anti-Semitism

Eightieth Anniversary of the Liquidation of and Uprising in the Vilnius Ghetto: Film “Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions”

Eightieth Anniversary of the Liquidation of and Uprising in the Vilnius Ghetto: Film “Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions”

The Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum will screen the documentary film “Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions” following a discussion of the film and the artist. The film was made by Christa Singer in 2003 and looks at the life and work of Samuel Bak through the prism of his childhood in the Vilnius ghetto. In the film he returns to Vilnius, walks the streets of the ghetto and visits Ponar where his father and grandparents were murdered. The film is in English and there won’t be subtitles in Lithuanian. The event begins at 6:00 P.M. on September 21. The Tolerance Center is located at Naugarduko street no. 10 in Vilnius.

imdb entry here.

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of the Vilnius Ghetto: The Holocaust, Anti-Semitism and Remembering for the Future

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of the Vilnius Ghetto: The Holocaust, Anti-Semitism and Remembering for the Future

Historian Christoph Diekmann, film-maker Saulius Beržinis, independent Holocaust archive founder and director Darius Staliūnas and Lithuanian History Institute historian Tomas Balkelis will hold a panel discussion moderated by Dina Porat from Yad Vashem about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and commemorative policies at the National Martynas Mažvydas Library at 5:00 P.M. on September 20. Before the discussion begins, Beit Vilna director Mickey Kantor, Israeli ambassador Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein and National Martynas Mažvydas Library director Renaldas Gudauskas will deliver brief addresses. The panel discussion will be followed by brief speeches by Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and representatives from Lithuania’s International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania.

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of the Vilnius Ghetto: Readings and Activity for Children

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of the Vilnius Ghetto: Readings and Activity for Children

Vilnius’s Adomas Mickevičius Public Library will host a reading from 3rd and 4th grade students in Lithuanian from the book “Akmenėlis” [Little Stone] by Marius Mickevičius by professional actors telling the story of friendship, hope and fear experienced by children imprisoned in the ghetto, with a talk about the stone as a symbol for remembering and commemorating history, followed by an activity where every child will be invited to paint a stone. It happens at 11:00 A.M. on September 19, and then again at the same time on September 21, at the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library at Trakų street no. 10 in Vilnius.

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Walking Tour

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Walking Tour

When the Nazis and local Lithuanian collaborators instituted a ghetto for Jews in Vilnius, it was in two parts: a smaller ghetto for the aged and infirm, and a larger ghetto for able-bodied younger Jews to be used as slave labor. The smaller ghetto was liquidated almost immediately, meaning those imprisoned there were slaughtered. This event is a walking tour of the large ghetto which endured for several years. Walking tour participants will gather at the historic address Žemaitijos street no. 4 at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 19. Formerly known as Strashun street before and during the Holocaust, this street was located inside the ghetto and was the address of the Jewish Educational Library headed by Herman Kruk during the life of the Vilnius ghetto. It is also next to the balcony where Jewish partisans fired on Estonian Nazi troops during the liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto.

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Walking Tour of Vilnius Ghetto through Eyes of Children

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Walking Tour of Vilnius Ghetto through Eyes of Children

Guide Gina Justina Raibužytė will lead walking tours of the Vilnius ghetto focusing on how it appeared to the children trapped inside, starting from the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library at Trakų street no. 10 in Vilnius, at 11:00 A.M. on September 18, 11:00 A.M. on September 20 and 12:00 noon on September 22. Registration via internet is required by filling out the form here: https://forms.gle/ZrosR3TYVB3wF6bc7

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: City of the Living, City of the Dead Photo Exhibit

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: City of the Living, City of the Dead Photo Exhibit

This is a photography project authored by Robert Wilczyñski where archival photos of the Warsaw ghetto are superimposed on the current, rebuilt Polish capital, accompanied by texts taken from diaries, testimonies and other sources documenting daily life, suffering and death in the Warsaw ghetto as well as the Warsaw Uprising. Pawel Freus is curator of the exhibition. The exhibit went on display September 12 at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum located at Naugarduko street no. 10 in Vilnius and will run till December 15 of 2023.

#VilniusGhetto80

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Exhibit “Children of the Ghetto Tell Their Stories to Children of Today”

Eightieth Anniversary of Liquidation and Uprising of Vilnius Ghetto: Exhibit “Children of the Ghetto Tell Their Stories to Children of Today”

This September Lithuania and the world marks the 80th anniversary of the liquidation and uprising of the Vilnius ghetto back in 1943 when several thousand Jews imprisoned and still suriving there were sent to concentration camps and murdered. At the same time, Jewish underground paramilitary forces attempted to stage a defense, and several hundred left to join the Soviet partisans battling the Nazis and their local collaborators in Lithuania and elsewhere.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is proud of the courage and unbreakable will of the prisoners of the Vilnius ghetto and invites you to celebrate their memory in a series of events to be held throughout September into mid-November this year.

The exhibit “Children of the Ghetto Tell Their Stories to Children of Today” is one such on-going event which began September 4 at the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library at Trakų street no. 4 in Vilnius and which will run till September 30. It consists of brief sketches of the life of children in the Vilnius ghetto with guidance and access to books by children about the Holocaust for those interested in learning more.

#VilniusGhetto80

Lithuania Needs a Separate De-Nazification Law

Lithuania Needs a Separate De-Nazification Law

by Arkadijus Vinokuras, LRT.lt, September 5, 2023

With great pomp the de-Sovietization law has been released into public circulation. Correction: the law bans the propagation of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and ideology in any form. The law allows for the removal of symbols of both authoritarian ideological from public spaces.

Nonetheless, the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania [hereinafter Genocide Center] and the worshipers of Nazi collaborators arrayed around that institution are standing shoulder to shoulder when it comes to the removal of symbols from the period of the Nazi occupation. When Genocide Center historian Alfredas Rukšėnas cynically called for respecting the feelings of those who honor the murderer Juozas Krikštaponis, the question arose of whether Lithuania isn’t being guided by a broken moral compass.

The worship of Nazi collaborators is a method by which Lithuania’s radical right-wingers push their pro-fascist and authoritarian ideas on society and put a stop to historical truth. At the same time, attempting to hide their obvious affiliation with the Nazis, they beat their chests crying out they are against anti-Semitism, respect victims of the Holocaust, condemn Nazis and fascists, but still they worship these “heroes” who called for a fascist revolution in Lithuania. Who called for getting rid of the Jews and murdering them.

Full text in Lithuanian here.

Lithuania’s Genocide Center: A Bullhorn for the National Unification Party?

Lithuania’s Genocide Center: A Bullhorn for the National Unification Party?

by Arkadijus Vinokuras, Times of Israel, September 2, 2023

Director of the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania [hereinafter Genocide Center] Arūnas Bubnys in refusing to carry out the decision from the so-called De-Sovietization Commission to remove a monument commemorating murderer of Jews Juozas Krikštaponis, under pressure from public anger, has ordered the municipal administration of Ukmergės [Vilkomir] to remove the bas-relief image and name of Juozas Krikštaponis and to rededicate the monument to local Lithuanian partisans.

Finally, some initiative has been shown, although the law was grossly violated. Nonetheless, the issue of what influence the National Unification Party [Nacionalinis susivienijimas] and other interest groups have over Genocide Center commemorative policies remains unanswered.

The situation is absurd: Genocide Center director Arūnas Bubnys acting as sovereign has come up with his own pseudo-rules and has refused for months to follow the order from the De-Sovietization Commission, an order which, according to Lithuanian law, must be carried out within 5 days.

Bavarian Governor Orders Deputy to Fully Explain Himself to Clear Allegations of Anti-Semitism

Bavarian Governor Orders Deputy to Fully Explain Himself to Clear Allegations of Anti-Semitism

Bavaria’s governor says his deputy has not done enough to prove he wasn’t responsible for an anti-Semitic flyer as a high school student

BERLIN (AP)–The governor of the German state of Bavaria said Tuesday [August 29] that his deputy had not done enough to prove he wasn’t responsible for an anti-Semitic flyer as a high school student and ordered him to answer a detailed questionnaire to clear himself of any possible involvement in the scandal that caused an uproar in Germany.

Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday that when deputy governor Hubert Aiwanger was 17 he was suspected of writing a printed flyer calling for entries to a competition titled “Who is the Biggest Traitor to the Fatherland?”

Biblio File: Journey toward Dark Truths

Biblio File: Journey toward Dark Truths

Photo: Jews in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania are boarded onto trucks during a deportation action to a work camp c. 1942 (Image: US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

by Justin Amler, August 30, 2023

Our People: Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust
by Rūta Vanagaitė and Efraim Zuroff
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 240 pp., A$49.99

Under the terms of the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union in June 1940. After the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union, Lithuania was occupied by the Germans in June 1941.

Caught in the middle were the country’s Jews.

Our People is a book about a journey in search of truth in the face of authorities who want to take that truth and distort it into something quite different.

One of the greatest myths of the Holocaust was that it was Hitler and the Nazis alone who committed the atrocities against the Jews. But this is, at best, misleading. While the Nazis were the driving force behind the genocide of the Jewish people, they could not have succeeded without the collaboration of willing local citizens across many countries.

Golda Meir: 11 Little-Known Facts about Israel’s Remarkable Prime Minister

Golda Meir: 11 Little-Known Facts about Israel’s Remarkable Prime Minister

by Yvette Alt Miller, August 24, 2023

There’s a lot you don’t know about Israel’s Iron Lady.

The new movie Golda depicts former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir’s day-by-day decisions during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Viewers watch as Golda, played by Helen Mirren, juggles high-stakes diplomacy and brinkmanship over 19 excruciating days which defined her premiership. Israel ultimately won the war but with a terrible loss of life.

Here are 11 lesser-known facts about Golda Meir, one of Israel’s most famous founders.

1. Golda’s first memory was fearing for her life.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1898, Golda spent her first eight years in the shadow of horrific antisemitism there. Her very first memory was of her father Moshe desperately trying to reinforce the entrance to the little house they shared with another Jewish family while a violent mob brayed for blood outside.

Golda later described:

I can still recall quite distinctly hearing about a pogrom that was to descend upon us… I knew it had something to do with being Jewish and with the rabble that used to surge through town, brandishing knives and huge sticks, screaming “Christ-killers” as they looked for the Jews and who were now going to do terrible things to me and to my family…to this day I remember how scared I was and how angry that all my father could do to protect me was to nail a few planks together while he waited for the hooligans to come. (Quoted from My Life by Golda Meir: 1975)

Golda later described that the fear of that terrible night never left her, and helped motivate her to build a Jewish state where Jews could live freely in safety.

2. Her namesake was a Jewish grandma with a will of steel.

Lithuanian MP Who Espouses Anti-Semitism Moves on to Accusing Police of Rape

Lithuanian MP Who Espouses Anti-Semitism Moves on to Accusing Police of Rape

Lithuanian MP Remigijus Žemaitaitis who earned censure from his party, fellow MPs and leading Lithuanian political figures as well as a number of foreign ambassadors to Lithuania for making anti-Semitic statements on his facebook page in spring, and then continuing to do so as controversy swirled around him with demands from all sides for an apology, is again in the news. This time he’s apparently trying to generate political capital or at least get noticed by claiming a female Lithuanian police officer was raped by two male colleagues at a training workshop held in Kaunas in August of this year.

The Lithuanian Police Department responded to the accusations the next day, saying:

“The post Lithuanian member of parliament Remigijus Žemaitaitis posted yesterday about an alleged criminal act committed by officers IS NOT TRUE.”

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Israel Must Exist “For Eternity” Because of the Holocaust

Israel Must Exist “For Eternity” Because of the Holocaust

Times of Israel staff, August 28, 2023

Speaking to Israeli TV about her film role as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, the star actress declares she would join anti-government protest movement if she had the chance

British actress dame Helen Mirren believes Israel must exist forever, saying it was a lesson learned from the Holocaust, though she opposes the direction the current government is taking the Jewish state.

In an interview aired by Channel 12 on Sunday Mirren spoke about her leading role in “Golda” depicting Israel’s first and only female prime minister, Golda Meir, during the period of the fateful 1973 Yom Kippur War. The interview was recorded in July when Mirren was in Israel for the premiere of the movie at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

“I believe in Israel, in the existence of Israel, and I believe Israel has to go forward into the future, for the rest of eternity,” Mirren said. “I believe in Israel because of the Holocaust.”

She revealed there were those who had tried to talk her out of making the film due to Israel’s controversial position on the world stage, but, she said, “I’ve met such extraordinary people in Israel.”

“I know there is a base, a foundation of deep intelligence, thoughtfulness, commitment, poetry even, in Israel that is very, very special, I think,” said Mirren.

Full article here.

Grotesque Commemoration of Evil

Grotesque Commemoration of Evil

by Grant Gochin

Fearing stigmatization and persecution, Lithuanian rescuers of Jews awarded the “Righteous among the Nations” designation, often hid it from their neighbors and family members for decades. Today, the Lithuanian Government honors these Rescuers on a national level (as they should have from the very beginning). Unfortunately, the Lithuanian honors are not sincere and are just another performance. Jewish people who were saved are reduced to vehicles for Lithuanian virtue signaling.

“Righteous Among Nations” Lithuanians comprised only 0.04% of the Lithuanian population. These genuine heroes are now used by the State as an alibi for anyone who is Lithuanian, i.e. the 0.04% are presented to the public as the stereotypical norm, while the 99.96% of Lithuanians who were not “Righteous Among Nations”, are negated or their deeds rewritten. This is clear Holocaust distortion.

Krikštaponis

The case of Juozas Krikštaponis is far more illustrative of Lithuania then, and now. Krikštaponis was a vicious, genocidal murderer. But, he “only” murdered Jews. So, for Lithuania this is not any impediment to national honors. Lithuania honors so many murderers of Jews, that it appears this could be a standard for national hero status.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls for Immediate Removal of Statue Commemorating Juozas Krikštaponis in Ukmergė

Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls for Immediate Removal of Statue Commemorating Juozas Krikštaponis in Ukmergė

The De-Sovietization Commission convened by the Lithuanian parliament has presented recommendations to the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania (hereinafter Genocide Center) that the statue commemorating the partisan Juozas Krikštaponis in Ukmergė (Vilkomir) be removed. Unfortunately, instead of taking concrete actions to remove this statue commemorating a person responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews, the Genocide Center has sent a request to the Lithuanian Office of Prosecutor General to rescind this man’s status as a Lithuanian partisan fighter. This is clearly an attempt to prolong the process and to place responsibility on a different agency.

“Krikštaponis’s culpability in the Holocaust is not disputed. This is shown by the documents the Genocide Center has collected and in their own finding of history concerning him. Carrying out mass murder is a crime which is not annulled by other good deeds. In marking the 80th anniversary of the anti-Nazi resistance and liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto, this monument to Krikštaponis is an insult to the memory of all the victims and to their surviving family members,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman and attorney Faina Kukliansky said.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community calls upon the Genocide Center to take immediate action based on the recommendations by the De-Sovietization Commission to remove this statue to Krikštaponis from the city center of Ukmergė.

Removal of Monument to Lithuanian Nazi Collaborator Stuck

Removal of Monument to Lithuanian Nazi Collaborator Stuck

Although Lithuania’s De-Sovietization Commission sent a recommendation to the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania [hereinafter Genocide Center] for the removal of a statue commemorating [Nazi collaborator and Holocaust criminal] partizan Juozas Krikštaponis located in Ukmergė [Vilkomir], it appears a decision on the matter has been postponed. Genocide Center says since Krikštaponis’s status as a volunteer soldier hasn’t been annulled, it would be wrong to remove the monument stone honoring him. The Genocide Center says its leadership has asked the Lithuanian prosecutor general to remove his status as a volunteer soldier.

De-Sovietization Commission chairman Vitas Karčiauskas as well as people filing complaints about the statue are all unhappy with this decision by the Genocide Center and believe this is an attempt to postpone addressing the controversy. They say Krikštaponis’s role in Holocaust crimes is obvious and that the stone commemorating him needs to be removed.

Genocide Center deputy general director Vytas Lukšys reported the Genocide Center had signed a request to the Lithuanian Office of Prosecutor General Tuesday [July 25] for voiding Krikštaponis’s status as a volunteer soldier. He said they did so because it would be wrong to remove the marker commemorating Krikštaponis as long as he is recognized as having been a volunteer soldier.

Farewell Party for Outgoing US Ambassador

Farewell Party for Outgoing US Ambassador

Last week we bade farewell to outgoing US ambassador to Lithuania Robert Gilchrist. We thanked him for three and a half years of sincere friendship, genuine care, infectious energy and reliable partnership, as well as for his real interest in Litvak history and traditions, constant attention to culture and resolute support of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in all initiatives. We also saluted his lack of patience with all forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination. Immediately upon arrival, ambassador Gilchrist got involved with Holocaust commemoration and never passed up an invitation to attend a Holocaust event, even when COVID-19 was a threat. We thank him for his great contribution to sustaining the Jewish communities in Europe and for the attention he gave to regional Jewish communities as well. We wish him the best of luck and success in all his new postings and appointments. Until we meet again!