 June public event. Latest report by Andrius Kulikauskas.

Elected chairman of Vilnius Jewish Community, representing vast majority of Lithuania’s Jews, reaffirms VJC’s firm opposition to desecration of the cemetery.

UCSJ joins the endeavor from Washington DC.

Defending History has been on the case for “five long years” and helped inspire international opposition to a convention center that would never be sited in an old cemetery of the majority religion population. See the latest.

TThe Latest


June-July 2020

Will the Lithuanian Defense Ministry add a “health warning” to its page glorifying a Nazi collaborator?

Lithuania’s Defense Ministry magazine glorifies Nazi collaborator and Holocaust cheerleader Kazys Škirpa on its front cover and in a massive article. See reactions from the Lithuanian Jewish Community and G. Gochin’s Times of Israel blog, and Defending HistorySEE OUR REPORT.

Incredibly, the Defense Ministry still flaunts the cover on its website (as PDF).

May 2020

Tale of the “Euronote Vilnius Cemetery”: See DH, JTA, AJ

Disturbing video produced by a national tourism agency

May Day in Vilnius: Three major tourism federations united to finance the covering of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery with empty chairs with symbolic 1000-euro notes pasted on (directly above extant graves), symbolizing the economic loss from not rushing ahead with a convention center in the middle of the cemetery.  The 500 year old cemetery, where thousands of citizens of Vilnius lie buried is not mentioned.

Real or photoshopped?


Solidarity with Minorities in Time of Pandemic?

Some use period for further glorification of Holocaust collaborators; Some tout postcrisis economic renewal from  “Convention Center in the Cemetery” Project in Vilnius

Former foreign minister calls on present FM to renounce views and support state glorification of brutal Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika (after supreme administrative court confirmed during national lockdown the “hero status” of the same collaborator). 

Also: Defense Ministry still adds no disclaimer to its page glorifying Nazi collaborator.


“You can’t make this up”: Major economist headlines construction sector revival via Jewish cemetery’s desecration as panacea for Covid-19 doldrums. Then, major national tourism units unite to place a thousand chairs with symbolic euro-notes on top of Vilnius Jewish graves.

Judith Leister reports in Neue Zürcher ZeitungJulius Norwilla in DH.


For news in Lithuanian, see VieningaLietuva.com


March 2020


VILNIUS + KAUNAS ON 16 FEB: DH eyewitness report on 16 February march in Vilnius. Organizers again targeted DH staff; 16 Feb in central Kaunas.

VILNIUS 11 MARCH: DH’s report on the run-up.  DH’s eyewitness report of the event.

RIGA 16 MARCH:  West silent as central Riga again gifted for worship of Latvia’s wrtime Waffen SS on Monday March 16th;  Coronavirus ban on rallies results in individuals laying wreaths for Waffen SS at city center’s Liberty Monument

February-March 2020

Linas Vildžiūnas, Lithuania’s Leading Humanist, For Decades Key Educator (and Truth Teller) about the Holocaust, Wins Donskis Award for Tolerance

16 February 2020

Defending History Alone Monitored Torchlit Vilnius Old Town Far-Right March that Glorified Nazi Collaborators J. Noreika and K. Škirpa

9 February 2020

Doyen of Litvak Rabbis Signs Impassioned Decree on Saving Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery from “Convention Center in the Cemetery” Project


Alexander Gendler: Khurbm: 1914-1922

Leyb Koniuchowsky & Jonathan Boyarin: The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews: Testimonies of 121 Survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania

Dan Rabinowitz: The Lost Library

Ruta Vanagaite & Efraim Zuroff: Our People: Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust

Ruta Vanagaite & Christoph Dieckmann: How Did It Happen? (Our People, Part II. Understanding the Holocaust in Lithuania)

January 2020

Far Right Again Granted Central Vilnius on Feb. 16 Independence Day

They plan to glorify Nazi collaborators ŠkirpaNoreika and Brazaitis

Scene from their 2018 march in the heart of Vilnius (featuring on front banner six Nazi collaborators)…

2018 march in central Vilnius. Photo © DefendingHistory.com

January 2020

European Foundation for Human Rights: Progress in Case for Equal Minority Rights for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

For the first time a member of the Lithuanian parliament challenges the wisdom of glorifying (and reconstructing) an ugly Soviet dump that was built on Jewish bones of the centuries. See  Kęstutis Masiulis’s new piece in the Lithuanian media. Also, progress in the Vilnius court case is reported in the media, citing comments from Prof. Josif Parasonis. In the report, Turto Bankas (the state’s “property bank”) falsifies history, claiming the unsightly Soviet ruin is outside the cemetery. In fact, the American Embassy confirmed years ago (see point  5) that it “The Sports Palace property indisputably rests in the middle” of the historic cemetery.

Don’t the people of Lithuania (and Europe) deserve a sparkling new and morally clean Vilnius convention center rather than a Soviet-era structure surrounded by five centuries of Jewish graves?

Clemens Heni in Times of Israel on recent Yad Vashem furore

Matt Rubenstein iThe Battleground EU“Changing the Historical Record” 

David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen on East European Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators

Julius Norwilla in Vilnius’s 7MD on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Clemens Heni in Times of Israel on dissident thinkers in Germany

Anna Shternshis in Canadian Jews News on Yivo Librarian Debacle (see also DH’s take; list of items approved by “In geveb”)

23 January 2020

VIDEO: Major Litvak Rabbis in Israel and American Christian Evangelist Meet with Lithuania’s Ambassador to Israel to Plea for Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery 

Late Jan. 2020 meeting follows “day of shame” in Vilnius in Dec. 2019, and “hateful libel” against Orthodox Vilnius Jewish woman (Jan. 2020) who launched the international petition; Prof. Shnayer Leiman’s response.

23 January 2020

JTA on Scandal Emanating from Lithuanian Parliamentarian Gumuliauskas’s Proposed Bill to “Fix” Holocaust History



13 January 2020

Defending History Joins Lithuania in Mourning the Fourteen Unarmed Pro-Independence Protesters Murdered by Soviet Forces on 13 Jan. 1991 

10 January 2020

from Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s post in BNS and Vakarų Ekspresas

LRT’s “Panorama” runs report on the Soviet sports palace building (timecode: 21:25—25:20), envisaging “hundreds of millions of euros” and “a bag of gold”

2 January 2020

Israeli and Polish Ambassadors to Ukraine Issue Joint Letter Protesting New State Glorification of Holocaust Perpetrators (T.O.I. report by Sam Sokol)

1 January 2020

Antanas Zubrys and Dr. Matilda Zubrienė: Defending History’s Persons of the Year (2020)

Antanas Zubrys and Matilda Zubrienė

A Lithuanian hero of the War of Independence in 1920, one hundred years ago, who went on in 1941, with his wife, to risk their lives and their families and  just do the right thing and save innocent neighbors from the racial genocide underway and supported by their own nation’s “nationalist leaders”… “Someone has to honor Lithuania’s real World War II heroes.” See background on current practice by some East European governments to honor Nazi collaborators (e.g. Lithuanian parliament’s 2018 decision; DH section). See DH’s Person of the Year awards for 201420152018, and 2019.

Updated Litvak One-Stop Shop for 2020

Year of 300th Birthday of the Gaon of Vilna: novel critical approach of Andrius Kulikauskas’s brand new website on calendar of events. Our editor’s papers & articles.

“7 Kingdoms of the Litvaks” is free online

19 December 2019

A “Day of Shame” in Post-Holocaust East European Jewish History?

The upshot? The state owned property bank claims “Jewish support” for “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” via the alleged collusion of some London rabbis from the “CPJCE” and the head of the government sponsored Jewish community… But what about the opinion of all the others?

December 2019

Lithuania, a Genuine, Robust Democracy, Continues to Struggle with Free Speech when it Comes to the Holocaust

See Efraim Zuroff in the Jerusalem PostArkadijus Vinokuras in Times of IsraelInstances from the past decade monitored by DH; Section on free speech and democracy. Dovid Katz’s new paper on the (ab)use of law to “fix history” in the Baltics.

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas founds major new initiative dedicated to Lithuanian-Jewish friendship and sense of common purpose for future of the Grand Duchy heritage by way of open, free and respectful dialogue and inspiring new projects

Program of 16 Dec. Bar Ilan Univeristy conference on Zuroff-Vanagaite book on the Lithuanian Holocaust; Conference report & photos

Nov.-Dec. 2019

Litvak World Shocked by New “Year of Gaon” 10 Euro Coin that Plonks a Symbol Beloved of Far Right onto a Mutilated Jewish Menorah

Defending History has followed the saga for three years

Ruta Bloshtein in Lithuanian in 7md (6 Dec.2019) [PDF of print edition]

Vilnius’s Jewish satirist Motke Chabad shares his own perspective

Ruta Bloshtein (2 Dec.) and Ben Cohen (28 Nov.) in the Algemeiner Journal

Dovid Katz (15 Nov. and 22 Nov.) and Ruta Bloshtein (26 Nov.) in DH

Grant Gochin in The Times of Israel on other painful issues evoked by “Year of Gaon” plans (also on LJC website); See DH’s Seven Simple Solutions on Lithuanian-Jewish issues

More coverage by Algemeiner JournalArutz ShevaEnlace JudíoHaaretzIsrael National NewsJewish ChronicleJTAYNetYNetEspanol, Times of Israel (ToI French edition)

Is it perhaps an opportune moment for the government to abandon plans for a convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, where hundreds of the Gaon’s ancestors and descendants still lie buried? International petition continues to grow.

Autumn 2019

AP on Streets Newly Named in Kiev for Nazi Collaborators

Clemens Heni in Portal for Political Science

Justin Ward in Medium on History Revisionism in Hungary

Andrius Kulikauskas in Bernardinai on Vilnius Jewish Cemetery Saga; Chief Rabbi of South Africa Weighs In; But NY Yivo stages PR event for government’s positions only

Aleksandr Kuzmin in DH on Latvian Defense Minister’s Glorification of Waffen-SS; Jewish Voice on History of Latvian Holocaust

Cnaan Liphshiz in Times of Israel (French) on Holocaust Museums 

George N. Tzogopoulos at Begin-Sadat Center on Israel’s Role; See DH’s Israel Page

23 Sept. 2019

International Coverage of Vilnius’s Day of Prayer, Plea & Protest for the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s keynote address; Report (+ photo gallery) in Lithuania’s 15min.ltLRT evening news (from timecode 4:56). European Foundation for Human Rights

Letter from South Africa’s chief rabbi to Lithuania’s president

London CPJCE “Jewish grave traders” are called to face charges at the Jerusalem rabbinical court. In London, a “Serious Incident” report is filed with the United Kingdom’s Charity Commission. Background on CPJCE’s Vilnius outrage. The video.

Canadian Govt. Officials “Duped” into Participating in Honors for Ukraine’s OUN / UPA Hitler Collaborators

Reports in National Post and Ottawa Citizen

Defending History’s Take: “Canada, a bastion of enlightened liberalism in today’s world, has blundered into a moral mouse-trap. Hopefully its highest leaders will now rapidly correct the error and join all those around the world who condemn the Nazis and their collaborators’ rampages of ethnic-based mass murder and genocide in World War II era Eastern Europe.”

23 September 2019

Monday September 23 in Vilnius

Day of Prayer and Respectful Challenge to Spare Old Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės) from Plans to Site a Convention Center in its Heart

Sign Ruta Bloshtein’s Petition       See the International Support       DH Section

Sept. 2019

A Decade of Defending History

Defending History marks its 10th anniversary in Sept. 2019

9 years ago7 years ago.  5 years ago3 years ago.

Come and browse old issues; first post; mission statement; Samples of coverage over the years by Ricky Ben-David in the Jerusalem Post; Arne Bengtsson in Baltic World; Daniel Brook in Slate; Bernard Dichek in Jerusalem Report; Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian; Avi Friedman in Mishpacha; Cindy Mindell in the Jewish Ledger; Rod Nordland in the New York Times; Wendy Robbins on BBC World Service. 

Documentary films: Danny Ben-Moshe’s Rewriting History; Richard Bloom’s Defending Holocaust History


9 Sept. 2019

Vilnius is Shamed by Brand New Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Holocaust Collaborator

Calls for government to rapidly “do the right thing: take it down”

Thursday 5 September:  Crowd glorifying Holocaust collaborator screams “Noreika” as new plaque is affixed on public space in central Vilnius. Photo: J. Stecevičius/LRT

Reports in Delfi.lt;   Lrt.lt;   15min.lt

Vilnius mayor calls plaque “illegal”Faina Kukliansky issues powerful statement of protestBNS; Baltic Times reports that sciences library is quite happy with its new plaque; JTA report

So far, a wall of public  silence from the “Yiddish-loving culture minister“, from  Yivo, and from the Western and Israeli embassies in Lithuania

Defending History’s take: “A very sad day for Lithuania and its proud ages-old  tradition of Grand Duchy tolerance and its current record as a successful democracy. Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaque honoring Noreika, seven years after Evaldas Balciunas brought the issue to the English speaking world, and one month after Vilnius’s bold mayor boldly had the plaque removed, a mob of antisemites who celebrate the Holocaust’s perpetrators have put up an even shinier plaque, rapidly declared to be illegal by the mayor. The text of the new plaque is rather worse from the viewpoint of historic honesty, by referring to Noreika’s imprisonment by the Nazis at one point (the phenomenon of “Holocaust envy”), as if that makes a hero of a brutal Holocaust collaborator. Lithuania’s great people deserve better! Hopefully, the nation’s highest powers will remove the plaque without further delay, in the name of the rule of law, the nation’s standing, and basic human decency. See DH’s sections on:  J. NoreikaCollaborators Glorified; the 2019 midsummer events that presaged the latest events.  

August 2019

Bravo to Hizzoner Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius

Sam Sokol in JTA

Jillian Deutsch in Politico

Deutsche Welle

Vilna Jewish Cemetery Petition Hits 46,000 Mark

Lithuanian Jewish Community Reports on State Investigation of “Red-Brown Commission” Chief (background; video)

Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s “enormous courage” in challenging “perpetrator whitewashing” by nationalist icon V. Landsbergis

Prof. Pinchos Fridberg  ©DefendingHistory.com

See Pinchos Fridberg section; DH’s 2012 take on LandsbergisMeanwhile, controversial official head of gov. sponsored Jewish community, eminent attorney Ms. Faina Kukliansky, wins acclaim for (finally) standing up to Landsbergis, after he used crude anti-Jewish ethnic slur on FB; Baltic Times features a rude reply with no pretense of evenhanded journalism. EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis speaks out (see DH’s Andriukaitis section, and his classic statements on the Seventy Years Declaration and the reburial of wartime Nazi puppet prime minister in 2012).

Polish government glorifies unit that fought for the Nazis

Prominent Vilnius historian publishes article in mainstream media complaining that too many “foreign Jews” have been included in the state-sponsored history commission

9 Aug. 2019

Ten years after Defending History published images of the plaques. Seven years after DH’s Evaldias Balčiūnas brought the case of J. Noreika to the English speaking world. Four years after Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas‘s classic DH essay on K. Škirpa: 

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Leads City Council Decision to Rename “Škirpa Street” and Personally Orders Removal of Noreika Plaque in 4 AM Raid

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community Closes Premises and Synagogue on  6-8 Aug. in View of Threats, Citing Conservative Party’s Ongoing Campaign to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators

At Aug. 7 central Vilnius rally in support of continued glorification of Holocaust collaborators. Sign at left: “Stop Judaeophile vandalism”. Poster at right asks if it is still Lithuania or already the Northern Jerusalem…


Statement issued by Vilnius Jewish Community;  JTA reports of 6. Aug; 7 Aug; 8 Aug (+TOI); LJC’s circulated reply to VJC

Baltic Times gives big-time coverage to Landsbergis’s attack on official Jewish community leader Kukliansky. Will they provide equal space for the community’s response?

Aug. 7 rally demanded restoration of public space plaques and street names that glorify Holocaust collaborators held at Mindaugas Monument; Baltic Times’s “shamefully one-sided” report in far right spirit of trivializing glorification of Holocaust perpetrators


Poster advertising Aug. 7th rally blasts mayor who took action against glorification of collaborators, shows Jewish and gay pride symbols as the culprits

Photoshopped version of painting by F. Reshetnikov depicts several boys observing what seems like a Jewish-LGBT event from around the corner. Text at top reads “Škirpa and Vėtra [Noreika] are heroes of Lithuania”. The lower text depicts a rooster (“gaidys” in Lithuanian, used as a homophobic slur) and is labeled “Šimašius”, i.e., the current Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius who recently led efforts to remove public glorification of two Holocaust collaborators.  Text at bottom: “Let’s defend the heroes of Lithuania! Rally under the Mayor’s windows, by the monument of King Mindaugas. August 7 (Wed.), from 18:00 to 19:30.”

Question: Will the Roskies & Fishman “Yiddish PR conference” financed to deflect attention from the painful issues, publish a morally clear statement of protest (and support for the Jewish community)? Do conference participants appreciate concerns they are being used as “useful Jewish idiots” (UJIs) in the wider effort to rewrite Holocaust history and cover for blatant antisemitism?

Are they aware of the systematic exclusion from their conference of all the local Jewish scholars in this field who have expressed disagreement with the glorification of Holocaust collaborators (including Holocaust survivors who have written about Jewish Vilna)? Will they consider signing Ruta Bloshtein’s petition on the old Vilna Jewish cemetery?

BACKGROUND: See DH sections on collaborators glorifiedNoreika saga; Ramanauskas saga; seven Lithuanian-Jewish issues that could be easily resolved; academic background. the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD). signed by 71 European parliamentarians including eight valiant Lithuanian MPs and MEPs.

1 August 2019

“It Pays to Defend History”

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius Orders Removal of Memorial Plaque for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

According to reports, city’s removal squad came 4 AM on 27 July; see now: the nationalist backlash (2); new president falls back on “more discussions needed” ignoring years of such discussions.  JTA report. Vilnius prosecutors considering challenges to mayor’s action. Vilnius’s Prof. Pinchos Fridberg takes the battle  over glorifying Hitler collaborators right to Vytautas Landsbergis. Meanwhile, Conservative Party’s Landsbergis Jr. hits back and official Jewish community exposes antisemitic slur on his FB page.

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius

A seven year saga since Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas brought the Noreika case to the English speaking world in 2012

Lithuanian author & ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas

For years Mr. Balčiūnas was hounded by police, prosecutors and kangaroo hearings (scroll down to May 2014)

Over the years, Defending History’s campaign won support from the Simon Wiesenthal Center; the Rambam Mesivta High School that staged a peaceful demonstration at Lithuania’s consulate in New York; Noreika’s granddaughter, American author Silvia Foti; and Californian Litvak scion Grant Gochin, who took Vilnius’s “Genocide Center” to court. The GC’s public statement revealed its true view on the Holocaust. Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas is curator of online Captain Noreika Museum.

Follow the mayor’s impressive personal trajectory on these issues over the years

Marble Noreika stone continues to mar capital’s central boulevard


The mayor will hopefully soon speak out on fate of Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, slated to become a convention center, that would damage Vilnius’s brand for generations  to come. Vilnius native Ruta Bloshtein’s petition now has over 46,000 signatures from every part of the world.

24 July 2019

Vilnius City Council Finally Decides to Change Name of Škirpa Street

Vote is  20 to 16

Defending History brought the issue to the international community in 2010

See Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas’s classic 2015 Defending History paper on Škirpa; Vilnius City Council efforts by Mark Harold

Report by JTA

Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Ruta Kaplinskaya concerned by report that new street name will be accompanied by new plaque glorifying Škirpa yet again

Škirpa is in the middle (Berlin, 1941)

Changing toxic street names that glorify Hitler collaborators is high on the list of the very easy things Lithuania needs to do to achieve justice on the irksome history issues that will just not go away. See DH’s seven solutions compiled with the help of the late Dr. Shimon Alperovich.

But what about Škirpa Street in Kaunas, which is slated to be “Capital of European Culture” in 2022?

July 2019

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court Affirms “Red Equals Brown” Law

Radio Free Europe (Radio Liberty) report fails to inform readers of the Double Genocide issues and abuse of history to further far-right Holocaust revisionism that includes glorification of Holocaust collaborators






June-July 2019

More Lithuanian Government Glories & Medals for “Useful Jewish Enablers” of Baltic Holocaust Revisionism

June 2019

California Resident Grant Gochin Appeals Vilnius Court Ruling that Whitewashed Notorious Holocaust Collaborator Jonas Noreika

IHRA weighs inMore reaction.  For first time (?), Lithuanian TV presents both sides.

The Question: Will an EU/NATO democracy continue to sink government funds into  glorification of Holocaust collaborators? Don’t the Lithuanian people have higher values and causes into which to invest their hard-earned taxpayer money?


23 June 2019

Kaunas (Slated to be 2022 “Capital of European Culture”)  Hosts Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23 “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

In Vilnius, the parliament (Seimas) hosts a one-sided conference on the LAF (Lithuanian Ativist Front) Hitlerist militias that unleashed violence on Jewish neighbors before German forces even arrived.

Meanwhile, a naive article in National Review accepts the distorted history of Vilnius’s “Genocide Museum” (see our critique of the museum), that calls the Hitlerist  “Lithuanian Activist Front” (LAF)’s outbreak of violence against Jewish neighbors a  rebellion against the Soviets. The brutal Soviet occupation forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion (the largest in human history), not the LAF Jew-killers.

These killers didn’t fire a single shot against the Soviets when they were in power. You can’t “rebel” against someone who is in panic running away from someone else. . . The Holocaust is being rewritten by the East European far right (in part to make heroes out of the Eastern European collaborators) even as leaders of major Jewish organization in the US and elsewhere remain silent.

16 June 2019

The Good Old Pattern Continues in Biržai (Birzh), Northern Lithuania:

A magnificent new memorial to thousands of Holocaust victims at the mass grave in the forest.

Honors, medals and photo-ops for the foreign donors and enablers.

The official museum in the city center continues to honor Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators as “national heroes”, an issue not mentioned at any of the public events.

June 2019

State Glorification for Chaplain of a Holocaust-era Mass Murder Unit;  Simon Wiesenthal Center Speaks Out


Chone Leibovich of Vilnius Jewish Community appeals to National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (scroll down for English)

May-June 2019

A Sad Story for Chicago and Lithuania

that is ‘not going away’

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

In Vilnius, Defending History staff get more death threats

First monument on American soil glorifying a wartime Nazi collaborator who is also a prime icon for his country’s neo-Nazis today was inaugurated last month (May 4) in the presence of the visiting Lithuanian foreign minister

LATEST MEDIA: Algemeiner; BBC; GrayzoneIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph. And—Defending History’s take.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared. For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).




Beyond the debates over Ramanauskas’s role in the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust, he is today  a major icon for Neo-Nazi parades and events.

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

Latest far-right death threats  against DH editor appear on Facebook (as PDF; transl.). They were apparently instigated by the  neo-Nazis’ top blogger in Lithuania, “Zeppelinus”  (PDF; part transl.) who is said to work in the Ministry of the Economy. These threats came in response to DH’s opinion that Lithuania’s interests are not best served by a monument in Chicago to an alleged Holocaust collaborator who is also a prime icon for today’s neo-Nazi parades here. Samples of Zeppelinus’s racist, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic output of hate. Some of his earlier “artwork” on DH editor. 

This monument, honoring Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), who boasted in his memoirs of leading an LAF unit of fascist Hiterlist militia during the first weeks of the Holocaust (June-July 1941) in southeastern Lithuania, was overwhelmingly rejected for placement on public land by New Britian, Connecticut one year ago.  But on Saturday, 4 May  it was inaugurated by Lithuania’s foreign minister on the private property of the Lithuanian World Center in Chicago, Illinois. The English news release casually omits the reference to the Holocaust  issues cited in the original BNS Lithuanian report

On the legacy of Ramanauskas, see Evaldas Balčiūnas (in 20142017 and 2019); Efraim Zuroff and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Dovid Katz. Defending History documented the entire 2017-2018 New Britain, Conn. saga. Sampling of survivor testimony on “what it was that the LAF was doing” in the last week of June 1941.  SEE DEFENDING HISTORY’S SECTION ON ADOLFAS RAMANAUSKAS.

Defending History’s take: “The people of Chicago, and its proud Lithuanian and Litvak communities, should not have foisted on them a monument glorifying an alleged Holocaust collaborator who led a Hitlerist militia in the early days of the Holocaust, a monument that was overwhelmingly rejected by the New Britain, Connecticut city council one year ago. And, most certainly not without a free, public and transparent process of dialogue and consultation including Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as scholars and institutions representing a diversity of opinions. A one-year moratorium is called for to enable such a process to proceed with dignity.”

3 May 2019

Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika in Lithuania




28 April 2019



As addendum to EFHR’s  case filed; international opposition; petition reaching 46,000 mark

Recent coverage in the Algemeiner Journal; English Delfi.lt (Lithuania Tribune); Jerusalem Post;


Protest letter from Julius Norwilla, chairman of the Vilnius Committee for Preservation of Piramont (Snipiskes) Cemetery to the Director of the Čiurlionis House and Museum


Thousands (in groups of 25) were misinformed by guides’  prepared text assurance that convention center is with permission of “European Jewish Community in 2016” (!). Soviet kitsch was praised effusively in latest ruse to turn hated Soviet dump into “a national treasure”. Rabbi S. J. Feffer confronts one of the groups with a heartfelt speech of protest informing visitors of the “wanton theft of our forefathers’ graves” and blessing those who will help stop the travesty from moving forward.


Meanwhile in London, a Serious Incident Report has been filed with the UK’s national Charity Commission requesting an investigation of the role of the CPJCE in the destruction of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery.

Unique study in body language: “blockbuster video” of London CPJCE staff allegedly morally selling other people’s graves against the rulings of all the rabbis of Vilnius and of the planet.  In fact, when the then chief rabbi of Lithuania, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, spoke up in 2015, he was fired for expressing his views. Views of Rabbi S.J. Feffer (leading Litvak religious authority in the country) and Rabbi S.B. Krinsky (official rabbi of the synagogue / Chabad Lithuania).

The Wikileaks cable that just will not go away (jump to end of point 8)

Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approaches 46,000

Overviews by  Shnayer Leiman, Juris KažaMichael Maass, Dovid Katz, and Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Pinchos Fridberg; Statements by elected head of Vilnius Jewish Community Simon Gurevich


24 April 2019

Granddaughter of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika, the American author and educator Silvia Foti launches a bold international petition calling on Lithuania’s gov. to stop glorifying him.



23 April 2019

“The rights of minority cemeteries are human rights”

Legal Action Underway on Attempts to Pilfer Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery for National Convention Center




8 April 2019

Vilnius Plaque Glorifying Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika is Smashed by Maverick Candidate for the European Parliament, Attorney Stanislavas Tomas

All on film, streamed live Monday morning 8 April 2019, from candidate’s bilingual statements through to his calling the police and their eventual arrival to make the arrest


(plaque smashing at 14:30; English segments at 04:10; 22:40)

Defending History’s comment:

“We unequivocally condemn violent acts against any property. Plaques can and will be replaced, and acts of property violence are totally illegal, inherently unethical, and utterly counterproductive to the noble cause of ridding Europe of glorification of Nazism. There needs to be dignified, peaceful and lawful civic and international pressure for the removal of all state-sponsored, public-space glorification of Holocaust collaborators, not least in Lithuania where some 96% of the Jewish population was massacred with massive local collaboration and participation. The real heroes are the amazing Lithuanians who risked everything in 1941 to just save a neighbor and we pray for the day when plaques and streets for them will abound across the land. See our own Person of the Year for 2018 and 2019.”

On Jonas Noreika’s Holocaust activities, see Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas

Samples of other monuments and street names glorifying Holocaust collaborators.  DH section on glorification of collaborators. The major Noreika monument in Vilnius is actually the engraved marble stone on the city’s central Gedimino Boulevard outside the Genocide Museum:

8 April 2019

Andrius Kulikauskas calls on Lithuanian Parliament to Stand Up to State-Sponsored Genocide Center’s Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators

Dovid Katz interviewed by Stan Tomas (video)

World Jewish Congress Replies to Vilnius Genocide Center; Stops Short of Mentioning Government’s Financing of Street Names and Honors for Holocaust Perpetrators; Official Jewish Community Breaks Long Silence on GC’s Antisemitism

3 April 2019

Eyewitness Report: A Verdict is Read in a Vilnius Court

Case was over the state’s glorification of a cruel Holocaust collaborator and purveyor of racial hate. First time a court in an EU/NATO country ruled in favor of the government glorifying Holocaust collaborators with street names and majestic public plaques, reducing the Holocaust to a detail not worthy of interfering with its perpetrators’ “heroism”…

Verdict came down on 27 March. Since then: utter silence from the US, UK and Israeli embassies in Vilnius, and from the “Red-Brown” Commission (which has affiliations with the Genocide Center) and its foreign members representing Yivo and the American Jewish Committee. But on April 3rd, the World Jewish Congress issued a major statement, to some extent avoiding the current issue of state glorification of Holocaust perpetrators via street names and plaques.

At 1 PM on Wed. March 27th, a Vilnius Administrative Court judge read out the court’s ruling dismissing the query of US resident Grant Gochin over Lithuania’s state glorification of Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, active during the Holocaust in the region where Gochin lost around 100 relatives. The court said Mr. Gochin had no material interest, ruled that the state-sponsored Genocide Center had answered his query completely, without bias, and without abuse of power, in effect further enshrining in law an EU/NATO state’s glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators via the financing of ultranationalist and far-right history centers and departments determined to preserve the national hero status of Holocaust collaborators. Whenever government or municipal officials are asked about the numerous street names and plaques honoring collaborators, the invariable answer is that it is all in fact a matter for the experts at the Genocide Center.

Mr. Gochin’s academic specialist, Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas was on hand along with attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. Of the Genocide Center’s staff, only historian Dr. Arūnas Bubnys turned up, sitting in the small gallery surrounded in part by first and second generation Holocaust survivors who turned out to hear the verdict that the Western embassies, human rights organization and official (state-sponsored) Jewish community thought not worth sending an official representative to hear. By contrast the local Vilnius Jewish Community had two observers on hand.

UPDATES: Genocide Center releases statement; official Jewish community issues reply.

JTA report is picked up by some Israeli papers but not one major American media outlet, general or Jewish… Why is that?

A moment before the courtroom clock strikes 1 PM: Genocide Center’s chief historian Dr. Arūnas Bubnys (front row third from right) was the only GC official to come and hear the verdict.



26 March 2019

Vilnius Court’s Verdict Awaited on Wednesday March 27th

Public welcome at the reading of the verdict at 1 PM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, Žygimantų 2 in the city center

Will a court in an EU/NATO country uphold a far-right Holocaust-obfuscating institution’s decision to make a national hero of a documented Holocaust collaborator?

See: Background. Report on 15 Jan. Report on 5 March.

Meanwhile, Bizarre Decision from EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is in Spirit of Far Right’s “Double Genocide” Revisionism

“The New Holocaust Denial is based on a postmodernist mush that confounds victims and perpetrators and tries to write the Holocaust out of history (without denying a single death) via an array of ruses emanating from Eastern Europe’s ultranationalist New Far Right.”


DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

25 March 2019

Michael Mostyn in the Toronto Sun

Reports on pro-Nazi marches in Vilnius and Riga; Canada condemns Riga’s Waffen SS celebration

English original of part of Lithuanian TV’s interview with Dovid Katz

20 March 2019

Vilnius Jewish Community Invites People of All Backgrounds to Purim Celebration with Traditional Reading of the Book of Esther

Wednesday evening, 20 March, at 7 PM, at the Vilnius Jewish Community & Jewish Cultural and Information Center at Mesiniu 3 in Vilnius Old Town

VJC’s additional family event features the traditional costume party competition on Thursday evening 21st

Just for Litvaks: Translation of the Book of Esther into Lithuanian Yiddish

16 March 2019


DPA;  HaaretzJerusaem Post;  Jüdisches Forum (video)Times of Israel

Detail from the day

Petition against annual event approaches 7,000 signatures

Background: Monica Lowenberg’s blog; DH coverage of previous years’ marches; Lowenberg’s articles in DH; Latvia section. Can people peacefully protest this march? A disturbing court ruling 

Latvian participant in last month’s torchlight march in Vilnius on 16 Feb.

13 March 2019

More Double Dealing by US Taxpayer Supported “Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA)?

Is it Washington DC’s most corrupt federal agency?

Are they really in cahoots with the allegedly corrupt bodies (CPJCE in London, “Admas Kodesh” or “AK” in NY) who gave “permission” for a convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery against the views of all other rabbis and ethicists? The NY branch (AK) has published crude personal invective against scholars who hold other opinions, including Prof. Bernard Fryshman (who has now taken USCPAHA to the courts).

VIDEO: Herbert Block’s formal new presentation to a major rabbi cites only USCPAHA’s partnership with these two bodies. No mention of the international petition (which he himself signed…) or the vast international opposition.

Tale of two videos: The CPJCE with the prime minister of Lithuania, and USCPAHA’s Herbert Block explaining his commission’s work to the rabbi in Israel . . . See also earlier Admas Kodesh photo gallery of USCPAHA “reporting to Satmar Rebba in Monroe”… (Note: Leader of the opposing Satmar dynasty has himself condemned the convention center project in Vilnius).


The basic story (DH’s section). International opposition to date. The USCPAHA. The CPJCE.

8 March 2019

After ‘Hearing Both Sides’ at Trial of March  5th, Vilnius Court Sets Verdict for 27th

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, moments before his historic address before the Vilnius court on state-funded Genocide Center’s policy of glorifying Holocaust collaborators. The center’s “decisions” are cited by high officials as “justification” for street names, university hall plaques and other public-space state-funded glorifications of Holocaust collaborators. Around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry was massacred in the Holocaust.

Defending History was there. Our take:

Andrius Kulikauskas will go down in history not only as the hero of the day but as the true patriot of Lithuania whose love for his country is not infected by Holocaust obfuscation and the glorification of Holocaust perpetrators but by a pursuit of simple historic truth. By contrast, the Genocide Center’s shameful performance illustrated, as ever, why the government should not be using taxpayer or EU funds for a far-right ultranationalist Holocaust-obfuscating entity that disparages the freedom of Lithuanian citizens to have diverse opinions (by dictating fake history as per the Soviet playbook) and continues to damage Lithuania’s name in the world (East European democracies need state glorification of Holocaust collaborators like a hole in the head).

Evaldas Balčiūnas, whose 2012 article brought the case to international attention, was in attendance. Icing on the cake was the Genocide Center’s demand that the videographer leave at the outset. So much for government sponsorship of an open and transparent operation. There were close to 20 observers, mostly Vilnius Jewish personalities there in an individual capacity, including Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, who figured in a New York Times article on the subject last September. Elected Vilnius Jewish Community head Simon Gurevich, committed elsewhere, nevertheless made two brief appearances to show moral support for those who stand up to glorification of collaborators and to the community members in attendance. The VJC hosted Dr. Kulikauskas on Jan 14th.

“It had the air of a 21st century Lithuanian version of America’s Scopes Monkey Trial.”

Eyewitness reports and opinions by Evaldas Balčiūnas and Gershon Taic (Geršonas Taicas)

Finally, reports began to appear in mainstream Lithuanian media: BNS/Diena.lt; LRTDelfi; Alkas.lt; Arkadijus Vinokuras in Delfi.lt. Official information on the court’s website.

Background: Run-up to eve of the trial

California Financial Planner Takes Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” to Court on March 5th for Enabling Gov. Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

   Proceedings are open to the public (Tuesday March 5th, 10 AM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in central Vilnius). Media to date includes the BBC World ServiceChicago TribuneJTA. The plaintiff is California wealth advisor Grant Arthur Gochin whose family lost around 100 relatives in the Holocaust in the area where Noreika operated. He will be represented in Vilnius by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, author of the Query that launched the case. He has a compelling letter of support from Noreika’s granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti. See Ms. Foti’s remarkable 2018 essay in Salon, and the recent takes by Grant Gochin, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Efraim Zuroff.

  The case of J. Noreika was brought to the English speaking world in 2012 by journalist and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuania, as part of a series of articles asking why his government honors alleged Holocaust collaborators. He was “rewarded” with years of prosecutorial and police harassment and kangaroo trials. Please scroll down to May 2014 in DH’s Balčiūnas section. In some opinions, Lithuania is a totally free-speech country with the marked exception of Holocaust history.



BACKGROUND: Collaborators glorified; street names and university lecture halls; the Genocide Center in Vilnius; the Genocide Museum; academic background to the “Double Genocide” movement for Holocaust revisionism

March 2019

Lev Golinkin in The Nation on Ukraine’s issues with adulation of fascism and Holocaust collaborators

David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen on Latvian and Ukrainian projects to revise history

Petition against Waffen SS March on March 16th in Riga; Background: Monica Lowenberg’s blog; DH coverage of previous years’ marches; Lowenberg’s articles in DH; Can people peacefully protest this march? A disturbing court ruling in 2017

Euronews report on far right’s march in central Tallinn, Estonia

Julius Norwilla attends meeting of Lithuania’s state property bank that plans convention center in heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius: LRT TV interviews Dovid Katz

20 February 2019


Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Legendary Jewish Partisan who Fought the Nazis in the Forests of Lithuania, Currently Major Yiddish Culture Educator, Will be Guest of Honor at Today’s Yiddish Reading Circle

Fania Brantsovsky (left) with the late Dr. Rokhl Margolis (1921-2015) in Vilnius in 2007


Photo gallery of the event


16 February 2019


“Once again, it becomes clear how Defending History is the true friend of Lithuania and other democratic states in the Eastern EU that need glorification of Holocaust collaborators like a hole in the head”

DH’s Vilnius monitors, observing the event for a decade, report on “significant progress”: For the first time in many years, the far-right February 16 march, though at times noxious (e.g. when a group reveled in a “Noreika plaque photo-op”), had no visible banners glorifying local Holocaust collaborators and no visible swastikas on flags, and no organized chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians). By contrast, a few Latvian visitors wore jackets emblazoned with “Waffen SS”. At its conclusion, two of the march’s organizers approached our team for a civil discussion which turned to the participation of “non-Catholic & non-ethnic Lithuanians” in the war of independence leading to the rise of the democratic interwar Lithuanian Republic on 16 Feb. 1918.

Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day

Are they celebrating the Holocaust and the massacre of Lithuanian Jewry?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series of local Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

Come and join Defending History’s monitoring team. Event scheduled to start Saturday 16 February 6 PM at Aušros Vartų. Facebook details; website.

See Defending History’s decade-long eyewitness coverage of far-right marches in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Riga.


A Short History Lesson:

All of interwar Lithuania’s 239 Jewish communities (massacred in 1941) cherished and celebrated February 16th with heart and soul. They were proud Lithuanian citizens. It was also their Independence Day. See the 2013 letter from the late Joe Melamed, longtime elected leader of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, and any of countless records and pictures. Here, a photo (with bilingual Hebrew and Lithuanian handwritten captions) of the Jews of Dorbyán (Darbėnai) celebrating February 16th 1928, the tenth anniversary of independence:

30 January 2019

AP Report on Netanyahu Government’s Alleged “Sale of Holocaust History” in Eastern Europe is carried by New York Times, Washington Post, & Israel’s Haaretz & YNet

See Israel Chronicle summary page; Israel section; Sam Sokol’s new paper.

Related: Matti Friedman’s New York Times op-ed on the politicization of Yad Vashem. Cf. Danny Ben-Moshe’s earlier op-ed in Jerusalem Report. See Defending History’s Yad Vashem section.

Highpoints of Israeli diplomacy on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe: Ambassador Chen Ivri Apter in 2009; Ambassador Joel Lion in 2018.

Lowpoint: Ambassador Amir Maimon in 2017 (his performance made it into the academic literature before he was even transferred to his next posting).

27 January 2019

Holocaust Remembrance Week 2019

In recent times, the greatest threat to Holocaust Remembrance Day is the Double Genocide Holocaust revisionist movement whose “constitution” is the 2008 Prague Declaration. Defending History is proud to have taken part in the Europarliamentary response, the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration. The relevance of all this to Holocaust Remembrance Day was made crystal clear nine years ago by Yehuda Bauer on the pages of the Jerusalem Post. See also the essay by Holocaust survivor and scholar, and former director of Yad Vashem, Dr. Yitzhak Arad,  in Defending History. Identity Films has just made available free online its 2012 documentary Rewriting History. Richard Bloom Productions has done the same for its 2013 film, Defending Holocaust History.

William Echikson’s new report on how European countries are treating their Holocaust history

Coverage of the report in Politico.eu; Grant Arthur Gochin’s blog in The Times of Israel.

26 January 2019

Vilma Fiokla Kiurė:

Why do Authorities Choose to Evict Roma in the Middle of the Baltic Winter?


24 January 2019

“The rights of minority cemeteries to be left in peace are human rights”

Two Visualizations of a Convention Center in the Middle of Vilna’s  Old Jewish Cemetery

I: Lithuania’s State Bank (“Turto Bankas”) triumphantly issues its latest visualization for a national convention center  in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, surrounded by thousands of Jewish graves. The huge new annex is “artfully” obscured (at the back).

2: Defending History issues its reply visualization. The people of Vilnius deserve a sparkling new convention center that will be a pride to all peoples everywhere, where they will be greeted by leaders of the arts, culture, music, politics, not by the tens of thousands of ghosts of the Jews of Vilna whose families purchased their burial plots in perpetuity. Join the 45,000 people who have signed Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition.


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Virus-Shmirus: Vilnius Yiddish Class Celebrates 20th Session (Safely via Skype)


Julius Norwilla (standing end of table) with his class of Elementary/Intermediate Yiddish at Vilnius’s Jewish Cultural and Information Center (JCIC) in the Old Town, under auspices of the Vilnius Jewish Community in March 2020. On 24 March, with a pandemic upending life in the Lithuanian capital (as everywhere), the students and teacher decided to continue online via skype and have not missed a week. Standing at left is Rima Kazlauskaite, administrator at JCIC.

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Vilnius-based Yiddish Projects in Need of Support & Partnership (2023-2024)



Contributions to these and other projects are now tax-deductible in the United States thanks to the Preserving Yiddish and Defending History non-profit organization established in 2020

(for future in-person programs, please see below)


Yiddish Cultural Dictionary: A New English-Yiddish Dictionary

See YCD’s progress to date, including around 25,000 entries and 500,000 words of Yiddish text. References from leading professors of Yiddish supplied on request.


LYVA: Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive

An online archive of raw, unedited videotapes of thirty years of expeditions to the Litvak lands to record the language, folklore nad memories of the last Litvaks in their historic land, in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, northeastern Poland and Eastern Ukraine.


Translation of the Bible into Lithuanian Yiddish

See Books Completed to 2022 for an update on progress. Only two hard-copy editions produced so far: the Book of Ruth (in 2017), and the Book of Esther (2020).


Online Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna

Descriptions in Yiddish (hopefully to be be made multilingual when support materializes). Index page is in English. There are 77 exhibits to date.


Online Yiddish Mini-Museum of Interwar Lithuania

Descriptions in Yiddish (hopefully to be made multilingual when support materializes). Index page is in English. There are 18 exhibits to date.


New Online Webinars, Courses and Learning Groups

It is important that any new online Yiddish language courses be calibrated specifically for Lithuanian or Russian (etc.) speakers, so as not to duplicate the international program available at the Workmen’s Circle (which offers full scholarships to serious participants from the countries of the former Soviet area). Of course there is, separately, wide scope for creative new projects using Yiddish per se, and for others using English and other Western languages that synthesize study of Yiddish culture and the Vilna and Lithuanian Jewish heritage, including virtual tours of Yiddish cultural history in Lithuania and beyond.



Note: These projects too can be reconceptualized digitally!



Elementary Yiddish: Weekly Class, Tuesdays 6 PM at JCIC

Founded by Julius Norvila (Norwilla) in autumn 2019, the weekly class for beginners has been the first in decades in Vilnius (outside summer programs) to attract also local Jewish as well as non-Jewish students. To date, the instructor has contributed his time and photocopy expenses gratis.


Weekly Yiddish Reading Circle and Advanced Course at JCIC

Founded by Dovid Katz in autumn 1999, this  project’s home for many years was the Jewish Cultural and Information Center on Mesiniu Street in Vilnius’s old town, Wednesdays term-time at 6  PM. Personal meetings were discontinued with the onset of pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Since then many participants have been offered scholarships to participate in the project’s de facto continuation online: the Workmen’s Circle regular Chaim Grade and Old Jewish Vilna Reading Circle. More information here.


Intensive International One-Week and Weekend Programs

A number of specific proposals, all entailing the goal of high-level Yiddish and East European Jewish cultural experiences guided by Yiddish specialist faculty, have been produced in recent months and years and provided to partnering organizations, and potential supporters. These are made available on request.


Revival of the Four-Week International Intensive Summer Program

The four-week summer course was founded at Oxford in 1982 by Dovid Katz, and moved to Vilnius in 1998, where it continued, under diverse auspices through 2018. The one-month model, entailing language instruction at four levels (elementary, intermediate, higher intermediate and advanced) proved highly successful and following an initial investment had for years proven itself self-sustaining both at Oxford and in Vilnius.  The program’s eventual revival will hopefully transpire free from interference from state “red-brown” commissions, genocide centers, Jew-free “Jewish” institutions with Holocaust revisionist aims, and their local satellites. Yiddish can and will flourish in a politics-free environment, where Jewish and non-Jewish participants feel equally at home, and with emphasis on academic, linguistic and educational quality, far from the politics of the time and place, least of all Holocaust revisionism in the spirit of the suave new antisemitic far right in Eastern Europe that works tirelessly to glorify local perpetrators, not seldom under cover of “Yiddish and Jewish projects.” The independence of the fragile field of Yiddish studies from politics is vital.

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Chelm or New York? Yivo Fires All its Librarians, While Investing “Fortune” in PR for Lithuanian Government’s “Jewish Politics”


by Dovid Katz

The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, founded here in 1925, in historic Vilna (then Wilno, Poland; in Yiddish forever Vílne) as the world’s premier Yiddish-in-Yiddish academic institute, has, to the consternation of many of its life-long supporters and participating scholars, in recent years been (temporarily, to be sure) “hijacked” to serve as the prime unit  (with the AJC a close second) for Jewish PR. Not “general” Jewish PR but specifically on behalf of certain circles in the Lithuanian government determined to revise Holocaust history (and “sell” the revisions to American Jews particularly), while covering for the use of major Jewish cemeteries for building projects, all the while projecting adulation of “Litvak and Yiddish culture.”

Two of the best-known protests from Holocaust survivors  in Vilnius came from Milan Chersonski, longtime editor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s quadrilingual newspaper, and Vilna-born physicist Professor Pinchos Fridberg. More pain was expressed in responses from the Leyzer Ran Family in New York, and the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel.

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Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University & its “Vilnius Yiddish Institute”



Its Prehistory (1990-1999), History (1999-2010) and Posthistory (2010-2018) from the Year of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence Onward


A “for the record” page in progress, developed in response to repeated public statements by the current director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, a member of the state-sponsored Commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes, claiming that Defending History’s editor (a) was never a professor at the university, (b) if he was an elementary Yiddish alphabet teacher paid by some surfers in California, he got fired for not turning up to work. Further documents are being processed for inclusion in the bizarre but curiously telling chapter of the history of Yiddish Studies in the 21st century. The political manipulation (ranging from West European far-left to East European far-right) of Yiddish-less “Yiddish” is a theme in the final chapter of Yiddish and Power (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) by the Yiddishist in question, Dovid Katz.

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Yiddish Loses Last Global Position as Symbolic “First Jewish Language” in Vilnius


by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For close to three decades, Vilnius has been the only city in the world with municipally sponsored public plaques and signs that regularly include Yiddish. Symbologically for a small, weak, stateless, threatened and “threat-to-nobody” language in this part of the world, it was an equally important statement of respect for the language, literature and culture of the murdered Jewish people of the city that Yiddish sometimes came first, “on top,” and always so when it was a question between Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew.

For the first time in thirty years, Yiddish has been denied primacy of place among the Jewish languages of the city. The new sign starts with an Israeli Hebrew version used by nobody in pre-Holocaust Vilna.

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In Reply to Summertime Yiddishists in Vilnius

VILNIUSThe following Facebook post, on the page of DH’s editor, issued today, is republished below. For context and a fuller picture, see DH’s recent report on the manipulation of Yiddish by the state’s commission reponsible for promoting the Double Genocide movement in the European Parliament and beyond.

Image may contain: shoes, text and one or more people

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Judaic (& Yiddish) Institutions in Vilnius, Lithuania (2024)

SEE ALSO: Genealogists & historical tour guides; Litvak resources; Lithuanian Yiddish Video Archive; Dovid Katz’s online resources, including mini-museums of Old Jewish Vilna & interwar LithuaniaSeven Kingdoms of the Litvaks; Windows to a Lost Jewish World


Center for Studies of the Culture and History of East European Jews

Universiteto 7, Vilnius 01122

Website;  Website 2

International Yiddish Center of the World Jewish Congress

Vienuolio 4-7, Vilnius 01104, Lithuania

with additional city center premises at Gedimino 24

Tel: +3705 208-0306;  Email: info@yiddishcenter.org;   Facebook;   Website

[EDITORIAL COMMENT: It is hoped the World Jewish Congress will disassociate this potentially historic initiative from the government-PR and in-principle Jewless “Vilnius Jewish Library” on Gedimino Boulevard. The Library, for years “legitimized” with pseudo-Jewish street-cred by a shiny plaque featuring “Yiddish” and “World Jewish Congress” has been dedicated largely  to manipulation of naive foreign visitors in the spirit of far-right nationalist Holocaust revisionism. Never once has the Library  invited for a seminar or talk any of the city’s Jewish scholars (or Yiddish specialists) who happen to disagree with state history revisionism featuring Double Genocide and covering for the glorification of local Holocaust collaborators; by contrast, operatives from the Genocide Center and Red-Brown Commission are featured as enlighteners of Jewish truth. Will the Commission ever apologize for its public support for criminal investigations of Holocaust survivors? Some local Jewish people feel the “International Yiddish Center” (afraid of the Library’s and other state “Jew-issue fixers”?) has perhaps in recent years been more dedicated to a “safe, easy and minimum common denominator” of Israeli and Russian-sphere funtime-in-Vilnius without establishing even a minimal infrastructure for the survival of the study of Yiddish language, literature and culture in Lithuania.

Nevertheless, the Yiddish Center has truly supported some genuinely worthy projects of which it can be proud. Hopefully, it will now strive to build on that and  rapidly evolve into a major bona fide provider of Yiddish education, resources and culture, within Lithuania, and indeed — internationally. Remembering that Yiddish is a language with a tragic history, fragile status and rich culture and literature. It is not a PR toy for far-right ultranationalist Baltic Holocaust revisionism which has long employed “Jewish manipulables” in the battle to fix a history that cannot be “fixed”. Surely, the World Jewish Congress has nothing to fear, least of all in the city that was once a world center of serious Yiddish culture, education and scholarship.  At the moment, the founder of such post-Soviet projects in Eastern Europe, the late Prof. Gershon Winer, might well be spinning in his grave…]

Jewish Cultural and Information Center

Mesiniu 3, Vilnius Old Town

Tel: + 3705 260-8718;   FacebookWebsite

Jewish Studies Center at the European Humanities University (EHU)

Savičiaus St. 17, Vilnius 01127


Judaica Research Center at the National Library of Lithuania (in partnership with the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, NY)

c/o Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Gedimino 51, Vilnius 01504

Tel: +3705 239-8699;   Facebook;  Website

Litvak World (/ Jerusalem of the North)

Jogailos 9 ,Vilnius 01116

FacebookWebsite;  Contacts

Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History

Naugarduko 10; Pamenkalnio 12; Pylimo 6; etc.

Note: In addition to its Naugarduko 10 main premises and exhibit, there are six additional sites to visit. See web page.

Facebook; Website

Vilnius Jewish Public Library

Gedimino 24 (courtyard), Vilnius

Facebook;  Website

Vilnius University’s History Faculty Chair in Judaic Studies

Faculty of History, Vilnius University, Universiteto 3, Vilnius 01513, Lithuania

Academia.edu; University’s faculty profile

Vilnius (and Brussels) Based Staff of the Museum of the Lost Shtetl

Staff specialists and contacts

Dominikonų  5, Vilnius 01131, Lithuania

Tel: +370 698 44091; Email: info@lostshtetl.com; Website

Vilnius Yiddish Institute

Daukantas Courtyard, Vilnius University, Universiteto 3, Vilnius 01513, Lithuania

[EDITORIAL COMMENT:  The Vilnius Yiddish Institute (VYI) was abruptly closed down by its director in 2019, nine years after he and government officials arranged for the dismissal of Yiddish-teaching staff (for having protested in articles in the West, in English language media, the state prosecutor’s targeting of Holocaust survivors). Term-time courses were abandoned, and projects developed instead to honor Jewish notables (from Brandeis Univ. and beyond) who supported revisionist state Holocaust policies (and received high state medals for these activities). But the lucrative summer course continued, via Indiana University’s Borns Jewish Studies Program, until 2018. The Vilnius Yiddish Institute website and its rich archive were taken down and replaced in 2019 by a weird and inadequate definition of Yiddish (archived), with zero explanation of what happened to the institute that thousands of people had given to over close to two decades. There is now widespread concern about the institute’s rich library and archive, donated by hundreds of generous donors over many years (including many rare volumes in Lithuanian Jewish studies, particularly primary sources on interwar Jewish Vilna) who believed they were giving to a permanent library that would be cherished in perpetuity by the recipient university institution in an EU/NATO capital city. Now one can only hope that these treasures will without delay be transferred to one of the functioning Judaica libraries in Vilnius, perhaps the National Library, where local and international readers alike can readily access these materials. Updates here. The entry remains on this page because of (a) the library wrongfully placed beyond use; (b) the “information” repeatedly given inquirers, in the classic spirit of “Soviet information” that the institute has been “deposited [‘deponuotas’] temporarily and is right now beyond use”… Transfer of the unique VYI library to an active and accessible library would solve things rapidly and gracefully, with no need for invoking a conflictual past.]


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Documents from a Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University



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A Kyrgyz-Kazakhstani Yiddish Twist? Was A. Mashkevich, Major Jewish Philanthropist, Manipulated by Lithuanian Operatives?

Alexander Mashkevich

Alexander Mashkevich

Sources in the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, themselves asking to remain anonymous, have leaked to select media contacts that the “secret donor” for the secretive new WJC/ORT Yiddish cultural center in Vilnius is none other than Kyrgyz born Alexander Mashkevich, a charismatic, brilliant, well-liked, and decidedly flamboyant “Russian Jewish oligarch” who is mostly associated with Kazakhstan.

Mr. Mashkevich holds a doctorate in linguistics, is descended from Lithuanian Jews, and is known for his generosity to numerous charities and his leadership in the Russian-speaking Jewish world. He is a former president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. The WJC and ORT sources supplying the information claim to be worried on his behalf about manipulation by the Lithuanian government’s “double genocide unit” via the medium of famous Jewish organizations.

The center’s establishment was announced in a Vilnius interview with World Jewish Congress executive director Michael Schneider last April, in which he indicated that the new center would be funded by “an anonymous donor who doesn’t want his name to be mentioned.”

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Regina Kopilevich, Genealogist and Historical Tour Guide for Jewish Lithuania, Speaks Out on Yiddish in Vilnius

VILNIUS—Regina Kopilevich, whose extensive contributions to Jewish genealogy and tourism have been covered by the New York Times, today released a statement about the new Yiddish language teaching positions planned in Vilnius. Ms. Kopilevich is one of the leading tour guides in the Baltic region for both Jewish history and family roots voyagers.

The statement follows in short order those released by Milan Chersonski, longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Jewish community’s former newspaper; Daniel Galay, director of Leivick House and the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel; and Professor Olegas Poliakovas, a philology professor at Vilnius University and longtime member of the university’s senate. The positions are being arranged by high officials of the World Jewish Congress.

The text of Ms. Kopilevich’s statement follows.

Open Letter from Regina Kopilevich

Vilnius, 28 July 2014

Professor Dovid Katz first came to Lithuania when it was part of the Soviet Union, and set out on 25 years of interviewing and recording (and always helping) aged Holocaust survivors in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, and northeastern Poland.

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Milan Chersonski, Longtime Editor of “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Calls on World Jewish Congress to Advertise New Yiddish Positions in Vilnius

VILNIUS—Milan Chersonski made public today the text of his letter to Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. Mr. Chersonski was editor-in-chief of the quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) Jerusalem of Lithuania, the official publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, from 1999 to 2011. From 1979 to 1999 he was artistic director of the Jewish Folk Theatre in Vilnius, which for many years had been the only Yiddish theatre in the Soviet Union. A film documentary tribute to his work was released in 2012 (part 1; part 2).

Mr. Chersonski is a regular contributor to Defending History. This statement reflects his personal views.

An Open Letter  to Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

 Vilnius, 25 July 2014

Dear Mr. Lauder,

I am one of your loyal admirers who for many years, as editor (in the years 1999-2011) of the quadrilingual newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Jerusalem of Lithuania, has been following your achievements, and also your deep commitment to Judaism via a range of philanthropic initiatives that have made a substantial difference for the betterment of Jewish life. When you were appointed to the presidency of the World Jewish Congress in 2007, I was proud as editor to give the event and your many achievements front page coverage (see Jerusalem of Lithuania, 2007, no. 5-6: page 1).

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Recent In Yiddish & On Yiddish . . .

 Dovid’s  Yiddish,  Litvak  &  Recent  Publications  (& Books)



THE NEW YIDDISH TEACHING POSITIONS IN VILNIUS:  Background; Chronology (reverse)Milan Chersonski;  Daniel Galay (Leyvik House);  Olegas Poliakovas; Regina Kopilevich. But who is the mystery donor?

אויף יידיש:

 די זיבעציק יאָריקע דעקלאַראַציע

אַ ווירטועל יידיש מוזייעלע פון דער יידישער ווילנע

צו דער זאָרגלאָזער דעקאָנסטרוקציע פון מאַקס וויינרייכןאון שוין ווייטער קונקל⸗מונקל אויפן אָפּגעשוואַכטן געביט פון יידיש; אַן ענטפער אויף צוויי אַרטיקלען וועגן יידיש אין באַוואוסטן אינטערנעט זשורנאַל „טאַבלעט“

צו דער מעטאָדאָלאָגיע פון דער היסטאָרישער יידישער לינגוויסטיק

ריטעם, און מלעיל און מלרע אין דער ווילנער העברעאישער פּאָעזיע אין ניינצעטן יאָרהונדערט

ווילנא, ווילנע און ו(ו)ילנה


In English:

Yiddish and Power (Palgrave MacMillan 2015)

Litvish: An Atlas of Northeastern Yiddish (2014)

Knaanic in the Medieval and Modern Scholarly Imagination 

Mystery of the Eight-Pointed  Western Litvak (Zámeter) Symbol on Jewish Gravestones

The Yiddish Names of Lithuanian Towns

Index to Virtual Yiddish Mini Museum of Old Jewish Vilna




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Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House Issues Call to World Jewish Congress on Vilnius Yiddish Jobs in the Works

 TEL AVIV— Daniel Galay, director of Leyvik House in central Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major Yiddish culture institutions, issued the following statement today on the Leyvik House website (copy), and on its Facebook page (see also Efraim Zuroff’s Facebook comment). For background see our earlier report.


Appeal to the World Jewish Congress

Tel Aviv, 12 June 2014

Like all lovers of Yiddish language and culture, we at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv, home to the Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, were happy to see the recent announcement that the World Jewish Congress would be facilitating a new Yiddish center in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, World Jewish Congress (WJC) and ORT, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House Issues Call to World Jewish Congress on Vilnius Yiddish Jobs in the Works

WJC Executive Director Michael Schneider Goes on the Record in Vilnius, about Yiddish and Secret Donor

The following is a reprint of the interview given by Michael Schneider, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, dated 9 April 2014 and posted shortly thereafter on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (PDF here).

UPDATE: See Section on WJC and ORT Yiddish involvement in Vilnius. Open letters to the WJC from Milan Chersonski, Daniel Galay, Regina Kopilevich, Prof. Olegas Poliakovas.


World Jewish Congress and Lithuanian Jewish Community Attention to and Support for the Vilnius Yiddish Institute

 April 9, 2014


Michael Schneider, a well-known leader of the World Jewish Congress and former executive director of WJC and the JDC (Joint), is currently visiting the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Discussions are taking place at the community on improving and expanding the activity of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University and changes in its administration.

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