Tag Archives: Yivo and Lithuania

Has “In Geveb” Done it Again?


VILNIUS—Yet again, “The Editors” (which editors?) of the lofty online academic Yiddish studies journal “In Geveb” have omitted mention of Defending History and of publications by any of its editors or contributors (except for occasional unsigned disparaging remarks on papers published, unbecoming of academic discourse). The context this time is a bibliography-style list of articles and opinion pieces that have appeared online concerning Yivo’s tragic recent decision to fire its entire library staff. The one omission in the list of articles? Defending History’s response to Yivo’s actions, titled: “Chelm or New York? Yivo Fires All its Librarians, While Investing ‘Fortune’ in PR for Lithuanian Government’s Jewish Politics.”  Hopefully, it was an oversight.

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Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika


VILNIUSLRT state television reported that an American religious Jewish school would held a polite protest outside the Lithuanian consulate in New York on Yom Hashoah, 2 May, to protest the Lithuanian government’s continued state-sponsored glorification of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika and others. The protest was carried out by students of the Rambam Mesivta High School, under the guidance of its renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. See Defending History’s report on the event.

Lithuanian Public Television’s Special Investigation of the controversy over Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika was supposed to air on Thursday May 2 at 7:30 PM (19:30), including an interview with Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. But the program did not air. Instead, the LRT website posted an “Open Letter Regarding the Increase of Tension in Society” signed by four leaders of  Lithuanian (ultra)nationalist organizations. The letter specifically attacks Chicago resident Silvia Foti, Noreika’s granddaughter, California resident Grant Gochin, and other critics of the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, while claiming that Noreika, Škirpa, Brazaitis, Krikštaponis and Kraujelis are national heroes. LRT.lt added a remark clarifying that, according to the Genocide Center, Krikštaponis participated in the mass murder of Jews. The article claims that criticism of glorification of Holocaust collaborators is the work of “Moscow.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Another One-Sided Yivo Program on the Lithuanian Holocaust — in New York City?

[Last updated 21 Dec. 2018]


NEW YORK—Yet again, the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, once the international bastion of living Yiddish high culture and genuine loyalty to East European Jewry, is putting on, in New York City, an event about the Holocaust in Lithuania that reflects only the Lithuanian government’s views on the subject. More precisely, a small number of well-funded government agencies in the business of “fixing the history of the Holocaust”: a “red-brown commission,” a Genocide Center, and Genocide Museum. The first of these, in a macabre tribute to George Orwell, is actually called “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania”. And indeed, it is one of its veteran members that is the instructor of the New York seminar, “The Shoah in Lithuania” to be held in five sessions from 3 to 17 January 2019. The fee is  $350, reduced to $275 for Yivo members.  For background see Dr. Yitzhak Arad’s paper on the red-brown commission’s actual purposes, DH’s page and section, a recent historic overview by DH’s editor in a Holocaust studies journal, and the resignation letters of  Prof. Konrad Kwiet and the late Sir Martin Gilbert.

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Forward Coverage of Yivo Strife Omits Mention of Instrumentalization by Lithuanian Holocaust Revisionism Industry


NEW YORK CITY—A 9 March 2016 Forward article, by Britta Lokting, focused on Martin Peretz’s recent resignation from Yivo’s board, cited a number of current Yivo issues. It did not, however, mention the major issue of instrumentalization by the Lithuanian government’s campaign of Holocaust obfuscation, relativization and revisionism. It did reference the now-famous Vilnius-based digitization project.

In 2011, Yivo honored an antisemitic foreign minister while failing to honor the Yiddish speaking Vilna Holocaust survivors maligned by Lithuanian prosecutors, resulting in a heartfelt plea from the long-time editor of the Jewish community’s quadrilingual newspaper. Then, in 2012, it sent its director to Vilnius to help cover for the reburial with full honors of a Holocaust perpetrator, and saw its director join (and thereby give legitimacy to) the notorious “Red-Brown Commission.” A year ago, the organization was called to task by a Vilna Holocaust survivor in the Yiddish Fórverts (English translation here; unmentioned in the English Forward?). See Defending History’s section on Yivo issues in recent years.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Forward Coverage of Yivo Strife Omits Mention of Instrumentalization by Lithuanian Holocaust Revisionism Industry

Simon Wiesenthal Center Laments Yivo’s Betrayals of Jewish Causes for the Sake of Lithuanian State PR


by Efraim Zuroff

reprinted with the author’s permission from today’s Times of Israel


This week, one of the more shameful events in Lithuanian-Jewish relations since the Baltic republic regained independence in 1991 will be hosted in New York by the once-venerable Yivo Institute. Under the heading “Reclaiming the Jewish Narrative in Lithuania Today,” the Yiddish research institute will host Markas Zingeris, whom it describes as a “Lithuanian-Jewish poet and writer,” to speak about relations between Jews and Lithuanians since the fall of Communism.

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Yivo Director’s Statements on Legal Swastikas in Lithuania, Plus Some Facts

“One of the most important statements in the article is that the swastika is banned by Lithuanian law, something that Katz and others have refused to acknowledge.”

Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 9 September 2o11 memo sent to members of his staff


“Fact: It is illegal to display the swastika in Lithuania today.”

Jonathan Brent, Executive Director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, in a 13 September 2o11 memo comprising the text of his proposed Public Yivo Statement, for which the support of Prof. Jeffrey Veidlinger (Bloomington) is claimed.

11 March 2008:   For the first time, authorities permitted a city-center neo-Nazi march on Independence Day, with police escort, at which the ‘Lithuanian swastika’ was widely displayed. Since then the march has been permitted on Gedimino Boulevard with increasing attendance.  By 2011, the march, featuring many ‘Lithuanian swastikas’, included a member of parliament, and was co-organized by a high official of the state-sponsored Genocide Center.

17 June 2008BBC News reports on the new law passed by the country’s parliament forbidding Nazi and Soviet symbols (equally). While the ‘Nazi symbol component’ of the law was to remain largely unenforced and in the case of the swastika overturned by a court (see below; here and here), the banning of Soviet symbols, at a time and place where there is zero interest in restoring the USSR, came as a bitter blow to (by then very aged) Jewish war veterans for whom old uniforms and war medals are a treasured memory of the struggle against Hitler here on ground zero of the Holocaust. The red-brown-symbol law came two weeks after the Prague Declaration, and the emphasis was on legally mandated ‘equality’ of Nazism and Communism as per the Double Genocide movement, in Europe and in Lithuania, that seeks to downgrade and obfuscate the Holocaust (responses here and here).

2008-2011:  Both before and after passage of the law, various forms and variations of the swastikas have been used in fascist demonstrations (protected by law enforcement), the best known being the ‘Lithanian swastika’ (with added lines). More information and images here.

17 February 2010:  Report on KaunoDiena.lt (English here) on the demonstration of ‘classic swastikas’ that led to the May 2010 court decision legalizing public swastikas.

8 May 2010:  Eyewitness report on the ‘modified swastika’ demonstration protected by police for eight hours outside the Lietuva (Reval) Hotel. The ‘literature table’ provided onlookers with this diagram, meant to ensure that the different varieties of swastikas are equally legitimate for the neo-Nazi (“patriotic”) cause.

19 May 2010Report on Delfi.lt on the court decision legalizing public swastikas.

19 May 2010:  Report on Baltic News Service (BNS) on the court decision legalizing swastikas.

20 May 2010Simon Wiesenthal Center press release on the Lithuanian court decision legalizing swastikasAlso available on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance website (see at: 20 May 2010).

20 May 2010Mainstream news portal Alfa.lt reports on the Wiesenthal Center’s objections to the new law legalizing public swastikas.

21 May 2010:  Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) report on the court decision legalizing swastikas.

23 May 2010Hana Levi Julian, ‘Swastika: Symbol of the sun, not Nazi terror?’ in Arutz Sheva / Israel National News.

27 May 2010Mainstream news portal Balsas.lt carries an article on the legitimate uses of the swastikaEnglish translation here.

June 2010The Jewish Community of Lithuania responds in its official newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania [English version; also available in Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish].

7 June 2010‘Swastika raised in Baltic country – Tribute to history or Nazi revival?’ on RT.com.

10 September 2010An alleged Gay Pride Swastika flag appears on the website of the mainstream LSDP (Lithuanian Social Democratic Party).

25 November 2010: Seven European ambassadors (Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden) include in their letter to Lithuania’s leaders the sentence: ‘A court in Klaipeda is able to declare it acceptable to display a swastika in public as a traditional Lithuanian symbol’ (BNS report here, DefendingHistory.com report here). Follow-up: On 13 December 2010, MP Denis MacShane asked in the House of Commons for the entire letter to be made public.

11 March 2011:  The ‘Lithuanian swastika’ (with added lines supposedly invoking a medieval symbol) is widely displayed in the Independence Day neo-Nazi parade on Gedimino Boulevard, protected by police. Eyewitness report.

20 April 2011:  To mark Hitler’s birthday, a series of swastikas and other fascist symbols were displayed in various locations. Most disturbingly, three swastika  flags were left to hang for eight hours on Tauro Hill, overlooking central Vilnius, before being removed. Report on Delfi.ltEnglish summary and photos here.

22 June 2011:  The 22 June premiere of a parliament-supported ‘documentary film’ glorifying the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) fascists, whose pre Nazi invasion leaflets called for murder of the Jewish citizens of Lithuania, featured a souvenir ticket which was stamped with a nostalgic replica of a 1941 Nazi stamp (with swastika, of course…) applied by an usher dressed up in LAF garb. The premiere was addressed by a former president of Lithuania. The same day, the chairperson/speaker of the parliament honored the film’s producers in her office in a scene chosen by the parliament’s website as Picture of the Day. Details here. Image of the ticket and stamp here. Review of the film by the editor of Lithuania’s last Jewish newspaper here.

8-10 July 2011:  Over this weekend, there was a desecration of the two major monuments at the mass murder site Ponár (Paneriai), where over 70,000 Jews from Vilna and its region were murdered: the smaller one with a swastika and an inscription translating ‘Hitler was right’ and the larger monument with an obscene drawing and text (details here; full image here). Authorities rapidly cleaned up the damage and tried to cover up the incident. Timothy Snyder in the New York Review of Books blog noted that the cover-up resulted in a lost educational opportunity. The Wiesenthal Center’s press release is here.

28 July 2011A bold young journalist, Eglė Samoškaitė, exposes on Delfi.lt extensive state funding for fascist organizations, including those that lead or participate in swastika-bearing neo-Nazi marches. English translation here.

9 August 2011A bold young journalist, Dovilė Tuskenytė, exposes in Lietuvos rytas the ongoing and successful endeavor by neo-Nazis in Lithuania to cover for their activities by claiming the swastika is just a historical or pagan symbol, with reference to authorities’ failure to act.  English translation here.

6 September 2011Lithuania’s Defense Ministry clears soldiers who participated in the 11 March 2011 neo-Nazi march featuring a large number of ‘Lithuanian swastikas’.

16 September 2011: The Leyzer Ran Family Protest includes an extensive appendix on the swastika issue with appropriate images.

3 October 2011:  A ‘chief specialist’ at the state-sponsored Genocide Research Center who helped organize the neo-Nazi march (featuring numerous swastikas) last March 11, and who has published antisemitic interviews and documents since then, has not been disciplined or disemployed to date. Details here, here, here, and here. Most recently, the neo-Nazi organization he leads in his ‘spare time’ published an ‘Enemies List’ including an official advisor to the country’s small Jewish community. Original here, English translation here, summary here.

3 October 2011:  All recent issues of the Lithuanian edition of Der Stürmer (put on line abroad but produced by native neo-Nazis who often refer to current domestic issues in Lithuania in the hate materials included), featuring numerous swastikas and other fascist icons, are freely available online, as of today’s date, with no intervention from authorities: No. 1 (November 2009); No. 2 (December 2009); No. 3 (January 2010); No. 4 (February 2010); No. 5 (March 2010); No. 6 (April 2010); No. 7 (May 2010); No. 8 (June 2010).

August-November 2011:  The current issue of the independent Vilnius in Your Pocket lists the 19 May 2010 legalization of swastikas as one of the two historic events in Lithuania in that year, regarding it as ‘a sinister U-turn’ in the aftermath of the celebrations marking the twentieth anniversary of independence on March 11. See penultimate paragraph on p. 9, PDF here.

16 November 2011:  Dissident political leader Algirdas Paleckis notes the legal status of swastikas in his comments at a conference held at the Tolerance Center in Vilnius.  Video here.

See also page on

Swastika Sanitization

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Director of Yivo Sends Circular to Staff, Taking on the Role of Manhattan Office of Lithuanian Government’s PR Department; Calls Holocaust Survivors ‘Helpless’ and ‘Ageing’

The executive director of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in New York circulated the following set of documents in an email sent to the entire staff of Yivo today. This circular statement has come after Paul Berger’s 7 September article in the Forward, the public letter from the last association of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors in Israel, and a public letter to Yivo’s academic advisory council from a French human rights association. The ‘attack on Yivo by Dovid Katz’, as it is acrimoniously called here, is the op-ed in DefendingHistory.com on the subject. More information and links on the various issues on the front page of DefendingHistory.com. This journal has made a series of proposals for genuine resolution of Lithuanian-Jewish issues.

[Update: On 15 September 2011 Yossi Melman released his direct reply to the attack on him in the circulated memo reproduced below.]

From: Jonathan Brent

Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 10:05 AM

To: YIVO Staff

Subject: Melamed Issue in Lithuania

Dear Staff,

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