Antisemitism & Bias

Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl



 

OPINION  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  COMMEMORATIONS FOR DESTROYED COMMUNITIES

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in ISGAP Flashpoint:

The words “antisemitism in the shtetl” might evoke recollections of Fiddler on the Roof, a touch of family lore “from the old country” way back when, or for those familiar with modern Yiddish literature, a scene from this or that writer. Baffling as it may sound, however, it a substantial contemporary topic in the study of antisemitism, and, perhaps even more surprisingly, part of a phenomenon with implications for the future, given the vast number of cities, towns and villages in the world with a rich Jewish history but no living Jews, where potent anti-Jewish feeling (as well as pro-Jewish feeling) can be observed. As noted back in Flashpoint 21, antisemitism in Eastern Europe is very different from its much better known Western and Middle East incarnations.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Antisemitism in the 21st Century Shtetl

Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator



VILNIUS—Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky, a prominent lawyer here in the Lithuanian capital, today released on the community’s official website the text of her letter to the mayor of Vilnius calling for the removal of a plaque honoring the notorious Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. The letter follows her bold speech at the 23 September Ponár (Paneriai) memorial which likewise called on government officials to remove honors for Holocaust perpetrators, citing three prominent collaborators by name.

There was immediate speculation on which human rights, Jewish and Israeli organizations, here and internationally, would react with rapid public expressions of support for the chairperson’s letter. The charismatic young mayor of Vilnius has a colorful record on Jewish issues, which Defending History has been following for years, starting with his earlier stint as justice minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator

Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office today issued a press release (text below), including a quote from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calling on Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the mayor of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second city, to ban weddings and other celebrations from the now privatized parts of the historic Seventh Fort, where thousands of Kaunas Jews were humiliated, tortured and murdered starting with the first week of the Lithuanian Holocaust in late June 1941.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Efraim Zuroff, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Calls on Kaunas Mayor to End Abuse of “Seventh Fort”; Pressure Builds on Vilnius Mayor’s Jewish Politics

Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator


[LAST UPDATE]


I24’s 14 July 2016 report. Background in DH on British-born city council member, Mark Harold Splinter, who proposed the change (his statement in English). Samples from elsewhere in Lithuania. Wider issue in Eastern Europe. Within “Double Genocide” theory. Related 24 July 2016 report by JTA.

FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON KAZYS ŠKIRPA (CENTER) SEE DH ARTICLES BY ANDRIUS KULIKAUSKAS, EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS, AND MILAN CHERSONSKI; PROF. T. SNYDER’S BLOODLANDS:  “Škirpa used this suffering in his radio broadcasts to spur mobs to murder. Some 2,500 Jews […]” … (p. 192)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius City Council “Defers” Decision on Street Honoring Hitler Collaborator

Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…



PAPER TRAIL  |  REGISTRY OF OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER  |  DH SECTION

VILNIUS—The following is a reprint of the article published on 2 July 2016 in Yated Ne’eman. The title refers to the accompanying illustration which considers the views of the many thousands of Jews buried at Piramónt, Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery in the Šnipiškės (Shnípishok) district, in active use from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. See also background to the article, PDF of the original article, the catalogue of international opposition, the paper trail, the DH section, and our editor’s summary of the issue published in December 2015 in The Times of Israel.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, US State Dept Manipulated?, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Now We [Who Lie Buried in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery], Know…

South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies



OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  SOUTH AFRICA  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM & BIAS

by Daniel Lutrin

The following opinion piece by Daniel Lutrin appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 1 June 2016 under the headline “Lithuanian Citizenship: Only Successful Applicant is a Dead Jew.” Comments or discussion may be directed to the South African Jewish Report. Defending History is always prepared to consider actual articles in reaction to published articles.

It was gratifying to see a recent article regarding the plight that Jews of Lithuanian origin (Litvaks) are facing when applying to have their Lithuanian citizenship restored. The article, however, does not hone in on the critical matter at hand, namely the extent to which Lithuanian bureaucrats have gone to deny Jews of their ancestral right to citizenship.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Citizenship, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, South Africa | Comments Off on South African Litvak in London Critiques Lithuania’s Citizenship Policies

Lithuanian Philosopher Writes to Archbishop Grušas



CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | EVENTS  |  BOLD CITIZENS SPEAK OUT

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Editor’s note: The author provides here his own synopsis (with explanatory comments for Defending History readers) of his Lithuanian essay that appeared in Veidas on 5 May 2016. It is in effect an open letter from a Lithuanian citizen to Archbishop Gintaras Grušas on the occasion of the “Jubilee Year of Mercy” events scheduled this week under the title “National Congress of Mercy.”

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Lithuanian Philosopher Writes to Archbishop Grušas

Jews and Other Minorities in Eastern Europe Concerned by EU Chief’s Addition of a Single Word about Old Jewish Cemetery



CEMETERY PAPER TRAIL   |   OPPOSITION TO DATE  |   DH SECTION   |   BACKGROUND

BRUSSELS—Back in October, 2015, high-level European Union spokesperson Chiara Adamo had replied to French human rights activist Didier Bertin on behalf of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, assuring the public that

“Contrary to reports in some Lithuanian newspapers and international media, the planned renovation project at the Vilnius Snipisek cemetery is not supported by European Union funds.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Documents, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Jews and Other Minorities in Eastern Europe Concerned by EU Chief’s Addition of a Single Word about Old Jewish Cemetery

Waffen SS Fest in Central Riga on March 16th


[UPDATED]

LATVIA  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS


RIGA:

100px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Riga.svg

AFTERMATH: EFRAIM ZUROFF IN THE JERUSALEM POSTMONICA LOWENBERG IN HOPE NOT HATE

LONDON: UK MP GARETH THOMAS WRITES TO LATVIAN AMBASSADOR AND TO BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICEMONICA LOWENBERG SPEAKS OUT TO BRITAIN’S EUROPE SECRETARY DAVID LIDINGTON  IN HOPE NOT HATEBRITISH JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN RIGA

IN RIGA:

RULING PARTY LATVIAN MP TOLD MEDIA THAT “CLEVER JEWS” ARE “UNDERMINING HIS NATION’S SECURITY”

PARLIAMENTARIANS WERE SLATED FOR THIS YEAR’S WAFFEN SS FEST ON MARCH 16TH IN THE LATVIAN CAPITAL; SAM SOKOL IN THE JERUSALEM POSTBUT LAST MINUTE CLIMBDOWN BY NATIONAL ALLIANCE REVERSES DECISIONBALTIC TIMES WHITEWASH

GROUP OF GERMAN ANTIFASCIST PROTESTERS ARRESTED WHILE TRYING TO ENTER LATVIA FOR THE EVENT; FRANK BRENDLE’S REPORTFLORIAN GUTSCHE’S REPORT; ONE OF THE GERMAN DETAINEES, MARKUS TERVOOREN, GIVES AN INTERVIEW

DR. EFRAIM ZUROFF FLIES IN TO PROTEST: JTA REPORT; AFP REPORT; SAM SOKOL IN THE JERUSALEM POSTAP VIDEO; DOKUMENTIONSARCHIV; REPORT AND PHOTOS ON MONICA LOWENBERG’S MARCH 16th BLOGSPOT

MONICA LOWENBERG:  BLOGSPOT, PETITION  & IN DH

DEFENDING HISTORY’S COVERAGE OF THE EVENT FROM 2010

Defending History Monitors the Marches:

Kaunas, VilniusRiga

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Gareth Thomas, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Waffen SS Fest in Central Riga on March 16th

Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


 by Frank Brendle

Latvian authorities denied today entry for six German antifascists who intended to support the protest against  tomorrow’s edition of central Riga’s annual  March 16th Waffen SS march.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

This morning, Cornelia Kerth, chairwoman of Germany’s most important antifascist organization, the Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazis / Federation of Antifascists (in German VVN-BdA) entered Hamburg airport to board her flight with Air Baltic to Riga. Check-in was without problem, but at the final steps before boarding the aircraft, authorities informed her that she may not enter the plane: “You are on a black list of the Latvian immigration authorities,” they said.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Frank Brendle, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March

German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


by Florian Gutsche

RIGA—While Veterans of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS are allowed to march on tomorrow’s March 16th “Day of Legionnaires,” a group of antifascists from Germany was arrested while trying to enter Latvia to protest peacefully against the public glorification of the Waffen SS.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

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PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?



LITHUANIA | POLITICS OF MEMORY | GENOCIDE CENTER | OPINION

by Dovid Katz

 

VILNIUS—An array of local observers, speaking as usual off the record here, declared themselves “in shock” over the official response to the Jewish Community released by Prosecutor General Rimvydas Valentukevičius yesterday, dealing with widespread requests that the state’s Genocide Center — with which his Prosecutor General’s office has closely cooperated on Holocaust issues for many years — release the list of around two thousand names of alleged Holocaust murderers that it recently announced it had compiled, drawing international press attention. Over the years, the Center has been critiqued by the Wiesenthal Center and by various authors in Defending History for its alleged history-distorting antics; Evaldas Balčiūnas and Andrius Kulikauskas are among the boldest challengers of the Center’s moral integrity. (See also DH’s page on the Genocide Center, and on the museum which it directs in central Vilnius.)

The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel has long maintained an estimate of 23,000 local perpetrators involved in the killing. Thousands were listed on the Association’s website until June 2009 when the Israeli Foreign Ministry, under pressure from Lithuanian counterparts, itself harshly pressured the Association’s then chairperson to remove the list from its website. But it continues to circulate widely both on the internet and its fuller form is preserved in Joseph Melamed’s 1999 book, Crime and Punishment (Tel Aviv 1999), where the lists of alleged killers are organized by region and town.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Prosecutor Skirts Key Question: Will the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators be Made Public?

Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania



KAUNAS MARCHES | NEO-NAZI MARCHES | ANTISEMITISM

KAUNAS—For the fifth year running, the Defending History team was the only Lithuania-based monitoring unit on site to observe and record the neo-Nazi march in the center of Kaunas, from start to finish, on February 16th, the anniversary of Lithuania’s 1918 declaration of independence. (DH has monitored the March 11th marches in Vilnius since 2008.) Once again, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office was the only foreign partner to attend, monitor and participate in our annual silent protest. There was no sign of any of the many well-funded human rights monitors in the region.

Yet again, the center of Kaunas, the interwar capital and modern Lithuania’s second city, was gifted by the city’s authorities to the neo-Nazis for their event, which drew hundreds, and was kept orderly by a highly professional, and by now experienced, police and state security presence (which, as ever, took every care to keep the Defending History team secure throughout the day).

This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.

DSC05610

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania

On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day



Will the Neo-Nazis Again be Given Central Kaunas on Feb. 16th Independence Day to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators, Spread Hate, and Damage Lithuania’s Standing?

For the first time, organizers promise to glorify a veritable contingent of specific, named alleged local Holocaust collaborators

including: Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, Kazys Škirpa, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra)Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Racism | Comments Off on On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day

Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LATVIA  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

Introduction

Next month, the European Union and NATO will again be faced with the annual city-center march in Riga, the Latvian capital, glorifying the country’s Hitlerist Waffen SS. I had of course for years heard about the infamous March 16th marches in Riga when old members of the Latvian Waffen SS, their sympathizers and those who feel nostalgic about the good old time under Nazi rule proudly parade through the central streets of the beautiful capital of Latvia, ending their solemn march in front of the Freedom Monument, where they – solemnly and hierarchically – lay bundles of flowers at the foot of the monument and sing the national anthem.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Belgium, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?

Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”


 


OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Andrius Kulikauskas

I am inspired by the deep feelings which have been stirred amongst Litvaks regarding the fate of the Vilnius Sports Palace built on top of the Jewish cemetery. I wish for our state of Lithuania to do its utmost on behalf of Lithuanians to restore the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius as a symbol of our aspiration for the closest friendship between Lithuanians and Jews. I realized that it would be most helpful for me to present my thoughts in Lithuanian.

“From the top of Gediminas Castle, do we want to see and cherish, for hundreds of years to come, what the Communist Party Chief saw (the Sports Palace) or what the Grand Duke of Lithuania saw (the Jewish cemetery)?”

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Citizenship, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Dismantle the Sports Palace and Revoke the “Revocation of Hospitality”

Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery



OPINION  |  PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

by Dovid Katz

Editor’s note: Reprint from The Times of Israel, where this op-ed appeared on 13 December 2015.


Back in 2009, a rancorous dispute over the old Vilna Jewish cemetery was ostensibly solved. Two new buildings, despite worldwide protests, would be allowed to remain, and in return, no more land would be pilfered from the cemetery at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The burial ground goes back to the late fifteenth century, at least. After the Holocaust, with virtually no descendants left to worry about, Soviet authorities helped themselves to the gravestones for use in building projects, but left many thousands of graves intact. A galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors were buried there. But once the 2009 “Peace of Piramónt” was brokered (with help from Western embassies here), emotions cooled as all sides got on with their lives.

skeltas-3 black background lite

Future symbol for a capital city in the European Union? by VULOVAK / DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Citizenship, Double Games, Dovid Katz, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Liveliest Cemetery

Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)



O P I N I O N    /    H I S T O R Y

by Andrius Kulikauskas

01-SkirpaRastikisKlimasLozoraitisBurauskaite

As of October 28, 2015, the home page of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania has a link to an authorative statement by General Director Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė about Kazys Škirpa. She responds to a request for information by the City of Kaunas, which has a street in Škirpa’s name. Škirpa was Lithuania’s representative in Berlin, the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front, organizer of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet rebellion and Prime Minister of Lithuania’s Provisional Government in 1941. In bold letters she emphasizes:

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion | Comments Off on Documents Which Argue for Ethnic Cleansing (by Kazys Škirpa, Stasys Raštikis, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas in 1940-1941 and by Birutė Teresė Burauskaitė in 2015)

It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries



O P I N I O N   /   P I R A M Ó N T   /  P A P E R   T R A I L   /   O P P O S I T I O N   /   C E M E T E R I E S

by Milan Chersonski

Milan ChersonskijTranslated from the Russian by Ludmila Makedonskaya (Grodno); English version approved by the author, Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij), longtime editor (1999-2011) of Jerusalem of Lithuania, quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. He was previously (1979-1999) director of the Yiddish Folk Theater of Lithuania. The views he expresses in Defending History are his own. See also Milan Chersonski section. Photo © Jurgita Kunigiškytė.

There were many festive occasions celebrated once Lithuania declared its independence in 1990. So many hopes and expectations were inspired by the sweet word freedom. Free-ee-dom! Laisvė! Had it ever been possible to even imagine beforehand, taking one example, that Lithuania would hold a celebration to honor Israeli Independence Day, dear to Jews all over the world? The new state organized a large event at the Palace of Culture of the Trade Unions in Vilnius in honor of a faraway state, which in Soviet times was mentioned only as “the aggressive state of Israel.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on It’s Not Just About Old Jewish Cemeteries

Neo-Nazi Alleged to Work in Lithuanian Economy Ministry Didn’t Like DH’s Report on Vilnius Conference



VILNIUS—The pseudonymous neo-Nazi blogger “Zeppelinus,” long alleged to be the alias of a high official in the Ministry of the Economy (DH still awaits a reply to our open letter of 2013 to the relevant minister), is notorious for his racist, antisemitic, and homophobic images that continue to needlessly damage Lithuania’s good name (sampling at end of article). This web journal’s editor has long been one of his many photoshop and  photofake targets, naturally a source of pride for any and all within Vilnius’s bona fide human rights community. As some Lithuanian human rights activists put it, “If you didn’t make it into Zeppelinus’s sicko gallery, you’re not really doing enough for human rights in this country.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazi Alleged to Work in Lithuanian Economy Ministry Didn’t Like DH’s Report on Vilnius Conference

Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania



Human Rights  /  Antisemitism  /  Opinion

by Defending History Staff

The well-organized conference “Antisemitism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism”  was held on 30 September 2015 at Vilnius’s Novotel Hotel by the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HMRI) with partners (see program). It will go down in history as one of the most remarkable capers yet in the fraught local “Dead Jew Business,” as it is increasingly becoming known. The biggest shock of the day was that one of the three keynote morning session speakers was Swedish-born Lithuania-resident filmmaker Jonas Ohman, known in town for his (far right style) glorification of postwar resistance fighters — one of the most painful issues of Baltic antisemitism in the twenty-first century — without the slightest mention of the alleged Holocaust perpetrator background of the precise figures glorified.

But the film maker chosen for the morning session manages at the same time to also be a (far left style) Israel baiter, whose current “humanitarian project” is a petition asking the mayor of Vilnius to sack a Jewish (Israeli-Lithuanian) advisor on the basis of social media “silly photos” that become bacteriologically antisemitic when recycled in his own petition, and beyond, in its recontextualized, politically charged incarnation. Far from doing the same to counter officials and advisors with neo-Nazi links, he boasted in his talk (amateur video) of his links to Right Sector and other Ukrainian groups that adulate wartime Holocaust perpetrators. When he was trashing Israel, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, Amir Maimon, sitting in the hall, boldly called out a question: “Are you rewriting the history?” (at time code 13:31).

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Litvak Identity Theft?, News & Views, Opinion, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another “Conference on Antisemitism” in Lithuania

On the Eve of the 30 Sept. 2015 “Conference on Antisemitism and Radicalism” in Vilnius



From our front page of 29 September 2015:

Wednesday’s Conference in Vilnius on Antisemitism and Radicalism

Will it confront issues or be another de-facto government PR exercise?

Will the conference discuss neo-Nazi marches allowed to take over the center of Kaunas each February 16th and the center of Vilnius each March 11th? Shrines, plaques and street names that honor Holocaust collaborators? Attacks on Holocaust survivors by state commissions? Defamation of Jewish partisan veterans? Absence of state apologies to defamed Jewish partisan heroes? Prosecutorial persecution of Lithuanian Holocaust truth-tellers and other violations of freedom of speech? Whether neo-Nazi PR master “Zeppelinus” is still a high Economy Ministry official? The 2010 legalization of swastikas? 2010 criminalization of Western views of World War II? 2015 project to build a $25,000,000 convention center in the heart of Vilnius’s old Jewish cemetery? A Protestant pastor spoke out; so did Litvak rabbis from around the world, a Holocaust survivor, and the top expert on the cemetery’s history. But when the chief rabbi of 11 years supported the international consensus, he was fired for his opinion. His views on antisemitism in Lithuania could have enlightened this conference — but he was not invited to speak.

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Select Bibliography: Media on Ukraine’s Holocaust Issues (2014-2015)


[Date of last update; Compiled by Dovid Katz]



July 2015

23 July 2015.  BBC Newsnight: ‘The far-right group threatening to overthrow Ukraine’s government’ by Gabriel Gatehouse.

10 July 2015.  Jerusalem Post: ‘Wiesenthal Center slams Ukrainian Holocaust bill’ by Sam Sokol.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Canada, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, News & Views, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Select Bibliography: Media on Ukraine’s Holocaust Issues (2014-2015)

High Intrigue Over the Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



by Dovid Katz

Updates in [brackets] to 12 July 2015  

VILNIUS—According to Lithuanian media sources, including the highly respected English-language Lithuania Tribune (now merged with Delfi.lt), the government, working in concert with property developers, plans to declare the controversial project of a huge convention and entertainment center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery site as a “project of national importance.” The move enables an application to the European Union for a grant of 13 million euros (14.64 million US dollars at current rates) as part of a grand-total (for now) of 22.8 million euros (25.67 million US dollars) for the new complex. The nation’s prime minister has told Lithuanian media that “after the modern congress center is completed, private investors could build a hotel, parking lots and other infrastructure,” eliciting fears that all of the old Jewish cemetery is becoming a cash cow slated for developers for years to come. The Lithuania Tribune / Delfi.lt report concludes with an estimate of “110 million euros in economic and social benefits over 15 years” in addition to “600,000 foreign tourists and 2.2 million local tourists to Vilnius over that time period, with their spending estimated at 183 million and 60 million euros, respectively,” in other words, with profits from the old Jewish cemetery exceeding the equivalent of 250 million dollars, apart from the millions to be had from the building projects per se. Some estimates are provided in Baltic Course.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Double Games, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, United States, US State Dept Manipulated?, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on High Intrigue Over the Fate of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Would this Building Project be Pursued if the Cemetery Were the Resting Place of Christians?



O P I N I O N    /   C H R I S T I A N – J E W I S H   R E L A T I O N S   /   C E M E T E R I E S

by Pastor Michael Maass

I would like to make an observation concerning the use of Jewish cemeteries for building projects, as this has come to be a major issue of controversy in Lithuania, and in other nations as well.

I would like to pose a question:  Would these building projects be pursued if the cemeteries in question were the resting places of Catholics, Protestant Christians, or other non-Jewish people?

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Michael & Fausta Maass, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Would this Building Project be Pursued if the Cemetery Were the Resting Place of Christians?

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The national Lithuanian television channel Lietuvos rytas TV recently (on May 4) broadcast a show by veteran talk-show host Rūta Grinevičiūtė (surname recently changed to Janutienė) called Nuoga Tiesa, “Naked Truth,” which posed the question, “Do you want the Jews to return again [sic] to Lithuania?” Viewers were invited to call in and/or vote by special telephone lines for Yes and No with a one euro toll per call. For that and a number of other reasons the entire program had something of the macabre about it, and although some of the guests made some important points, all of them seemed to miss certain glaring details which would have been the center of attention in the West.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television

Jerusalem Debate on Antisemitism in Lithuania: Deputy Foreign Minister and Dr. Efraim Zuroff



Debate in Jerusalem, at World Forum for Combating Antisemitism, at Session on Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Eastern Europe

I: Summary document released by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry boasts of “accomplishments in liquidation of consequences of the Holocaust”

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Purveyor of Racist, Misogynist, Antisemitic, Homophobic, Nazist “Art” is Alleged to Work in Lithuania’s Economy Ministry



VILNIUS—Defending History has still had no reply to its open letter of August 2013 to the Minister of the Economy, asking him to look into multiple media reports that the pseudonymous “Zeppelinus,” Lithuania’s best-known purveyor of hate-popart on the internet is indeed a senior civil servant in his own ministry. The issue came to the fore once again in recent weeks with his “appeal” to the head of the Jewish community, and his latest production following a recent controversial conference (conference report).

The following are samples of his “art” in the service of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism alongside glorification of Nazism. Samples can readily be found for other prejudices, including anti-Polish and anti-Russian hate. Hopefully human rights organizations will continue to counter such materials, first and foremost by establishing, in partnership with law enforcement, the identity of the purveyor of the hate materials, and the answer to the question about alleged continued high employment in a government ministry. An earlier smaller sampling with full translation is available here. Full disclosure: This journal’s editor has on occasion been a target of Mr. Zeppelinus, too.

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Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



O P I N I O N

by Tomas Venclova

The following text is the authorized English translation, by Geoff Vasil, of Professor Venclova’s address at a conference on Holocaust issues, organized by Rūta Vanagaitė, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. The original Lithuanian text. Video of Tomas Venclova speaking. Conference program. Conference’s final press release.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Tomas Venclova, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015

Advertisement for Church Service Flaunts Congregation Stepping on Old Jewish Gravestones



CEMETERIES  /  REFORMED EVANGELICAL CHURCH  /  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUS—The website of the Reformed Evangelical Church services this weekend advertised today’s Sunday service with a previously-made photo of pastors and worshippers posing for a photograph with their shoes pressing into the pilfered Jewish gravestones, some of which still have visible writing, of which the steps to the church are made. The church has still issued no public statement on its retention of the Soviet-era made-of-pilfered-Jewish-gravestones steps even after its much-celebrated reconstruction and restoration less than a decade ago.

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New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

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Wiesenthal Center Releases Vilnius Municipality’s 10 March Response to Appeal to Halt Neo-Nazi Takeover of Downtown Vilnius on Lithuania’s Independence Day


The Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the response received by its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to his 3 March appeal to the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, the nation’s capital, to halt the planned neo-Nazi march in the city’s center on independence day, March 11th. The response was received on 10 March by emailed PDF, and seems to fail to address the requests in the letter that the municipality ensure that Nazi symbols, racially exclusionary slogans and glorification of Holocaust collaborators not be allowed in the city center on the national holiday.

Dr. Zuroff’s letter of March 3rd elicited the following reply on the 10th of March (as PDF):

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An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015



O P I N I O N   /   N E O – N A Z I   M A R C H E S

by Geoff Vasil

 

Afunny thing happened on the way to the neo-Nazi march. I saw a man walking towards me, and thought I knew him. Apparently he thought the same thing, and we both said hello in Lithuanian as we passed one another. As I pondered how we might know each other, it came to me: I had seen him at an earlier neo-Nazi march, probably the one in Kaunas a month earlier. He thought I was a fellow marcher, apparently, or at least not an enemy to the cause.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Events, Geoff Vasil, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015

Defending History’s Eyewitness Report of Riga, 16 March



In the East of EU-NATO-Land: Again, Latvian Authorities Grant Riga Old Town and its “Liberty Monument” on March 16th to 1500 Worshippers of Hitler’s Waffen SS Latvian Divisions

All Waffen SS members swore an oath to Adolf Hitler, some were recycled Holocaust killers.  Lithuania’s far-right leaders J. Panka and R. Čekutis, fresh from neo-Nazi march in Vilnius, were on hand as honored guests; British neo-Nazis came for the event. For the second year in a row, the prime minister forbade ministers from attending. The antisemite who went around seeking Jewish observers to “enlighten” them (video).

Top left: Sea of flowers placed at Liberty Monument to honor Waffen SS. Top right: throng marches through historic old town. Bottom from left: heavy police presence; an antisemitic poster distributed by one of the event’s supporters.

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Zeppelinus Issues a New Hate Poster in Vilnius



Latest Poster from “Zeppelinus” Who is Alleged to be High Official at Lithuania’s Economy Ministry

NEWEST EFFORT MOCKS LOVE OF COUNTRY BY ROMA,  LEFTISTS,  JEWS,  BLACKS,  POLES AND LGBT.  SELECTION OF EARLIER PRODUCTIONS HERE.  “FULL DISCLOSURE” — HE HAS ALSO DEDICATED MONTAGES TO DH EDITOR.

Lithuania for Everyone. But where, then, is the country of the Lithuanians?” The signs read “I am Lithuania” with symbols interpolated, based on the actual sign (center) carried by head of the Union of Jewish Students at last Wednesday’s neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius.

Will the “Human Rights Monitoring Institute” maintain its usual silence? Where are The Bagels?

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Wiesenthal Center’s Press Release Following Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius



VILNIUS—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office, in Jerusalem, today issued this statement from Vilnius, where its Director for East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, came to monitor yesterday’s neo-Nazi march on Lithuania’s independence day, as part of his month of monitoring of all four Baltic neo-Nazi events from 16 February to 16 March.

The text of the press release follows:

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Vilnius, March 11, 2015



1,500 Neo-Nazis and Far-Right Extremists Again Given Vilnius’s Main Boulevard on Nation’s March 11th Independence Day; They Parade from Cathedral Square to Nation’s Parliament with Fascist Symbols and Chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for [Pure] Lithuanians) 

STATEMENTS FROM PRECEDING DAYS;

UPDATES: FOLLOWING THE EVENT — JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LITHUANIA’S STATEMENT AND REPORTSIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER; GEOFF VASIL IN DH

Flag with Swastika Hoisted Outside Nation’s Parliament for Over an Hour

Photos: Geoff Vasil (left image) and Defending History (right image)

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An Open Letter from Professor Pinchos Fridberg



O P I N I O N

Editor’s note: The following open letter has been translated from the original Yiddish which will appear separately. See also the English version of the statement referred to in the open letter.

For many years now I have been starting the day by reading the latest on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithunia. Today for the first time in a long time I saw a published statement by chairperson Faina Kukliansky which I would happily sign on to. I would like to say: Bravo, Faina Kukliansky!

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Run-Up to the March 11, 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius…



Will Lithuania’s Leaders Let 25th Independence Day be Marred by Neo-Nazis Commandeering Capital’s Center?

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The Latest:

Last-minute statements from the head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and the Simon Wiesenthal’s Center director of East European Affairs. From Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

Appeals from Dr. Zuroff to the mayor of Vilnius, and Dr. Vilhjálmsson to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).

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On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center



VILNIUS—On the eve of the planned neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius, slated for 3 PM on March 11th, Lithuania’s independence day, the chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, issued a statement on the community’s website, which was followed within minutes by a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The full text of both statements follows:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Faina Kukliansky, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Icelandic Author Calls on Vilnius Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI) to Break Silence on Neo-Nazi Marches


REYKJAVIK—Dr. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, an historian, archaeologist and human rights specialist in Iceland and Denmark, who has in recent years contributed to Defending History, today released to the media his letter to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute asking if the HRMI will again this week maintain its perennial silence about the capital’s annual neo-Nazi marches on the March 11th independence day. The municipality of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, has been granting the city center on independence day to neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists who have since 2008 been chanting each year exclusivist and exclusionary slogans as well as sporting racist and Nazi signs and symbols. In recent years, they have also featured huge banners honoring a local 1941 Nazi collaborator in the Holocaust who was in 2012 reburied with full honors by the state.

The neo-Nazi marches in central Vilnius on independence day got underway in 2008.

Dr. Vilhjálmsson’s letter reads as follows:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, EU, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Icelandic Author Calls on Vilnius Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI) to Break Silence on Neo-Nazi Marches

Efraim Zuroff Appeals to Vilnius Mayor Zuokas to Cancel Neo-Nazi March


JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released the following letter from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to the mayor of Vilnius, Artūras Zuokas, concerning next week’s planned neo-Nazi march slated for the center of the city on the nation’s independence day.

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Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb 16th 2015 March in Kaunas



The following statement appeared  today on the website of the Jewish Commnity of Lithuania:

The Position of the Lithuanian Jewish Community on the Slogan Chanted by the Lithuanian Union of Nationalist Youth, “Lithuania for Lithuanians”

The Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community, deeply upset and concerned by recent anti-Semitic attacks in the Kingdom of Denmark and France and by the rise in neo-Nazi tendencies all over Europe, calls upon the government institutions of the Lithuanian state to take stock of the situation in Lithuania at the current time. By identifying the problem of ethnic hate early, we can prevent possible tragedy in the future.

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Efraim Zuroff Leads Kaunas Protest


 


Event Summary and Links to Coverage:

Defending History’s Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March on Feb. 16th

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITH SWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Kaunas, February 16, 2015



Wiesenthal Center – Defending History Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March

UPDATE:

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITHSWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATEDIN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff Writes to Mayor of Kaunas on Neo-Nazi March



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office here today released the text of a letter sent by director Dr. Efraim Zuroff to the mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania, Andrius Kupčinskas, concerning the neo-Nazi march scheduled for February 16th. See also Defending History’s correspondence with the mayor’s office and our background summary.

SEE EXTENDED COVERAGE ON PAGE 1

The text of the letter is as follows:

February 12, 2015
Meras Andrius Kupčinskas
Laisves al. 96 201 kab.
Kaunas
LITHUANIA


Dear Mayor Kupčinskas,

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, EU, Events, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff Writes to Mayor of Kaunas on Neo-Nazi March

In Europe, a New Public Curtain of Revisionism, Oblivion and Antisemitism



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

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Isee two new important social and political trends now that have a direct bearing, first on the memory of what happened in Europe and the USSR during the Holocaust and other massacres and, secondly, on the life of the Jews presently living in Europe.

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Member of Lithuania’s Jewish Community Speaks Out on Neo-Nazi Parades, and Govt. Flowers at Monument to Hitler’s Soldiers



O P I N I O N

by Jacob Piliansky

Iam proud to be a Litvak, and I am proud to be a citizen of independent and democratic Lithuania. I very much enjoy walking in our city’s delightful Vingis Park, as well as downtown in the beautiful city center area.

 However, I feel suddenly both sad and shocked, when I see neo-Nazi parades with swastikas and other fascist symbols  along  Gedimino Boulevard on our independence day repeating the yelled chants of “Lithuania for [ethnic] Lithuanians.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Jacob Piliansky, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Member of Lithuania’s Jewish Community Speaks Out on Neo-Nazi Parades, and Govt. Flowers at Monument to Hitler’s Soldiers

Latvian Musical that Sanitizes Holocaust Perpetrator Starts its Grand Tour



New Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Herberts Cukurs

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REACTIONS & REPORTS:

From Jerusalem: EFRAIM ZUROFF IN I24; IN THE JERUSALEM POST; IN THE LONDON JEWISH CHRONICLE

From Riga: ALEKSANDRS FEIGMANIS IN DEFENDING HISTORY

From Liepaja: MIKE COLLIER REVIEWS PREMIERE IN LSM.LV

ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTS

Tickets sold online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar” or Just “Springtime for Hitler”?)

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Antisemitism and Banking 



O P I N I O N   /   A N T I S E M I T I S M

by Ivo Mosley  (London)

To Vita Rose Mosley, born 21 October 2014 

A good deal of today’s nationalist and right-wing antisemitism rests upon the fantasy that “the Jews” control the world through finance and banking. Nor is the same fantasy entirely absent from left-wing antisemitism, which currently tends to concentrate itself on criticism of Israel.

The fact that some Jews are very good at banking is, apparently, enough to justify race-hate in the antisemite’s mind. Of course, a number of Jews are also prominent as scientists, civil rights activists, generals, hairdressers, actors, musicians, historians, etcetera, without anyone blaming science, civil rights, theatre, hairdressing, war, music, history, etcetera on “the Jews.”  This highlights one of the traditional functions of antisemitism: if something is obviously bad, “the Jews” can be reached for as a scapegoat.

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What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia



O P I N I O N / H I S T O R Y

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Herberts Cukurs (1900-1965) had been an officer and a famous aviator during the years of the interwar Latvian Republic (1918-1940). After Nazi Germany’s 1941 occupation of Latvia, he became a significant figure in the infamous Arājs Kommando (or Sonderkommando Arajs), a notorious killing unit during the Latvian Holocaust. The Arājs group consisted of about 1,200 people, mostly local Latvians. It was established at the beginning of July 1941 within the German security services.

The Arājs Kommando carried out the killing of at least 30,000 Jews in numerous cities and towns in Latvia. The toll included the family of my grandfather in Vilani (in Yiddish Vilon), which occurred at dawn on August 4, 1941. The victims were his parents, and his sisters and their husbands and young children.

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Our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Interrogated for Articles Opposing Glorification of Nazi Collaborators and Current Neo-Nazism



M E M O I R   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Note: This memoir continues the narrative started in the author’s earlier accounts of 22 May 2014, of 4 July, and of 9 July. See also our report of 22 May with image and translation of the actual summons. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified in state-funded public settings can be found (in reverse chronological order) in the DH sections Evaldas Balčiūnas and Collaborators Glorified. See also sections on Free Speech and Human Rights. Other Lithuanian citizens disturbed by police for opposing state honors for Holocaust collaborators include Saulius Beržinis, Aleksandras Bosas, and Giedrius Grabauskas. This memoir was translated by Geoff Vasil and the final version approved by the author.


My wife told me that the police who delivered the summons on the afternoon of July 8th 2014 carried a large A4 format photograph of me. The police had serious plans… If I hadn’t told my wife to accept the summons, I might have been subject to an operation to locate or even arrest me. It was possible to laugh, but I needed to find transportation. I didn’t want to take my car. There and back entailed five hours of driving. It would be exhausting, and the experience could be expected to throw me off balance during the interrogation.

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Is “Sugar Herbert Sugar” the Latvian Version of “Springtime for Hitler”?



New Latvian Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs

Tickets now available online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar“?)

Are we back to Springtime for Hitler, just focused on celebrating a local mass murderer of Latvian Jewry? Will the hosting venues, including the City Cultural Centers in Jelgava and Valmiera, and prestigious halls in RigaLiepājaRēzekne and Ventspils also be holding memorials for their citizens murdered in the Latvian Holocaust in which Herberts Cukurs, known as the “Hangman of Riga,” took such a personal and violent part?

Produxers, The - Springtime for Hitler Magazine (PSoL 060612) combined (1)

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Latvian Court Downgrades Holocaust While High Society Readies for New “Springtime for Cukurs” Musical



Latvian Constitutional Court Upholds “Double Genocide” Restriction on Free Speech

Opinion that there was one genocide in the country (the Holocaust) remains criminalized by 2014 law, in the spirit of the laws passed in Hungary and Lithuania in 2010

Comment on Eastern EU speech laws by: Milan ChersonskiLeonidas DonskisDovid KatzEfraim Zuroff; See also: FREE SPEECH Section

———

At the Same Time: New Latvian Musical (“Sugar, Herbert, Sugar”) Glorifying Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs Rehearsing for October 11th Premiere.

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Latvian School Features “Judenfrei” Sign



from JTA

The entrance to a nursery school in Latvia owned by a traditionalist lawmaker featured a German-language sign advertising the establishment as being “Jew-free.”

The posting of the sign, which reads “Judenfrei,”  was revealed Monday by the Latvian daily Vesti Segodniya. The paper published a photo of the sign on the fence of the Pucite (“Owlet”) private school.

According to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the establishment is owned by Imants Paradnieks, an ultranationalist Latvian lawmaker.

On Tuesday, Twitter users confronted him to ask whether the sign was genuine or just “a provocation.” He provided no reply, but wrote: “The Kremlin is full of jackals.”

The Riga-based school has a history of Nazi sympathies. In 2012, Pucite hosted two men dressed in Waffen SS uniforms, who held what they defined as “a lesson of patriotic upbringing” for the school’s early childhood program. A video of the lesson, which was uploaded to the nursery school’s website, showed two men encouraging 3-year-old children to play with World War II-era weapons.

 

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Respublika “Slightly” Edits Efraim Zuroff’s Obituary for Shimon Alperovich



M E D I A   W A T C H

Vitas Tomkus’s daily tabloid, Respublika has, alongside its sister title, Vakaro Žinios (Evening News, also owned by Tomkus) in many views inflicted tangible damage upon Lithuania and its image. The papers leave a long trail of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic invective, not seldom in sensationalistic formats that mirror the 1930s.

The most notorious instance was perhaps the 2004 front page featuring the unseemly cartoon of the The Jew and The Gay holding up a globe under the headline “Who runs the world?” recycled (and again, on page 1), in 2009. Vakaro Žinios (Evening News) even featured a sickening photo montage of the then head of the Jewish community Dr. Shimon Alperovich, and a Soviet-era abacus, with text suggesting the Jews were conspiring to defraud the Lithuanian people. More recently, a front page was devoted to a local rabbi with a headline about Jews not having to pay taxes. The word Žydai (Jews) alone was in massive size type, as on numerous occasions, e.g. when the paper accused “The Jews” of plotting to steal the building housing the Culture Ministry. It is almost all out of a dark satire.

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2014 Baltic Marching Season Concluded


 

Interface of Pro-Fascist Marches, Holocaust Revisionism, and Contemporary Racism

EFRAIM ZUROFF IN THE HUFFINGTON POSTJERUSALEM POST AND TABLET

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Summary Coverage of March 16th 2014 Waffen SS Event in Riga



Over 1500 March in Central Riga’s Annual March 16th Waffen SS Fest

MEDIA LINKS


Riga Waffen SS March 16th 2014

Liberty Monument and the heart of Riga are again gifted to the glorifiers of Hitler’s Waffen SS in Latvia.


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Summary Coverage in Run-Up to the 16 March 2014 Waffen SS March in Riga


Riga, Sunday March 16th 2014:

Could Riga (now the EU’s “Capital of European Culture”) Really be Allowing Yet Another City-Center Waffen SS Celebration on March 16th?

JUST IN:

BRITISH MEP RICHARD HOWITT ISSUES STATEMENT

MINISTER FACES SACKFOR FIRST TIME, GOV SAYS: STAY AWAY

BALTIC TIMES: AGAIN SPEWING OUT NATIONALIST PR AS “REPORTING”?

MONICA LOWENBERG’S “SPEAK NO EVIL” (video); PETITION NEARS 7000

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British MEP Richard Howitt, European Parliament Spokesperson on Human Rights, Issues Statement on Riga Waffen SS March


Richard Howitt, British Labour Member of the European Parliament, and spokesperson for the European Parliament Human Rights Sub-Committee today issued the following text of his statement which will be read out in Riga this Sunday March 16th.

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For Seventh Year Running, Neo-Nazis and Ultranationalists Given Center of Vilnius on Independence Day



O P I N I O N /  E Y E W I T N E S S    R E P O R T

by Dovid Katz

Lithuania’s March 11th independence day is celebrated by the free world, not least by those who remember the incredible news that spread around the globe in March 1990, when Lithuania’s parliament (Seimas) voted 124 to zero to break away from the Soviet Union. The courage of the parliamentarians from a broad spectrum of parties and movements was stark; the country was still occupied by ominous Soviet forces (and blood would be spilled by Soviet forces’ violence less than a year later, in January 1991). The March 11th celebration has been anchored  over the years by a record of achievement that includes the transition to democracy, the joining of the European Union and NATO, and the rapid integration with Western society, economy and mores.

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Run-up to the March 11th 2014 Neo-Nazi / Ultranationalist March in Central Vilnius



Vilnius, Tuesday March 11th 2014:

Neo-Nazis Announce March Through Old Town and City Center to Nation’s Parliament

Efraim Zuroff Will Lead Silent, Peaceful Remembrance as Protest

Colleagues of all backgrounds are invited to meet Dr. Zuroff, Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter, author, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office. He will lead a silent, peaceful remembrance of the annihilated Jewish citizens of Vilnius and Lithuania, in protest against the neo-Nazi marchers and the continued granting of city center venues on independence day. Meeting on Tuesday, 11 March 2014, 3 PM at Old Town Hall (Rotušė) Square. First meeting at edge of square, on the corner of Stiklių and Didžioji outside Amatininkai Café, monitoring the march (itself scheduled for 4 PM) to its conclusion on Gedimino near the Seimas (parliament).

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Summary Coverage of 16 February 2014 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas



 

Over 1,000 March in Kaunas City Center with Banner Honoring the 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister who Helped Send City’s 30,000 Jews to their Death


PRESS: ALFA.LTALKAS.LTBALSAS.LTDELFI.LTJERUSALEM POSTKAUNODIENA.LTSWC REPORTTV: KAUNAS NEWSOPINION: Olga ZabludoffEfraim Zuroff

Section on Pro-Fascist Marches

Lithuanian TV interviews with Efraim Zuroff and Dovid Katz:

1 and 2

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Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

The UK’s home secretary Theresa May, the Hungarian Jobbik party, and Holocaust Memorial Day have all been in the press lately. Reading how the leader of pro-Nazi Jobbik party was, in the interests of free speech, allowed to hold his rally in Hyde Park, I have to question why Ms. May allowed this man entry into the UK and hadn’t called his racist attitudes, “unacceptable” as she had in the past with, “Every Muslim should be a terrorist” Zakir Naik. What had changed?

In the capital of European culture? Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

In the Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

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Kaunas, Vilnius, Riga: Planned 2014 Neo-Nazi Marches (Summary Coverage to 26 Jan. 2014)



KaunasFebruary 16thVilniusMarch 11thRigaMarch 16th:

Will Lithuania’s President and Prime Minister Speak Out to Stop City-Centers on Independence Days Being Gifted to Neo-Nazis Again to Glorify the Holocaust’s Local Collaborators?

Last year, the president, prime minister and mayor failed to rise to the occasion of the neo-Nazi marches

Zabludoff’s Petition Nears the 3,000 Mark

First Stop — Kaunas on February 16th

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Summary Coverage on Upcoming “Baltic March Season”



2014 Winter Nazi Marching Season in the Baltics? 

KaunasFebruary 16thVilniusMarch 11thRigaMarch 16th:

Will Lithuania’s President and Prime Minister Speak Out to Stop City-Centers on Independence Days Being Gifted to Neo-Nazis Again to Glorify the Holocaust’s Local Collaborators?

Last year, the president, prime minister and mayor failed to rise to the occasion of the neo-Nazi marches

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Respublika’s 18 January 2014 Front Page Article “Kaunas Jewish Community Chairman Gercas Žakas: One Point for Discord between Lithuanians and Jews”



The following translation, by Geoff Vasil, is of a front page article in the Vilnius daily Respublika (18 January 2014), featuring an interview with Kaunas Jewish community leader Gercas Žakas (the words superimposed on the photo roughly translate: “Perhaps someone really is provoking us and sowing discord intentionally”). The Lithuanian original is available online.

See also the the front page spread featuring interviews with Faina Kukliansky and Moshe Beirakas which appeared two days earlier, on 16 January 2014.

 ZAKAS in Respublika


 

Kaunas Jewish Community Chairman Gercas Žakas: One Point for Discord between Lithuanians and Jews

January 18, 2014

by Olava STRIKULIENĖ

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas was initially surprised when the daily newspaper Respublika, where his son Arijus worked as a reporter, was deemed an antisemitic newspaper. And now Žakas is surprised our politicians sported a Wehrmacht symbol during Defenders of Freedom Day.

Žakas: “What symbol are you talking about?” Žakas asked. “I know nothing, I was away. Apparently someone wasn’t paying enough attention.”

Respublika: “During the commemoration of January 13 at parliament forget-me-not pins were passed out, which are really a symbol of the Nazi German Wehrmacht military.”

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Respublika’s Editorial on Nazi Symbols in Use


 

The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil for Defending History, of the editorial that appeared on 17 January 2014 in the Vilnius daily Respublika (p. 4), a day after the front page story (16 Jan.) featuring photographs of Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirakas, and a day before the front story (17. Jan) featuring Gercas Žakas.

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Respublika’s 16 January 2014 Front Page Article “Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time”



The following translation, by Geoff Vasil, is of a front page article in the Vilnius daily Respublika (16 January 2014). The Lithuanian original is available online. See also: Geoff Vasil’s comment on the article which may serve as an introduction to some of the local issues and nuances.

Respublika Jan 2014 interviews with Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirak


 

Jews Don’t Want to Wear Nazi Symbols a Second Time

January 16, 2014 by Asta MARTIŠIŪTĖ and Olava STRIKULIENĖ, Respublika reporters MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, chairman of the Supreme Soviet/Restored Parliament of Lithuania, speaking at a solemn event to commemorate January 13 [1991], spoke in his speech about the Holocaust as well. Was it necessary to mention this at a ceremony dedicated to the 14 defenders of Lithuanian freedom who died and who hadn’t even been alive during Holocaust times? Beyond this, January 13 [commemorations] didn’t come off without yet another curiosity. A Wehrmacht symbol was used in the “Forget-me-not” campaign and MP Rasa Juknevičienė said next January it will be possible to acquire these symbols [lapel pins] throughout Lithuania, and not exclusively in the capital. Continue reading

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Head of Major Parliamentary Committee in Lithuania’s Parliament says: Israel should pay the pensions for Holocaust-era Rescuers; He Adds: “Jews Just Want to Take”


VILNIUS—Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) veteran Bronius Bradauskas, chairman of the parliament’s powerful Budget and Finance Committee, has sparked controversy in comments he made about whether those who rescued Jews during World War II deserve state pensions in line with “freedom fighters’ pensions” received among others by veterans of the postwar “Forest Brothers,” some of whom were recycled Holocaust perpetrators.

He told Baltic News Service (BNS):

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Latvian State Dance Troupe Displays Nazi Swastika



R E P O R T / O P I N I O N

by Graeme Atkinson (Hope Not Hate) and Monica Lowenberg (DefendingHistory.com)

Source: HOPE not hate/DefendingHistory.com Sunday, 24 November 2013.


 

Riga dance ensemble swastika Nov 2013

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Antisemitism Denial — An English Intellectual Speciality



A German translation of this article appeared in Die Presse (Vienna) on 7 November 2013. The original English text appears here with the author’s permission. Dr. Denis MacShane, a former British MP and Foreign Office minister writes widely on European politics. His Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism (Weidenfeld and Nicolson) appeared in 2008.  See also Defending History’s Denis MacShane section.

O P I N I O N

by Denis MacShane

England has the most provincial intellectual class in Europe. Very few professors (unless they are foreign language teachers or specialists in say French or Italian history) will speak and read a foreign language fluently. They do not pick up Le Monde, Der Spiegel or El Pais and wait, sometime for years, for a translation of a key work published in a European language to appear in London.

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Genocide Center in Vilnius Responds to the List of Alleged Holocaust Perpetrators Published by the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel



Editor’s note:  The following is an English translation by Geoff Vasil of an article that appeared on Delfi.lt on October 25, 2013. The images that appeared with the original Lithuanian text are not reproduced here.

In 1999, The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel published Crime and Punishment, compiled after many years of work, by its chairman, Tel Aviv attorney Joseph Melamed, a native of Kovno (Kaunas), Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Jewish partisan resistance in Lithuania and of the Israeli War of Independence. In the late 1990s, Mr. Melamed wrote repeatedly to Lithuanian prosecutors, explaining that some Holocaust perpetrators and witnesses were still alive and investigations could be pursued.

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Survey on Levels of Prejudice Among Lithuanian Military Brass and Troops


Delfi.lt reports that the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense has received the results from a study they undertook to gauge prejudice among leadership and troops as compared to Lithuanian society at large.

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Former BNS Chief Artūras Račas Lets Loose Again on Fridberg, Kanovičius, Pancerovas, Zuroff…



The following is a translation of an October 2, 2013 piece published by former Baltic News Service chief Artūras Račas on his blog. For context, see some of Mr. Račas’s previous work on Holocaust related issues, e.g. his comments on state investigations of Holocaust survivors who became anti-Nazi partisans (2008) and on Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Dr. Efraim Zuroff (2013); see also Prof. Fridberg’s reply.


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Program of the 15-16 Oct 2013 Kiev Conference on Antisemitism (on the Centenary of the Beilis Trial)



The following is the text of the final program received today from the organizers:


International Conference on Anti-Semitism

on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the Beilis Trial

15-16 October, 2013, Kyiv, Ukraine

Fairmont Grand Hotel

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Old Blood Libel Plaque Still Displayed, Without Comment, at Bernardinai Church in Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

WHERE THE BLOOD LIBEL STILL STANDS: Seventeenth century plaque commemorating a seven year old allegedly killed by 170 Jewish-inflicted wounds, on display at Bernardinai Church, Maironio Street 10 in Vilnius

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“Swastika Wood Art” Up & Down Gedimino Boulevard at Central Vilnius Arts Fair



The following is the content of a front page item that appeared on 11 September 2013:

The arts and crafts festival held on Vilnius’s central Gedimino Boulevard featured a number of disturbing swastika themes in woodwork. Here is one example:

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Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church



C E M E T E R I E S    /    C H R I S T I A N – J E W I S H   R E L A T I O N S

by Dovid Katz

The following are translated (and edited) excerpts from a longer letter in Yiddish received from a survivor who has asked to remain anonymous, about the Jewish gravestones that form the steps going up to the Reformed Evangelical Church at Pylimo 18 in Vilnius.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Dovid Katz, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Reformed Evangelical Church (Vilnius) | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Where You Have to Step on Old Jewish Gravestones to go to Church