anti-Semitism

Down the Memory Hole: Orwellian Genocide Center Contradicts Itself Again

Down the Memory Hole: Orwellian Genocide Center Contradicts Itself Again

A week ago the Lithuanian news channel Info TV aired a program featuring a discussion between Mission to Siberia television program participant and Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania historian Mingailė Jurgaitė, and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. They discussed the decision by the Lithuanian parliament to declare 2021 the year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, who was a member of the Lithuanian Activist Front in 1940 and 1941. The LAF was a pro-Nazi underground militia responsible for most of the atrocities against Lithuanian Jews in the early months of the German occupation in the summer of 1941, when the LAF declared an independent national government with Kaunas as its capital, the so-called Provisional Government.

LAF propaganda took aim mainly at Jews. In Kaunas in 1941 the LAF kidnapped several thousand Lithuanian Jews and their Provisional Government issued orders they be held at a concentration camp to be located at the Seventh Fort in Kaunas.

WJC Welcomes IHRA Members’ Strong Condemnation of Rehabilitation of Nazi Collaborators

WJC Welcomes IHRA Members’ Strong Condemnation of Rehabilitation of Nazi Collaborators

July 7, 2020, NEW YORK–Today the 35 member and liaison countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) issued a statement condemning “all attempts to rehabilitate the reputations of persons who were complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma.” The statement conveys the IHRA’s resolve to address the phenomenon within IHRA members.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder welcomed the move, adopted at the 2020 IHRA Berlin Plenary, as a clear sign of a commitment to oppose and isolate such efforts. He said, “Historical truth and accuracy need to be safeguarded for the sake of future generations. Any efforts to distort or deny the true facts of the Holocaust, including the rehabilitation or even glorification of Nazi collaborators, are extremely dangerous as they open the way to all kinds of racist and xenophobic movements.”

Lauder warned that “all societies need to remain vigilant, educate the population about the true facts of history and strongly condemn any efforts to challenge the historical record.”

The World Jewish Congress has long focused on advocating against the phenomenon of rehabilitation and glorification of Nazi collaborators, a widespread issue, particularly in post-Communist countries.

Lauder added, “Efforts to create false national narratives lead to a whitewash of countries’ histories during the Second World War. This rewriting of history, where the people of respective countries are represented as victims and heroes and never villains, can become fertile ground for blind nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, neo-Naziism and xenophobia.”

European Jewish Congress President Calls on Portuguese Parliament Not to Harm Sephardi Citizenship law

European Jewish Congress President Calls on Portuguese Parliament Not to Harm Sephardi Citizenship law

Thursday, July 2, 2020–European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor has written to Portugal’s president of the Assembly of the Republic Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues calling on him to insure that a law passed in 2013 which provides Sephardi Jews with the possibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship is not harmed by recent attempts to pass amendments which would damage the applicability, intention and spirit of the original law.

“I urge you to amend the administrative flaws in the implementation of this historic law without losing sight of, or endangering, what is essential: the opening of a real, achievable path to citizenship of the Portuguese Republic to the descendants of persecuted Portuguese Sephardic Jews,” Dr. Kantor wrote. “This act of tolerance and reconciliation is as relevant, symbolic and inspiring to other nations as it was when it was approved five years ago.”

In recent years there has been a discernible increase in the number of applications by Sephardi Jews for Portuguese citizenship, and some parliament members have sought ways to stem the numbers, including proposing that applicants must reside in Portugal or have a “effective connection” to the Iberian nation.

Lietūkis Garage Massacre Commemorated June 26

Lietūkis Garage Massacre Commemorated June 26

The Kaunas Jewish Community and members of the public gathered in Kaunas June 26 at the site of the infamous Lietūkis garage massacre of Jews by Lithuanians in the early days of the Holocaust in the last days of June of 1941. Relatives of victims attended as well. The ceremony was followed by kaddish for the Jews buried at the Slobodka (Vilijampolė) and Žaliakalnis Jewish cemeteries in Kaunas.

Renowned German Historian Christoph Dieckmann Says Lithuanian Heroes Noreika, Škirpa Were Both Fascists

Renowned German Historian Christoph Dieckmann Says Lithuanian Heroes Noreika, Škirpa Were Both Fascists

by prof. Pinchos Fridberg

Vilnius

At 5:30 A.M. yesterday, July 2, 2020, the Lithuanian Public Radio and Television (LRT) web page posted an interview with noted German historian Christoph Dieckmann:

Vokiečių istorikas apie Holokaustą Lietuvoje: žydus priversdavo šokti, dainuoti, o tada sušaudydavo” [German Historian on Holocaust in Lithuania: Jews Were Forced to Sing, Dance, Then Were Shot]

The point of my text here is to point the reader’s attention to the phrase “Both of them were fascists.” To avoid mistakes, here is that portion of the interview which I captured:

Translation:

In the book you wrote the majority collaborated with the Nazis seeking to serve their country and led by a certain vision of the future of their country, usually a fascist one, to create an ethnically pure, militarily strong nation state. So didn’t Kazys Škirpa and Jonas Noreika also believe they were serving their country?

Both of them were fascists. Noreika became one while very young, Škirpa at a bit later age. Škirpa had a fascist vision of Lithuania, a Lithuania without Jews. He spoke out in favor of driving the Jews out rather than murdering them. Noreika held similar views, he saw a Lithuania without Jews because he believed they were powerful and hindered the creation of statehood. …]

P.S. The same day at 9:57 A.M. the LRT internet site posted an abbreviated translation of the interview in Russian.

It’s interesting to note that this passage was omitted in the Russian version.

Co-Chairs of Goodwill Foundation Send Letter to Parliamentary Speaker on Naming 2021 Year of Lukša-Daumantas

Co-Chairs of Goodwill Foundation Send Letter to Parliamentary Speaker on Naming 2021 Year of Lukša-Daumantas

July 2, 2020

His Excellency Viktoras Pranckietis
Speaker of the Seimas
Vilnius, Lithuania

Dear Speaker Pranckietis,

We are deeply troubled to learn that the Seimas will entertain a resolution which would dedicate 2021 the Year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, a leader of the World War II-era Lithuanian Activist Front.

The Lithuanian Activist Front was founded in Berlin and was an early ally of the Nazis in the occupation of Lithuania. It was proudly anti-Semitic, and many of its members were directly involved in the persecution and murder of Lithuanian Jews. Despite its anti-Soviet focus and later conflict with the Nazi powers, its vision of an independent Lithuania was of an ethnically “pure” homeland with no place for Jewish citizens.

Some may question if there is sufficient documentary evidence to show that Lukša-Daumantas was guilty of war crimes. That is not relevant to the decision before the Seimas. There is today a worldwide reckoning with history and growing recognition in all Western democracies that even past leaders of great accomplishment must forfeit any honor if they were also racists, bigots, or anti-Semites. Surely Lithuania should do no less.

With that in mind we implore you to take no action which might give honor to any leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front. Instead you should defer such matters to the International Commission for Evaluating the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes appointed by the Lithuanian president for a clear and critical understanding of this tragic period in the country’s history.

As co-chairpersons of the Lithuanian Goodwill Foundation, we have valued the warm cooperative relationship we have had with you since your first days as Speaker. We know we share a common commitment to maintain the legacy and history of Jewish life in Lithuania and to build an inclusive and tolerant future. It is in this spirit that we write to you.

With sincere regards,

Faina Kukliansky, Chairwoman, Lithuanian Jewish Community; Co-Chairperson, Goodwill Foundation

Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs; Co-Chairperson, Goodwill Foundation

Lithuanian Jewish Community Requests Information on Neo-Nazi Terrorist Act in Vilnius

Lithuanian Jewish Community Requests Information on Neo-Nazi Terrorist Act in Vilnius

June 29, 2020

To:
Israeli embassy to Lithuania
info@vilnius.mfa.gov.il

US embassy to Lithuania
WebEmailVilnius@state.gov

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry
urm@urm.lt

Last week Lithuania media reported an act of terrorism planned in Lithuania in 2019 and the arrest of a suspect in this case who allegedly belongs to the ultra-right extremist organization Feuerkrieg Division. The male suspect, born in 1999, left a homemade bomb at a building on Balčikonio street in Vilnius next to the Technopolis building and spray-painted the name of his organization and a swastika at the same location.

According to the news website 15min.lt, this extremist group targets Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, religious leaders and police.

The incident was only reported last week in mid-June of 2020 although the crime was allegedly committed in October of 2019.

For that reason the Lithuanian Jewish Community is requesting information from you on whether your institutions were informed last year about the attempted terrorist act and/or about the arrest of this person who belonged to a radical group.

The LJC is concerned the Community received no information about this, no one contacted us, and the police took no measures to insure security. While many Jewish communities in a number of European countries enjoy protection provided for by the state, the LJC in Lithuania has for many years now provided and paid for our own security at headquarters and the synagogue in Vilnius. In situations such as this one, the LJC believes the police and Lithuania’s State Security Department should contact LJC leaders and inform them of such events, all the more so since this ultra-right group targets Jews specifically.

Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman
Lithuanian Jewish Community

Neo-Nazi Terrorist Case Announced 8 Months Later

Neo-Nazi Terrorist Case Announced 8 Months Later

Photo montage courtesy LRT

Lithuania media are reporting a case against alleged neo-Nazi terrorist Gediminas Beržinskas went to court June 17. The case concerns his placing a homemade bomb outside a Western Union office in Vilnius and leaving neo-Nazi graffiti on the wall next to the bomb back on October 6, 2019. The bomb was quickly diffused by Lithuanian law enforcement bomb experts and the suspect was traced and arrested on October 15, 2019, despite trying to disguise himself from video cameras during the attempted bombing. Police and prosecutors are refusing to say why they hid the crime so long and are claiming at the same time there are no other suspects in the case and the accused acted alone.

Beržinskas allegedly used spray paint to write “FK Division,” “Siege” and to paint a swastika at the crime scene. Police and prosecutors say FK means “Feuerkrieg Division,” a now mostly-defunct group of right-wing neo-Nazi extremists who targeted Jews and others they considered non-white. Lithuanian police say their ideology was based on the book “Siege” by American neo-Nazi James Mason. According to police, Beržinskas’s bomb was functional and would have exploded with a force equivalent to 2.5 kilograms of TNT.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community believes police should have given some indication earlier of imminent terrorist activities against Jews in Vilnius in order to take better security precautions, security which the Community pays for out of its own pocket. We also wonder why other incidents of neo-Nazi activity including vandalism and graffiti aren’t investigated with even a fraction of the same enthusiasm shown when a foreign financial institution is involved.

Tsemakh Shabad Statue Vandalized

Tsemakh Shabad Statue Vandalized

The statue made by Lithuanian sculptor Romualdas Kvintas ensemble featuring Vilna Jewish doctor Tsemakh Shabad–the prototype for the Dr. Aybolit character in children’s poems and stories by the Russian writer Korney Chukovsky–and a child was vandalized with acid or paint.

The attack was the second over the weekend on Jewish monuments in the Vilnius Old Town. On June 26, the day before, the monument to the Vilna Gaon was also vandalized, also using acid or paint.

The Tsemakh Shabad was vandalized before soon after its unveiling in 2007 using acid. Some in the Lithuanian media are speculating the attacks are intended to mirror the wanton destruction of statues in the USA and UK by mobs. Meanwhile Lithuanian Nazi leader and Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika’s shrine at the very center of Vilnius remains unharmed and under 24-hour surveillance by video cameras. Recently news media have reported on a repeat-offender intent on making her mark on statues around Vilnius even before the Black Lives Matter mass hysteria swept the United States. The elderly primary school teacher was arrested last year after police reviewed video surveillance showing her throwing red paint on an installation at Vilnius’s Lūkiškės Square intended to commemorate Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans.

Vilna Gaon Monument Vandalized June 26

Vilna Gaon Monument Vandalized June 26

That statue commemorating the notional residence of the Vilna Gaon and the shulhoyf where the Great Synagogue and a number of other shuls once stood, built around the Gaon’s residence, was vandalized on June 26 using acid.

How It Happened

How It Happened

Lithuanian writer Rūta Vanagaitė and German historian Christoph Dieckmann presented their new book called “How Did It Happen?” at a launch ceremony held at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius on June 25.

Dieckmann delivered what amounted to a lecture on the topic of the Holocaust in Lithuania lasting about one hour, and proposed rejecting some accepted Holocaust terminology as judicial rather than historical. He said looking through the lens of ethnicity creates a false picture, even though the actors at the time did so. He also said the idea of perpetrators, victims, collaborationists and so on should be revisited and the true picture is more complex, with people collaborating with the Nazis at one point and the same people resisting them at another. He said the grey cover of the Lithuanian-language edition of the book reflects this ambiguity.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky served as moderator and challenged Dr. Dieckmann’s seeming rejection of the legal aspects in favor of the historical truth. Dieckmann responded saying so much of the narrative is dominated by legal defense and prosecutorial arguments that it’s difficult to see what really happened.

Four Historical Shames Which Afflict Us Lithuanians

Four Historical Shames Which Afflict Us Lithuanians

by Arkadijus Vinokuras DELFI.lt

History forms the collective experience and mentality of the generations of today and tomorrow. Running away from the unpleasant facts of history which are perceived as shameful, the aspiration of denying or justifying them, leads to a psychological, cultural and political dead end. Today Lithuanians are afflicted by four historical shames. These are the impotency of the debased pre-war government of Smetona, the first Soviet occupation, the Holocaust and the second Soviet occupation.

The first historical shame for Lithuanians. The rule of Antanas Smetona, the period from 1939 to 1940. The fissure in the Lithuanian state began in 1926 when the Tautininkai carried out a coup. Civic society along with democracy which is characterized by a political opposition in parliament were buried almost as soon as they were born.

You can go as deep as you want into the negative and positive side of each and every political figure from the time, into his assumptions concerning political decisions, or look at the global geopolitical processes of the time. You also can, in the name of justification, use the argument “we cannot decide about the events of that time from the tower of our present knowledge” to justify any stupidity or crime against peoples and humanity. But the handover of Klaipėda to the Nazis without any fight on March 23, 1939 and that same year the consent to allow 20,000 Soviet soldiers into Lithuania, and finally the handover of Lithuania without any resistance to the Soviets on June 15, 1940–these things are unanimously considered shameful by the Lithuanian public today. Even the public back then understood non-resistance to the Soviets was shameful, as was president Smetona’s flight, the public sees these as negative. (It should be noted here that under international law consent received under duress or by force is not binding, it is null and void, and doesn’t change the fact of aggression and the occupation of Lithuania).

Stop European Holocaust Denial, Focus on Lithuania

Stop European Holocaust Denial, Focus on Lithuania

Please join us for a special online town hall event Stop European Holocaust Denial Focus: Lithuania co-hosted by ICAN and the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ).

Tuesday, June 23, at 8 PM EDT | 5 pm PDT

Watch live!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ICANAction/videos/285276522660390/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v6KNnjikfs

Please join us for a special live event, a virtual town hall featuring Grant Gochin and Silvia Foti speaking about state-sponsored Holocaust denial in Lithuania. Grant Gochin asked the question: “Who actually murdered my family during the Holocaust?” and discovered the fact that the murderer is a current national hero of Lithuania. Silvia Foti was asked by her mother to write the biography of her national hero grandfather, only to discover that he was one of the worst genocidal murderers of Jews during the Holocaust. Silvia Foti’s grandfather murdered Grant Gochin’s family. They have come together to tell the awful truth of how their families have been connected for the past 100 years, and how the Lithuanian government has engaged in a massive cover-up to implement the tenth stage of genocide: denial. In this town hall meeting, we will discuss with Gochin and Foti their paths to discovery of this cover-up, and how it impacts the real world today.

This Country Would Never Have Become the Jerusalem of Lithuania Had It Not Been a Safe and Tolerant Place

This Country Would Never Have Become the Jerusalem of Lithuania Had It Not Been a Safe and Tolerant Place

Just before quarantine was announced the Bagel Shop received an important visitor. The interview done several months ago remains just as important and perhaps even more so now. We spoke about the importance of ethnic food to Jews living in Lithuania and about a people’s right to have ethnic foods. We await the re-opening of the Bagel Shop Café with bated breath and hope to continue this conversation in front of an audience.

Bagel Shop Interview with Meghan Luckett, Cultural Attaché at the US embassy in Vilnius

Interview by Dovile Rūkaitė, LJC project manager.

Do you like bagels? What’s your favorite kind?

Yes, of course we love bagels. My favorite are everything bagels, we buy them at your bagel shop and in the market and eat them almost every week. We make bagel sandwiches with baked egg, spices and all kinds of stuff. One of our colleagues is a great cook, she makes us homemade bagels. Once we brought her some from Trader Joe’s and she made us excellent everything bagels. My wife is a great cook, she bakes sometimes, but we usually buy them because they are very good.

Parliament’s Ethics Commission Begins Probe into Sieg Heil Salute, Prosecutor Declines

Parliament’s Ethics Commission Begins Probe into Sieg Heil Salute, Prosecutor Declines

The Lithuanian parliament’s Ethics and Procedures Commission has announced they will investigate what appeared to be two Lithuanian MPs giving one another a Nazi salute during a vote in the National Security and Defense Committee on the Government’s annual report.

Ethics Commission document here.

At the same time police investigators tasked with looking into the same incident by the Vilnius District Prosecutor’s Office announced there was insufficient evidence to begin a criminal investigation. The letter sent by police investigators to the Lithuanian Jewish Community claimed they needed special help from Google, Inc., which was unlikely to cooperate in the matter, that MP Audrys Šimas didn’t know he was being filmed and thus didn’t give a Nazi salute in public, that MP Audrys Šimas denies his gesture was intended to represent the Nazi sieg heil salute, and cites some “right to name” and “right to appearance” in the Lithuanian criminal code as having been violated possibly by whomever decided to place a video recording of the committee meeting on youtube. The letter concludes by suggesting this is a case for the civil courts.

Prosecutor and police investigator’s letter here.

LJC, Roma Social Center, Lithuanian Human Rights Center Coalition to Strengthen Human Rights in Lithuania in 2020

LJC, Roma Social Center, Lithuanian Human Rights Center Coalition to Strengthen Human Rights in Lithuania in 2020

The Lithuanian Jewish Center, the Roma Social Center and Lithuanian Human Rights Center held a workshop in advocacy on June 11 under the “Coalition to Strengthen Human Rights in Lithuania in 2020” project. Advocacy means publicly defending the rights and interests of the public and ethnic communities in this case. LJC and regional Jewish Community members and representatives of the Roma Social Center and Lithuanian Human Rights Center shared strategies and methods for discovering and addressing existing problems and provided real-world examples of successes.

Girvydas Duoblys, the advocacy director for the Galiu gyventi coalition, and Jurgita Poškevičiūtė, a member of the same coalition and the manoteises.lt group, addressed over 40 participants from cities and towns throughout Lithuania. Besides practical and theoretical material, participants also had the opportunity to meet each other and share ideas.

Participants discussed the lack of government reaction to public anti-Semitism and against Roma, extant ethnic stereotypes, the most recent destruction of the Roma camp outside Vilnius causing an increase in homelessness in the Lithuanian capital, illegal actions and discrimination based on ethnicity, commemorating Jewish mass murder sites and ethnic discrimination vis-à-vis Lithuanian citizenship, among other things.

#SkirtingiNeatskirti #CoalitionBuilding

European Jewish Congress Statement on Anti-Semitic Chants at Anti-Racist March in Paris

European Jewish Congress Statement on Anti-Semitic Chants at Anti-Racist March in Paris

Sunday, June 14, 2020–European Jewish Congress (EJC) president Dr. Moshe Kantor called on anti-racist marchers and organizers to insure anti-Semitism not be adopted by some within their ranks after large groups of marchers at a rally in Paris’s Place de la République on Saturday shouted anti-Semitic slogans such as “dirty Jew.”

“People who claim to march against hate and racism while shouting violent anti-Semitic statements are hypocrites and acting against the worthy cause of the majority,” Dr. Kantor said. “They are trying to hijack the justifiable anger and hurt of anti-racist demonstrators.”

“They have shown that they would rather sabotage an important rally for their own hate, displaying their true colors and showing their priorities. They are not anti-hate or anti-racist, they are just anti-Semites and the authorities should deal with them as people who incite to violence.”

Culture Historian Violeta Davoliūtė’s Population Displacement in Lithuania in the 20th Century

Culture Historian Violeta Davoliūtė’s Population Displacement in Lithuania in the 20th Century

by Jūratė Juškaitė

Historians calculate about 17,000 people were deported from Lithuania during the first Soviet occupation. They were sent into Russia on cattle cars from June 14 to 18, 1941, and many didn’t survive their first winter. Most people who live here know these facts, but the tragedy turns out not to be uniquely Lithuanian.

Violeta Davoliūtė’s book “Population Displacement in Lithuania in the Twentieth Century” was recently completed and will appear soon [it appeared in 2016], in which the culture historian recalls the tragedy and attempts to put the deportation of Jews at the same time within the general Lithuanian context again. She says the story which appeared during the Lithuanian independence movement was ethnocentric and often way too “Catholicized.” Although official commemoration policies appear complex to say the least, and more complicated by the prevailing stereotype of the “Judaeo-Bolshevik,” Davoliūtė says these and similar stereotypes don’t divide deportees, who formed a close-knit community of shared experience.

Full text in Lithuanian here.

On the Article “Did Kazys Škirpa Rescue a Jewish Rabbi?”

On the Article “Did Kazys Škirpa Rescue a Jewish Rabbi?”

by professor Pinchos Fridberg

Vilnius, obzor.lt

Information for my webpage readers

For your consideration, the article “On the Article ‘Did Kazys Škirpa Rescue a Jewish Rabbi?'”

This article of mine was created simultaneously with the Russian version “По поводу публикации «Kazys Škirpa išgelbėjo žydų rabiną?» Казис Шкирпа спас раввина?” of June 1, 2020, at obzor.lt

You might well ask, “Why did you post a Lithuanian text on a Russian instead of a Lithuanian newspaper internet site?” I will tell you frankly:
Lithuanian sites won’t publish me.

It is a strange thing that the New York Times and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quote me, and yet I am an undesirable author on Lithuanian sites.

Would you believe that in 2013 Artūras Račas, who was then the director of the Baltic News Service news agency, wrote an article about me called “Dear Jewish ‘professor,’ your anti-Semitism is wearisome: dedicated to Pinchos Fridberg” in which he passed on to me some great advice:

“Dear Pinchos, you who call yourself ‘professor,’ …

“stick a gag in your mouth, crawl under the table and be quiet.”