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.
We have followed for many years with solidarity and admiration the work of our colleague Dr. Dovid Katz in building from scratch, over many years of dedicated labor, a number of Yiddish programs in Vilnius that have become world-renowned. We were devastated and dismayed when his professorship at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Vilnius University, was abruptly discontinued in 2010 after he had spoken out on behalf of the last Yiddish speaking Holocaust survivors who were being accused, ridiculously, of “war crimes” for having escaped the Vilna Ghetto to join up with the anti-Nazi partisans.
In June 2009, we were delighted to team up with Dr. Katz and his colleagues to host an evening at Leyvik House headquarters in Tel Aviv honoring Dr. Rachel Margolis, now of Rehovot, one of the defamed survivors. One of the main personalities who came, at Dr. Katz’s invitation, was the late Israeli ambassador to Riga, HE Chen Ivri Apter; we have proudly posted on the internet his historic speech at Leyvik House on the occasion which brilliantly exposes the “double genocide” movement of Holocaust distortion and denial.
Turning to the new plans in Vilnius, we appeal to the World Jewish Congress to ensure that any and all Yiddish positions in Vilnius be openly and fairly advertised as would be the case for any serious and respected subject, and that Professor Katz and his colleagues have every opportunity to apply to the positions that they in effect created with their labors over all these years. In other words, we want to confirm that the new initiative will not be yet another Lithuanian government manipulated sham with a hidden agenda of covering for the government’s unfortunate attempts to distort the Holocaust, and that it will be a fair and transparent process based on academic and cultural excellence as befits Yiddish in one of its great prewar centers.Daniel Galay Chairman, Leyvik House and Union of Yiddish Writers and Journalists