VILNIUS—Turto Bankas, the state bank here whose main mission is to “organize and coordinate renewal of state-owned real estate,” has again revealed itself to be deeply involved in the international scandal of constructing a new National Congress Center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery, whose graves date back to the fifteenth century and include some of the leading European Jewish scholars of the last millennium. The project continues to attract opposition from various parts of the world, including major Lithuania-descended rabbis internationally and some members of Lithuania’s small Jewish community. Moreover, Protestant and Catholic authors have pointed out that this would not likely be the fate of an analogous medieval vintage Christian cemetery.
TURTO BANKAS REPORT AND PDF; BUT DOES ERIC J. RYMER OF “RIGHT SOLUTION LTD” IN THE UK KNOW WHAT HIS FIRM IS BEING DRAGGED INTO?
Turto Bankas has just posted on its website, triumphantly in some opinions, the architectural visualizations previously on the project architects’ website and reported on last month in Defending History. A 4 July report in 15min.lt reports on the project without a hint of the growing international controversy and what some Vilnius sources call a gross misrepresentation of the cemetery’s history.
In addition, the state bank has just released a PDF, itself dated February 2016, with full architectural details of the project. See Defending History‘s chronology of the paper trail, record of opposition, and section devoted to the alleged gross violation of the human rights of many thousands of Vilnius citizens whose families paid for their grave plots over a period of roughly half a millennium.
The apparent failure of the US taxpayer-funded “U.S. Commission for the Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad” (USCPAHA), chaired by Lesley Weiss, to issue even the mildest statement urging that the Congress Center be moved to another venue has most recently been brought to light in a June 2016 essay by New York’s Professor Bernard Fryshman, author of an earlier essay on the subject. See also September 2015 and January 2016 reports on the USCPAHA’s behavior of, and the related DH section.
The Commission has controversially been in close touch with various hasidic groups alleged to be colluding with organizations, most prominently the CPJCE (Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe), and its allies, who follow one of the two competing Satmar grandrabbis, that extract payments for “supervision” of the works underway (in situations when other rabbinic specialists demand that the cemeteries in question remain unmolested), in effect, in some views, “selling someone else’s graves in another country.” See reports by the Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel on the London CPJCE rabbis seemingly caught red-handed by Wikileaks, and the related DH section.
Incidentally, the PDF just made public by Turto Bankas was, the text indicates, prepared by Eric J. Rymer of The Right Solution Limited in the UK. It is not known what if any ties the firm has to the compromised rabbis of the CPJCE.