Next Vilnius court hearing: 24 November (Laisvės Prospect 79A, room 205 [check updates]; case no. e2-625-918/2020). On 12 Nov, Lithuanian parliament member Kestutis Masiulis proposed that state funding not be allocated reconstruction of the old Sports Palace, on grounds that within a few years it would again become inadequate, given the huge parking and other needs. His formal amendment to the budget is available online.
Media reports on the previous hearings (of 1 and 6 Oct.): Defending History (1 Oct.), Algemeiner Journal (2 Oct.), SaveVilna.org (4 Oct.) Jerusalem Post (5 Oct); Defending History (6. Oct); Kapines.org (6. Oct); also earlier report on European Foundation for Human Rights involvement.
In a dramatic tweet, the Conference of European rabbis (CER) reported on its formal directive stripping the London-based CPJCE of any authority to meddle further in the fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in the Shnípeshok (Šnipiškės) district of modern Vilnius.
Vilnius: Lithuanian journalist Arvydas Jockus publishes two balanced articles in Alfa.lt (9 Sept. and 10 Sept.); Independent journalist Skirmantas Malinauskas posts extensive Youtube video. Summary of latest media by Andrius Kulikauskas. Voice of the major Litvak (Lithuanian tradition) rabbis begins to be heard over machinations by London-based Satmar CPJCE and its partners.
Meanwhile, next Vilnius court hearing set for 1 Oct. DH publishes compilation of visualizations and cartoons. Ruta Bloshtein’s petition approaches the 52,000 signature mark. At Piramónt, preliminary landscape digging turns up human remains…
London Satmar “Declaration of Triumph” over Old Litvak Jewish Cemetery in Vilna
London CPJCE issues a “shameless orwellian statement” (replete with anti-Litvak sarcasm) boasting of “saving” the Vilna cemetery after the Vilnius city council’s agreement with state bank to proceed with convention center and large new annex in heart of the cemetery. Statement, dated 20 Aug, appears on LJC’s state sponsored website on 2 Sept (as pdf). It claims (Satmar “Aaronite sect”) rabbinic support for the humiliation of the cemetery without mentioning the recent rabbinical decisions from Lithuanian tradition rabbinic masters, including Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and the heads of yeshivas of Telz, Ponevezh and Slabodka (English translation). See also recent words on video by Rabbi Elchonon Baron, head of the Baranovich yeshiva, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. More bona fide rabbinical decisions below.
Background: CPJCE’s campaign of collusion with Vilna cemetery desecration; the classic video; 2009 Wikileaks cable confirming secret payments; 2015 reports by JTA and the Jerusalem Post; Vilnius’s Rabbi S. J. Feffer refers to “London committee”. The “Serious Incident Report” to UK’s Charities Commission. See also last December’s “Day of Shame”…
NOTE 1: The opposing (Zalmanite) branch of Satmar in New York City has itself condemned the London Satmars’ drive to defile and humiliate the old Vilna Jewish Cemetery. See the decree by New York Satmar Grand Rabbi Zalman (Yekusiel Yehuada) Teitelbaum.
NOTE 2: One of the rabbis on the London Satmar “grave traders’ committee” letterhead, the late Rabbi Abraham Pinter (1941-2020), a covid-19 victim, broke ranks and himself signed Ruta Bloshtein’s international petition (now at 52,000 signatures).
NOTE 3: 2020 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Gaon of Vilna. Is this the year for his storied resistance against Hasidism to be “avenged” by political London Satmar operatives humiliating and desecrating the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery where Moyshe Rivkes the Be’eyr HaGoylo, Zelmale Valózhiner, Avrohom ben HaGro, the Chayey Odom (Hayei Adam), and many thousands of other Jewish citizens of Vilna still lie buried?
AUGUST 2020: JURIS KAZA REPORTS IN MEDIUM.COM AND IN LAVANGUARDIA.COM. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS BRINGS THE CEMETERY SAGA TO THE HEART OF LITHUANIAN NATIONALIST MEDIA, AND REPORTS ON HIS GROUP’S 29 JULY LAYING OF HEBREW-LETTERED STONES ALONG THE CEMETERY’S HISTORIC BOUNDARIES, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY.
JULY 2020: TURTO BANKAS & VILNIUS CITY COUNCIL TRIUMPHANTLY ANNOUNCE IMMINENT START OF WORKS, INCLUDING “LARGE NEW RED ANNEX” ON TOP OF GRAVES; EXPANSION FROM 15,600 TO 18,000 SQUARE METER SEATING. In English: Delfi and BT. Julius Norwilla (Vilnius) reports in DH. Rabbi Baron (Jerusalem) responds. Rabbinical court issues notarized English text of rabbinic ban on “the cemetery convention center”…. Yated Ne’eman publishes major new edict signed by leading Litvak rabbis in Israel.
JUNE 2020: NEW VILNIUS-BASED WEBSITE LAUNCHED BY DR. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS; INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE SAVE VILNA GROWS; VILNIUS’S COMMITTEE LED BY JULIUS NORWILLA, STEPS UP EFFORTS. MEANWHILE, RUTA BLOSHTEIN’S PETITION REACHES 51,000 SIGNATURES (DH’s REPORT; EUROPEAN JEWISH CONGRESS REPORTS).
MAY 2020: A 1000-EURO NOTE DEMO ON JEWISH GRAVES BY THREE TOP TOURIST AGENCIES. JTA & AJ REPORT. MEANWHILE, MULTIFAITH & HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS WRITE TO US SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO. WASHINGTON DC’S UCSJ JOINS INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN
APRIL 2020: MULTIFAITH PETITION BRINGS TOGETHER 45 CHRISTIAN, HINU, MUSLIM AND JEWISH LEADERS; SAVE VLNA PROJECT EXPANDS IN US AND ISRAEL
APRIL 2020: NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG REPORTS, QUOTING ELECTED HEAD OF VILNIUS JEWISH COMMUNITY
MARCH 2020: GROUP OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EVANGELICALS IN DC, LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE
FEB 2020: MEMBER OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKS OUT; MEDIA COVERS COURT CASE (CITING PROF. J. PARASONIS); DOYEN OF LITVAK RABBIS SPEAKS OUT
JAN 2020: VIDEO OF MAJOR LITVAK RABBIS MEETING WITH LITHUANIA’S AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL; JULIUS NORWILLA’S ARTICLE IN MAINSTREAM LITHUANIA MEDIA (LRT REPRINT)
DEC 2019: A DAY OF SHAME IN THE ANNALS OF LITHUANIAN JEWISH HISTORY?; DEFENDING HISTORY PUBLISHED “SECRET AGREEMENT” IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
SEPT 2019: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN VILNIUS. DR. ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS’S KEYNOTE SPEECH.
APRIL 2019: EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS GOES TO COURT IN VILNIUS OVER FATE OF OLD JEWISH CEMETERY;
BUT GREEDY BUILDERS AND NATIONALIST GOV. OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO RELY ON “PERMISSIONS” FROM ALLEGEDLY CORRUPT LONDON-BASED “CPCJE RABBIS” EXPOSED BY WIKILEAKS IN GRAVES-FOR-CASH SCHEME.
SHOCKING VIDEO OF LONDON RABBIS FETED BY PRIME MINISTER OF LITHUANIA FOR THEIR PERMISSION TO PLACE CONVENTION CENTER AND ANNEX ON TOP OF OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY IN DEFIANCE OF ALL LITHUANIAN ORIGIN RABBIS WORLDWIDE
Simon Gurevich, elected head of the Vilnius Jewish Community, representing the 2,200 Jewish citizens of Lithuania’s capital, tells the New York Times: “The Soviets didn’t build just coincidentally the Sports Palace there, they built it as part of an antisemitic campaign of destruction of Jewish sites. Is this Soviet despotism a part of the heritage we would like to keep?”
On 5 Sept. 2018 the Vilnius Jewish Community in partnership with a number of regional Lithuanian Jewish communities released an approved English version of their powerful 29 Aug. statement. On 12 September, ten members of the Israeli Knesset wrote to Lithuania’s president.
Could this be the most corrupt federal agency in Washington DC? On moral status of the London-based CPJCE, see the “smoking gun” US diplomatic cable on secret payments and secret digging
RUTA BLOSHTEIN ISSUES MAY 2018 UPDATE TO HER PETITION, WHICH HAS 47,000 SIGNATURES TO DATE; SHE CALLS FOR LONDON “CPJCE” TO BE REPORTED TO THE UK CHARITIES COMMISSION. IN A JANUARY 2019 UPDATE, SHE CALLS FOR PROTESTS TO END THE DESTRUCTIVE ROLE OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER FUNDED “USCPAHA”.
Registry of Opposition to “The National Convention Center” Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės)
PETITION (47,000 SIGNATURES); MAY 2018 UPDATE; JAN 2019 UPDATE; 12 US CONGRESSMEN; 3 SENATORS; 10 MEMBERS OF ISRAEL’S KNESSET; LOCAL JEWS; PEOPLE NEAR & FAR; LEADING RABBIS; CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAEL; VIDEO; ARTICLES IN LITHUANIAN; 2018 COVERAGE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
Just ONE allegedly “compromised” group of “Aaronite Satmar” rabbis in London, the “CPJCE”, are allegedly in cahoots with certain Lithuanian government sections, and business & builders’ financial ambitions for the cemetery.
1: The 12 Litvak-tradition rabbis / heads of yeshiva in the U.S. who signed a July 2015 proclamation: Rabbi Moshe Brown (Agudath Israel of West Lawrence); Rabbi Dovid Feinstein (Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America); Rabbi Reuven Feinstein (Yeshiva of Staten Island); Rabbi Aharon Feldman (Ner Israel Rabbinical College); Rabbi Moshe Green (Yeshiva D’Monsey Rabbinical College); Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (Mirrer Yeshiva); Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller (Telshe Yeshiva − Chicago); Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky (Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia); Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler (Beth Medrash Govoha − Lakewood, N.J.); Rabbi Yosef Rosenblum (Beth HaMedrash Shaarei Yosher); Rabbi Aaron M. Schechter (Rabbinical Academy Mesivta Chaim Berlin); Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel (Yeshiva Zichron Moshe).
2: The 4 Litvak-tradition rabbis / heads of yeshiva in Israel who signed a June 2015 proclamation: Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach; Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik; Rabbi Israel Isaac Kalmanovitz; Rabbi Tsvi Rotberg.
3: Leaders of the Gaon of Vilna Synagogue in Tel Aviv (including the Gaon’s direct descendants): Rabbi Yosef Tsvi Halevy; Rabbi Elijah Landa (in the name of all the Gaon’s family); the entire council of the synagogue and study house.
4: Rabbinic/academic delegation from Europe, the U.S. and Israel came to Lithuania on 25 August 2015 to plead for the convention center to be moved to another location: Rabbi Chizki Kalmanowitz (Asra Kadisha, Jerusalem); Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (dean, Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y.); Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (dean, Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, N.J.); Rabbi David Niederman (Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada); Dr. David Michael Schaps (Conference of Academicians for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries); Rabbi Avraham Yaffe Schlesinger (chief rabbi, Orthodox community, Geneva).
5: Rabbinic delegation meets in Feb. 2017 in Washington DC with Lithuania’s ambassador to plead for the cemetery, including: Rabbi Pinchos Hecht (Mirrer Yeshiva, N.Y.), Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood), Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (Mirrer Yeshiva, N.Y.), Rabbi Shmuel Lemberger, Rabbi David Niederman (United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn), Rabbi Shmuel Mordche Stern, Rabbi Yakov Ber Teitelbaum (representing his father, Satmar Grand Rabbi Yekusiel Zalmen Teitelbaum).
6: Compendium of rabbinic pleas to the government of Lithuania concerning the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (in Hebrew)
7: Letters from the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites in Israel, dean of Beis Meir Yeshiva, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, High Satmar Rabbinic Court, Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Central Rabbinic Congress.
8: Decision of the Lithuanian Tradition Rabbinical Court of Rabbi Nissim Karletz in Bnei Brak, signed by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in February 2020, thereafter signed by the heads of yeshiva of Poneviezh, Slobodka and Telz.
Mauše Beirakas (Lithuania)
Didier Bertin (France)
Herbert Block (New York)
Christian Bonneville (France & Lithuania)
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein (Los Angeles)
Milan Chersonski (Lithuania)
Rabbi Abraham Cooper (USA)
Donna Druchunas (USA & Lithuania)
Rabbi Pini Dunner (London and Beverley Hills)
Professor Pinchos Fridberg (Lithuania)
Berel Fried (USA)
Rabbi Marvin Hier (USA)
Malcolm Hoenlein (USA)
Professor Dovid Katz (Lithuania)
Juris Kaža (Latvia)
Serge Klarsfeld (France)
Rabbi Elijah Landa (Israel)
Pastor Michael Maass (Lithuania & USA)
Kęstutis Masiulis (Seimas member)
Dr. Beata Nemcová (Slovakia)
Julius Norwilla (Lithuania)
Professor Josifas Parasonis (Lithuania)
Rabbi Abraham Pinter (London) [petition signer]
Yair Rosenberg (United States)
Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg (Israel)
Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski (Poland)
Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Israel)