Holocaust

Problems Portraying Trump as Hitler

Problems Portraying Trump as Hitler

by Geoff Vasil

The main problem with those portraying Donald Trump as Hitler is that they don’t know the history of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich.

After 4 to 8 years of painting US financeer and former president Trump as a fascist dictator hell-bent on destroying American democracy, the latest attempts fall completely short.

If the commentators on MSNBC and CNN knew their stuff, they’d compare the assassination attempt on Trump to the Nazi trope of the blood flag. The blood flag refers to the Beer Hall Putsch when Bavarian police opened fire on the nascent National Socialist Party in Munich, and Hoerst Wessel lost his life. His blood stained a flag the new Nazis were carrying. Hoerst Wessel’s martyrdom became a tenet of faith in the party, the bloodied flag a religious relic and the Hoerst Wessel Lied or song an alternate anthem for Nazi Germany.

Silvia Foti Honored by City of Beverly Hills

Silvia Foti Honored by City of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, probably the highest concentration of wealth, success and power in the world, honored Lithuanian citizen Silvia Foti on Monday, July 15, 2024. The award was signed by all members of the city council.

In deciding to honor Foti the city council considered the following facts:

Silvia Foti holds dual citizenship in America and Lithuania. She has always remained loyal and patriotic to both countries. As a devout Catholic, she has stalwartly represented the finest ideals of honesty, integrity and compassion.

Silvia Foti is the granddaughter of the genocidal Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika who is continuously and fraudulently honored by the Lithuanian government as a national hero of Lithuania and a rescuer of Jews.

Commemoration of 80th Anniversary of Liquidation of Shavl Ghetto

Commemoration of 80th Anniversary of Liquidation of Shavl Ghetto

On July 15 people gathered in Šiauliai to remember the liquidation of the ghetto there on July 15, 1944, when the surviving approximately 3,000 Jews imprisoned there were sent to Dachau and Stutthof for extermination.

Faina Kukliansky’s mother was imprisoned in the ghetto. She recalled: “I am here not just as the chairwoman of the the Lithuanian Jewish Community. I am the daughter of a female prisoner of the ghetto. My grandmother miraculously was able to save two of her daughters, but not the third one. I was named after her, Feigele, little bird.”

She said we were in the debt of the ghetto prisoners and the Jews who died for their concord and unity, and so their sacrifice will not have been in vain.

Events in Kaunas Considered by Researchers: “Think about History, Understand Memory”

Events in Kaunas Considered by Researchers: “Think about History, Understand Memory”

by Jurgita Šakienė, kauno.diena.lt

An international academic conference to mark the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Kaunas ghetto has begun at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. Called “Think about History, Understand Memory,” the conference includes researchers from Lithuania and abroad who will present Jewish life before and during the Holocaust through the lens of history, politics, social sciences, the theater and the arts.

“This anniversary is a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to understand memory and to insure the lessons of the past inform our present and future,” Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein said during her speech opening the conference. Also giving welcome speeches were US ambassador Kara McDonald and Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas.

Germany’s ambassador Cornelius Zimmerman in his speech said, among other things, “It’s difficult to understand how these unspeakably brutal things could have happened. But they happened. I feel sadness, remorse and shame. It’s crucial to remember everything in order to prevent this from happening again.”

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Marking the 80th Anniversary of the Liquidation of Shavl Ghetto

Marking the 80th Anniversary of the Liquidation of Shavl Ghetto

July 15 is the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the liquidation of the Šiauliai ghetto in 1944 when the surviving 3,000 Jews were transported to Dachau and Stutthof concentration camps, condemned to die there instead. The Lithuanian Jewish Community and both Šiauliai Jewish Communities invite the public to remember and pay honor to the victims of the Šiauliai ghetto, the men, women, children and elderly who were murdered this July 15.

Program

11:30 A.M. Gathering at Šiauliai ghetto gate monument at the intersection of Trakų and Ežero streets to remember the victims;

12:00 noon procession to Chaim Frenkl villa at Vilnaius street no. 74 with stopover on Righteous Gentiles Square;

12:30 P.M. Commemoration of victims at Frenkl villa.

Transportation: there will be minibus to carry passengers to the event leaving from the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius at 8:15 A.M. on July 15. Passengers must register before the event (see below).

Registration: Those wishing to attend are asked to please register before 4:00 P.M. on July 12 by calling Liuba Šerienė at (+370) 5 261 3003 or by sending an email to office@lzb.lt.

Rabbi Andrew Baker Receives State Award

Rabbi Andrew Baker Receives State Award

Photo by Robertas Dačkus

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda conducted a state awards ceremony July 6, Lithuania’s Coronation of Mindaugas Day. Co-chairman of the Goodwill Foundation and AJC International Affairs Department director Rabbi Andrew Baker received the Commander’s Cross “For Merit to Lithuania” at the ceremony in recognition of his work for justice for the Lithuanian Jewish community and commemoration of victims of the Holocaust, among other things.

Panevėžys Jewish Community Welcomes Guests from Israel with Roots in Panevėžys

Panevėžys Jewish Community Welcomes Guests from Israel with Roots in Panevėžys

Sonia Furman and husband visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community June 27. They live in Israel where Sonia’s husband served in the military as an airplane pilot.

Her mother Fryda was born in Panevėžys in 1919 and went to Memel/Klaipėda at the age of 14 for training for repatriation to Palestine. According to Israel statistics, 9.950 Jews from Lithuania did repatriate, but Fryda wasn’t one of them. She came back from the training course and moved to Šiauliai where she established a women’s clothing store. She married Yankel Furman from Šaukėnai in 1940 after the latter completed Lithuanian military service.

In August of 1941 the Šiauliai ghetto was established and Yankel and Fryda were imprisoned there. Sonia’s uncle Hershon was born in that ghetto in 1942 and was then murdered in the Kinder Aktion there.

Concert Dedicated to 80th Anniversary of Liquidation of Kaunas Ghetto

Concert Dedicated to 80th Anniversary of Liquidation of Kaunas Ghetto

Photo by George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Museum.

The Kaunas Jewish Community invites you to a concert in memory of the victims of the Kaunas ghetto. The concert is free and open to the general public. Following the concert, a procession will make their way to the monument marking the former gates of the Kaunas ghetto at Linkuvos street no. 2.

Time: 3:00 P.M., Wednesday, July 10
Place: Great Hall at Vytautas Magnus University, Gimnazijos street no. 7, Kaunas

Lietūkis Garage Massacre

Lietūkis Garage Massacre

by Jurgita Šakienė, kaunodiena.lt

Thursday respects were paid in a schoolyard in Kaunas to the memory of around 50 men who were murdered brutally. These events of more than 80 years ago–the Lietūkis garage massacre–are among the most horrific in the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania.

Members of the Kaunas Jewish Community gathered at the site of the tragedy.

“We must not forget,” Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas said.

Members of the Jewish community then went to the old Jewish cemeteries in Slobodka and the Žaliakalnis neighborhoods. It is believed the bodies of victims were brought to these locations for burial.

The mass execution was carried out on June 27, 1941, at what is now Miško street. The executioners publicly humilaited, tortured and then murdered victims who had been rounded up at random as a crowd looked on. Their selection was based on their Jewish ethnicity.

Dainius Žalimas on Kazys Škirpa and Other Lithuanian Nazis

Dainius Žalimas on Kazys Škirpa and Other Lithuanian Nazis

Dainius Žalimas served as the chief justice of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania from 2014 to 2021. He currently teaches. When protestors gathered to stop the city of Vilnius from taking down an illicit monument to wartime-era Lithuanian Nazi leader Kazys Škirpa, Lithuanian media went to Žalimas for commentary, because he had ruled in a case concerning Škirpa several years ago. The arrest of three protestors Sunday was followed by an unsanctioned but apparently announced protest in front of Vilnius City Hall Monday, where premade glossy posters were handed out to about 20 Škirpa fanatics, including one set of posters attacking Faina Kukliansky, the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, for allegedly dictating political decisions to Vilnius mayor Valdas Benkunskas, who had called the Škirpa shrine, illegally installed on the Vilnius court building and former KGB palace, an act of “hooliganism,” which was later redacted by other members of the municipality to “vandalism.”

Dainius Žalimas posted to facebook regarding the legacy of Lithuanian Nazi leader Kazys Škirpa by quoting himself from an interview conducted by 15min.lt a year ago. This is an unofficial translation of his self-quote:

Some of us mark June 23 as a day of national pride and post photographs from that time of Lithuanian soldiers and residents joyfully greeting the Lithuanian insurgents and Germans, as well as photos of Soviet POWs being led through the streets. Yes, the Russian Bolshevik occupation had gone much too far for everyone. So there was no reason to feel pity for the occupiers. Under other circumstances we truly could’ve had something of which to be proud.

Vilnius Municipal Workers Take Down Škirpa Monument as Police Arrest Three Protestors

Vilnius Municipal Workers Take Down Škirpa Monument as Police Arrest Three Protestors

Photo by Orestas Gurevičius/ELTA

On Sunday afternoon city workers with police escort went to the Lithuanian Appellate and Lithuanian District Court courthouse in Vilnius where a shrine to Lithuanian Nazi Kazys Škirpa was installed without permission Friday in order to remove the illegal construction.

Over a dozen protestors attempted to stop the workers. They attempted to push the workers, who called for police backup, then several protestors locked arms to prevent access to the wall.

The police backup used force to push the protestors away. Protestors on the sidelines chanted “for shame,” “rascists” [sic] and “vatniks.”

Vilnius mayor Valdas Benkunskas told the ELTA news agency he would appeal to law enforcement regarding the illegal construction. He called the installation of the shrine by members of the National Unification party an act of hooliganism.

Three men were arrested at the scene and later charged with administrative law offenses, namely, refusing to obey justified orders from police to disperse.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Silvia Foti in Šiauliai

Silvia Foti in Šiauliai

Journalist and writer Silvia Foti has visited Šiauliai for the second time to speak about her grandfather Jonas Noreika at the Šiauliai Jewish Community and his Holocaust crimes in Plungė, Telšiai and the Šiauliai district during World War II. She delivered a talk followed by a discussion and questions from the audience. We sincerely thank Silvia for making the visit and for her honesty and openness on this sensitive and very personal topic.

Lithuanian Jews Oppose Any Commemoration of Kazys Škirpa

Lithuanian Jews Oppose Any Commemoration of Kazys Škirpa

Lithuanian Jewish Community press release

Wantonly, without any sort of permission, representative of the National Unification Party (Lithuanian: partija Nacionalinis susivienijimas) Vytautas Sinica has initiated the installation of a plaque commemorating Kazys Škirpa on the façade of the Vilnius District Court building. This is both an administrative and moral crime.

The International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania has recognized the activities of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and the Provisional Government of Lithuania–both founded and led by Kazys Škirpa–as anti-Semitic.

“This is a monument to a man who led the organization which encouraged violence against Lithuanian citizens of a different ethnicity and fomented anti-Semitism. None of this is a subjective judgment or interpretation; these statements are confirmed by historical facts, sources and documents. The commemoration of this kind of person is a mistake and socially divisive,” the chairman of the Commission’s Nazi Crimes subcommittee and Millersville University professor emeritus Saulius Sužiedėlis said.

Other historians engaged in Holocaust research and international organizations are unanimous regarding the veracity of the aforementioned historical facts.

The Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania has issued as well an official finding of history which admits the actions of the LAF probably did encourage Lithuanians to become engaged in Holocaust crimes. The mass distribution of the LAF ideology led to the murder of 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania, or around 95% of the total Jewish population.

Memory Stones at Bergen-Belsen

Memory Stones at Bergen-Belsen

Lithuanian journalist Rimas Bružas has travelled to Germany to make a film about Lithuanian Jewish concentration camp inmates.

Currently he’s visiting Bergen-Belsen located about 65 kilometers from Hannover in Lower Saxony. Originally this concentration camp was intended for privileged victims including inmates from neutral countries and prisoners the Nazis were hoping to trade in prisoner swaps with the Allied countries.

In the fall of 1944 Bergen-Belsen began receiving transports from concentration and death camps such as Auschwitz and the inmate population grew from 7,300 in July of 1944 to about 15,000 by December, 1944. When British troops liberated the camp on April 15, 1945, there were about 60,000 prisoners there, almost all of them Jews. Anne Frank was among the 50,000 people murdered there.

The Bergen-Belsen memorial site continues to maintain memory stones inscribed by students from the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

#WeRemember

Learning about Jewish Life and Culture at the TOLI Seminar

Learning about Jewish Life and Culture at the TOLI Seminar

All last week the LJC hosted the TOLI seminar where experts on Jewish life and culture from different Lithuanian institutions of learning come together to teach teachers about Litvak life before the Holocaust and about the Holocaust.

The TOLI institute founded by Olga Lengvel in New York and Lithuania’s International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regime in Lithuania jointly held the seminar which this year was called “Learning from the Past, Action for the Future: Teaching the Holocaust and Human Rights.”

The seminar was attended by over 30 teachers and educators from throughout Lithuania. They included ethics, Lithuanian language and literature, English, geography, information theory and history teachers, as well as librarians and social workers who sacrificed their summer vacations to learn and improve their knowledge.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Panevėžys Jewish Community Receives Visitors from Haifa

Panevėžys Jewish Community Receives Visitors from Haifa

Psychologist Dirot Huber, her husband Jacob who directs a water-supply company and their daughter Romi from Haifa visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community last week. They were searching for family roots in Panevėžys and Ukmergė, namely, relatives of great-grandfather and pharmacist Haim Leibovitch born in 1867 and a grandfather named Teodor Todres, born in 1903 and deceased in 1951.

The pharmacy had been located on the first floor of the building at Smetonos street no. 3 with the owners living above it. Leibovitch’s brother Tovia was the principal of the Hebrew gymnasium in Ukmergė.

The visitor brought with them period photographs which they kindly allowed the Panevėžys Jewish Community to scan digitally for conservation in the Community’s archives. Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman showed them many photographs from that archive.

Holocaust Memorial Desecrated in Southern Lithuania

Holocaust Memorial Desecrated in Southern Lithuania

BNS reports yet another anti-Semitic attack in Lithuania, this time upon a Holocaust memorial in the cemetery in Senoji Varėna (Old Varėna) in southeast Lithuania.

Police from Alytus, Lithuania, told BNS they received a report of the vandalism just after noon on Monday from a local resident who saw it on Sunday evening as he was walking in the forest.

Alytus Police Department communications department director Kristina Janulevičienė told the news agency the vandalism was recorded as evidence and including destruction of an information stand, the partial destruction of a memorial obelisk and the placement of some sort of sticker forbidding people from placing stones at the memorial, a common Jewish tradition at grave sites.

“It doesn’t appear this was just done by children somehow. It’s a premeditated crime and act of vandalism. According to our information an obelisk marking the site was also damaged,” Varėna regional administration mayor Algis Kašėta told the 15min.lt website.

Alytus police head of communications Kristina Janulevičienė said police are currently on scene investigating.

Silvia Foti Speaking in Šiauliai

Silvia Foti Speaking in Šiauliai

The Šiauliai Jewish Community invites you to a meeting and discussion with Silvia Foti.

Foti is a Lithuanian-American writer who lives in Chicago. She is also the granddaughter of Lithuanian Nazi commander Jonas Noreika. When she began writing her family’s story, she approached it from the viewpoint of modern Lithuanian Holocaust denial, but quickly discovered her grandfather was responsible for the mass murder of Jews, and she began writing about that, alienating the Lithuanian public in North America and Lithuania who were raised to deny Lithuanian complicity in the Holocaust.

Foti’s books have been published in English and Lithuanian and she has appeared on major media telling her story of the journey from Holocaust denial to the truth, including on the BBC’s Hard Talk interview program.

Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

Time: 6:00 P.M., Friday, June 21
Place: Šiauliai Jewish Community, P. Višinskio street no. 24, Šiauliai

More Attacks on Lithuanian Jewish Community

More Attacks on Lithuanian Jewish Community

Last week two more attacks were made against the Lithuanian Jewish Community. A man in a mask with the help of an accomplice brazenly stole the Israeli flag flying above the entrance of the building in Vilnius, then took the flag to a nearby park and cut it up with a knife. He also apparently threatened a person there with the same knife, but didn’t wound that person. The next day someone broke a window at the Bagel Shop Café operated by the LJC in the same building as LJC headquarters.

Both incidents were recorded on security video which has been turned over to police.

The LJC expects law enforcement will take swift action to punish the criminals in light of the rising danger posed to Jews in the Lithuanian capital.

“What’s most discouraging isn’t the crimes themselves, but people’s apathy. In the video recording you can clearly see pedestrians passing by who stopped to look back at the crazed masked man but didn’t bother to call the police. There is more than one living eye-witness in our community who has personally experienced what tragic consequences can ensue from remaining passive while crimes are committed,” LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky commented.

Condolences

Jevgenija Feldman passed away on June 7. She was born in 1939. She was a member of the Klaipėda Jewish Community and a client of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center. Faina Kukliansky and the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community send our deepest condolences to her daughter Maja and all her family and friends.