that in 2014, President, PM, Mayor, human rights and pro-tolerance groups will just say “No” to gifting of capital’s heart on independence day. Previous years featured swastikas, sieg heils, adulation of perpetrators, slurs against Blacks, Feminists, Gays, Jews, Poles, Roma, Russians.
Dr. Rachel Margolis, 92, Honored on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Rachel Margolis, 92, is honored at her home in Rechovot on 27 January by Brig. Gen. Zvi Kan-Tor (center), head of the task force establishing Museum of the Jewish Soldier of World War II and Abraham Grinzaid, head of Israel’s association of Soviet army veterans who fought against the Nazis.
Defending History Brings Real (But Not Enough) Results…
After 7 Years of Silence, Part of Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission” Expresses “Sorrow and Anger” at “Unwarranted Attacks” on Yitzhak Arad
First Real Gesture Brings Praise; But No Mention of Prosecutors’ “Kangaroo War Crimes Investigation” or Urgent Need for Apology from Prosecutor and Political Leaders to Halt Ongoing Defamation of Dr. Arad — a Holocaust Survivor, Resistance Hero in the Struggle against Nazism, Veteran of Israel’s War of Independence and then General, Major Scholar of the Holocaust, Head of Yad Vashem for Over Two Decades (1972-1993)
His The Holocaust in the Soviet Union is a (2010) National Jewish Book Award winner
Defending History, founded in September 2009, is the international address for countering the effort by some East European states to rewrite the history of World War II. Their effort, widely called “Double Genocide,” is a major new genre of Holocaust revisionism, which seeks, in the spirit of the new far right, to replace history with a doctrine of total equivalence of Nazi and Soviet crimes. Along the way, Holocaust survivors have been defamed, major local collaborators have been glorified (as supposed national heroes), and the new far right’s racism, antisemitism and homophobia have been further enabled. Defending History helps bring these issues to the attention of many and ensures inclusion of opposing views in the historical record.
CINDERELLA NOT INVITED TO THE BALL? Her 92nd birthday was 28 Oct, in the middle of the conference.
Dr. Rachel Margolis, Vilna native, Vilna Ghetto survivor, heroic resistance fighter against the Nazis, co-founder of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius, who rediscovered and published long lost diary of eyewitness to the Ponár massacres, defamed by Lithuanian state prosecutors, is not on the list of speakers in Berlin.
Meanwhile, in Rehovot, Rachel Margolis prepared to celebrate her 92nd birthday (Monday 28 Oct). PHOTO: HADAS PARUSH
RIGHT WING POLITICS IN PLAY AT BERLIN VILNA GHETTO CONFERENCE: The event is hosted by a Conservative Party (Christian Democratic Union) linked foundation that is itself part of the Centre for European Studies, a think tank affiliated with the right wing EPP that is itself an engine of red-brown Double Genocide politics in Europe. Chief of red-brown commission in town for the event.
Dr. Rachel Margolis at her home in Rehovot, Israel, visited by Joseph Melamed, president of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, who was himself visited by agents of Interpol in 2011 on instructions from Lithuanian prosecutors.
Tallinn photo-op with red-brown backdrop: Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves (left) with German president Joachim Gauck (Postimees—Erik Peinar). The modernist sculptural salute to red-brown equivalence, in the heart of an EU capital, showcases the curious supposed equality of the perpetrators and the liberators of Auschwitz. More red-brown iconography here.
Previous event at “Jewish Library” included featured speaker from the antisemitic Genocide Center who the previous week (in the mainstream Lithuanian media) publicly belittled the Holocaust history of “Israeli [he means: Jewish] scholars” in his attempt to sanitize the LAF/PG 1941 killers of Lithuanian Jewry. English translation of his interview; Geoff Vasil replied in Defending History.
Milan Chersonski (second from right) is not the only one in town taking pictures of the banner and the handful of demonstrators. Police photographed anti-fascist participants and asked names and addresses (as last February).
The group of courageous demonstrators at the Lietukis Garage memorial, in a city-center courtyard in Kaunas
Defending History urges people of conscience politely to refrain from entering the building until the shrines are removed.
What was going on in Kaunas (Kovno) during the tenure of the June-August 1941 “Provisional Government”? Here, white-armbanders loyal to the gov take women citizens to humiliation and death because they are Jewish…
Related: Evaldas Balčiūnas on a military academy named for someone with Nazi-era biographical gaps…..
Admirers, in Vilnius, say ‘Happy Birthday’ on Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky’s 91st
Veteran of the Vilna Jewish partisans, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky answers questions from an international audience that came to celebrate her 91st birthday (at the Jewish Community of Lithuania, in the room dedicated to veterans of the Jewish resistance against the Nazis). She was one of the victims, in recent years, of local prosecutors’ kangaroo “war crimes investigations” against Lithuanian Jews who survived the Holocaust precisely because they joined the anti-Nazi resistance.
There is still time for Lithuania’s government to end the six hundred year pre-Holocaust sharing of space in the spirit of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on the happier note of reconciliation via public apologies to the defamed Jewish partisans (who continue to be defamed in new publications, e.g. “Intermarium” and on Wikipedia etc).
But on their websites, the march’s advocates feel rather less inhibited about expressing their further thoughts and fantasies (supposedly mitigated by the lower caption: “Kaunas, February 16th 2013 — If to believe the tales of anti-fascists and Jewish activists”)
Efraim Zuroff’s Vilnius Press Conference on the Eve of State-Sanctioned City-Center Neo-Nazi Marches
on 3 pro-Nazi events: Kaunas 16 Feb; Vilnius 11 March; Riga 16 March
Nazi marches condemned at Feb 15th news conference in Vilnius, but new Prime Minister praised for speaking out against racist manifestations before the event; Now calls are upon the PM and president to cancel the next (March 11th) Neo-Nazi parade in the capital on the nation’s second (1990-based) Independence Day.
MP (& health minister) Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis
Vilnius, January 27th:
President of Lithuania honors Brandeis professor Antony Polonsky for “the promotion of Lithuania’s name in the world.” Issues include the definition of “genocide,” the Prague Declaration, the Rachel Margolis case, and instrumentalization in an international campaign of government PR.
On 28 August 1942, the anniversary of Tallinn’s capture a year earlier by Nazi forces, Estonian General Commissar SA-Obergruppenführer Karl Siegmund Litzmann announced that the German higher authorities had authorized formation of the Estonian Legion that would operate under the Waffen-SS.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff (center), director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, is one of the leaders of a dignified protest that included placing a wreath for the victims of the Holocaust on a day dedicated to honoring local pro-Nazi forces.
Eight Signatories of SYD: MEPs Justas Paleckis, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė; MPs Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Justinas Karosas, Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, Julius Sabatauskas, Algirdas Sysas, Birutė Vėsaitė
Boldly defying the right wing government’s Holocaust politics, a number of leading Lithuanian Social Democrats have stood up with courage. Six MPs and two MEPs signed the SYD. They were attacked by the current foreign minister in his “moustache reply” and an article (and in a “cooked” radio panel).
MP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the SD foreign affairs spokesman, replied robustly. UK MP Denis MacShane sent personal letters to each of the signatories. Then, two Social Democratic MPs issued a statement in the Seimas protesting the state’s honoring of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.
ABOVE: On the watch of the 1941 Nazi puppet “prime minister” Juozas Ambrazevičius (later Brazaitis): Local white-armbanders loyal to the “provisional government” surround Jewish women in Kaunas on the march from their homes to humiliation and mass murder.
BELOW: Signature of the prime minister of the Provisional Government of Lithuania, Juozas Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) on the 7 July 1941 protocol [English translation here]. The text includes: “By German order a ghetto for Jews will be established in Vilijampolė, to which all the Jews of the city of Kaunas must be moved within 4 weeks.”
Heavily guarded Kovno Ghetto gate isolating the tens of thousands of the city’s citizens who were Jewish for incarceration, slave labor, humiliation and genocide. Provisional Government confirmation of the German order for the ghetto was signed by the puppet prime minister.
— Dr. Shimon Alperovich, chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania
Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue was defaced on May 18th 2012. Milan Chersonski commented to Haaretz: “This was the unofficial supplementary program to honor the Nazi collaborator. If great eminences like the former heads of state Vytautas Landsbergis and Valdas Adamkus are parties to the honoring of a Holocaust collaborator, then hooligans in town feel able to make their own contribution too with a can of paint thrown at the synagogue. In their own way, they all have thrown paint in the faces of the small surviving Jewish community in the country.” Police have made no arrests. PHOTO: MILAN CHERSONSKI.
QUESTION: Will Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas maintain the deeply offensive lecture hall name honoring the Nazi puppet prime minister who signed the protocols confirming Nazi orders for that very city’s Jews to be put in a concentration camp and ghetto? Are these the values being instilled in students at one of the best universities in the Baltics?
DefendingHistory.com congratulates the Lithuanian parliamentarians among the founding 70 signatories of the Seventy Years Declaration for their courage, integrity, love of all their country’s peoples, and genuine commitment to European values:
Holocaust survivors Shlomo Cheskov (left, from Shavl/Šiauliai), and Joseph Melamed (from Kovno/Kaunas) at the Tel Aviv demonstration. Mr. Cheskov’s sign says (in Yiddish) “With our partisan heroes, against neo-Nazism. We are here!” Mr. Melamed’s (in Hebrew) addressed to the South African businessmen diners at the gala dinner: “Dear Diners! Where is your conscience? Your solidarity with Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters and partisans?” Photo: Bella Bryks-Klein.
Some of the 18 protesters, led by Joe Melamed (first from left), chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, who greeted Lithuanian Foreign Minister Ažubalis at a Tel Aviv “gala” at which he was guest of honor. It is just over a month since Ažubalis belittled his parliamentary colleagues who signed the Seventy Years Declaration marking the Wannsee anniversary in January, when he made his infamous comment on moustache length being the one difference between Hitler and Stalin. Back in 2010 the Jewish community in Lithuania called a special meeting to draft a statement protesting a major antisemitic outburst by the foreign minister. There are seven major areas of unresolved Lithuanian-Jewish issues. Photo: Bella Bryks-Klein.
Tel Aviv attorney Joe Melamed, head of the Association of Lithuanian Jews, celebrating Dr. Rachel Margolis’s 90th birthday in Rechovot
Left her safe haven with righteous Christians to join her family in the Vilna Ghetto. Joined the Jewish underground anti-Nazi resistance. Witness to creation of the Yiddish Partisan Hymn.
Escaped to join the partisans and fought valiantly against the Nazis in the forests of Lithuania. The only one in her family to survive the Holocaust.
Volunteered for the short-lived Jewish museum after the war.
Dedicated half a century to Biology at Vilnius University.
Helped establish the Green House Holocaust exhibit. Rediscovered, deciphered and published Kazimierz Sakowicz’s diary of Ponár. Author of a remarkable memoir. Beloved guide, lecturer and teacher on Jewish Vilna and the Holocaust.
Target of a campaign of defamation by Vilnius prosecutors, the “Lithuanian Human Rights Association” and other far-right Holocaust-revisionist elites.
Afraid to return to her beloved Vilna for one last visit. Lithuanian government refuses to reach out to her, while prosecutors repeat threats on kangaroo ‘war crimes investigation’ (most recently for the record in the 2012 documentary ‘Rewriting History’)
Vilnius — Books and a documentary of lasting value produced by the House of Memory, led by Linas Vildžiūnas, Vaidotas Reivytis and others; projects curtailed by the government’s ‘red-brown establishment’ monopolizing resources
Many thanks to Yivo for posting the video of the discussion “Unresolved History: Jews and Lithuanians after the Holocaust.” In my opinion, the champion panelist was Leonidas Donskis who opened his heart with conviction and courage. As a Jewish Lithuanian his understanding of and sympathy for both Jews and Lithuanians have generated wise insights and pervasive truths. Among his magnitude of analytical comments to be applauded, Donskis explained that the Far Right in Lithuania has managed to get close to the center of power where they have been “mainstreamed” rather than marginalized. He also reflected on how difficult it is for Lithuanians who have decided to tell the truth. As a nation “we lack the political courage,” he remarked.
Members of the US-based “Litvak SIG” (both those on the free lists, and those who paid their $36 a year dues for full membership), have been informed of the following event and the book it features, coming up this Thursday evening in San Francisco. (When Messiah will come, the subscribers to both “SIG” sections will learn about the existence of Defending History, too and its modest, but free, Litvak interest sections. We must have patience.)
VILNIUS—Three Vilnius-based members of the Defending History team visited the Pylimo Street section of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania this week, and asked to be shown the famous and widely admired exhibit honoring the Jewish veterans of the war against Hitler in Lithuania. The exhibit, titled Lithuania’s Jews in the Struggle Against Nazism, was opened in a spirit of unity, reconciliation and mutual respect, some fourteen years ago (PDF of the report in the Spring 2000 English edition of the Jewish community’s then quadrilingual newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania, which was edited by Milan Chersonski from 1999 until 2011; JPEG; reduced image below).
This comment, republished here with the author’s permission, first appeared in the Jerusalem Post on 22 February 2014.
My 2012 documentary film Rewriting History tracked the emergence of “Double Genocide” and the rewriting of the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania.
The film warned that what was occurring in Lithuania was a harbinger of something that could become more widespread and ultimately mainstream in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately recent events in Hungary bear this out.
Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original by Geoff Vasil.
Today Sergijus Staniškis Litas is presented as a noble partisan commander who concentrated his unusual skills on battling the occupiers. At least that’s how the writers of the Lithuanian Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance present him on their webpage at http://www.genocid.lt/datos/stanisk.htm.
The following, in reverse chronological order, is the text of Monica Lowenberg’s two comments to Ronaldas Racinskas’s comment, all in the discussion following Olga Zabludoff’s article in the Algemeiner Journal on the Holocaust in Lithuania and a Yivo symposium in New York. These and other comments appear in the AJ‘s comments section.
JERUSALEM—The following statement was issued today by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL DIRECTOR LEADS PROTEST AGAINST EXTREME RIGHT INDEPENDENCE DAY MARCH
16 February 2014KAUNAS, LITHUANIA—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Director and chief Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff yesterday afternoon led a protest against an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi march in honor of Lithuanian Independence Day, held here, in Lithuania’s inter-war capital, whose large and important Jewish community was virtually totally annihilated during the Holocaust by the Nazis, with highly significant participation of Lithuanian volunteer collaborators.
Nobody could love or respect the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research more than I do. It was founded as the Yiddish Scientific Institute in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1925. Yivo remains a symbol for all who cherish our Yiddish heritage and, now, its last prewar survivors. Through the years I have spent many wondrous hours at Yivo, digging, discovering, and learning about my Litvak ancestors, their shtetlakh, and their culture. Being there always felt like being home. The books and documents I handled seemed almost sacred. Memories of conversations with Yivo’s’s revered librarian Dina Abramowicz still make me smile. . .
Colleagues in Lithuania of all backgrounds invited to meet Dr. Efraim Zuroff, and join silent, peaceful protest against state-enabled neo-Nazi glorification of local Holocaust collaborators: Sunday 16 Feb, 2 PM, Ramybes Park, Kaunas
The following is the original English text, received today from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office in Jerusalem, of its director Efraim Zuroff’s public letter to Croatian authorities, published in Croatian translation on 6 February, and referred to in a press release from SWC earlier today.
JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged the Croatian authorities to expedite the prosecution of Auschwitz guard Jakob Dencinger, who was discovered living in Osijek by the Croatian daily Jutarnji List late last week.
The following, for our readers’ information, is Geoff Vasil’s translation of a 3 February 2014 article that appeared in 15min.lt. Please see the original Lithuanian for the photos referenced herein by their captions in square brackets.