Archived Articles / News & Events Jan-Dec 2009

חנוכה

ביום שישי ה- 18.12.09  נערך "עונג שבת" הראשון יחד עם חנוכה.

  בתוכנית:

ברכות +הדלקת נרות,  שירה   בציבור יחד עם מישה ועליזה   בלכרוביץ,

סופגניות

 

 

 

Hanukah

On Friday 18.12.09 we had our first "Oneg Shabat" and Hanukah program including blessing and lighting of candles, song fest with Aliza & Misha Blechorovitz

and doughnuts

Neutrality and justice

 

Since the defeat of Charles the 12th at Poltava in June 1709 and the subsequent disintegration of the Swedish ambitions to build an empire, it still participated in occasional conflicts with its northern neighbors. After the end of the Napoleonic wars and its consequences causing much suffering to it’s small population, Swedish rulers adopted a policy of expedient neutrality. This policy of non intervention in the affairs of Europe was very advantageous and beneficial to the State and its population.

 

While the royal cousins of Europe engaged in bloody conflicts among themselves, were building empires, enslaving distant nations, robbing them of their treasures and scarifying millions of their people on the alter of profit; Sweden was an active bystander.

Sweden, a large country with a small population, is blessed with an abundance of natural resources: hydro-electric power, forests, the finest iron ore in Europe and above all peace it has been able to achieve one of the highest material standard of living in the World. At what price?

 

There were only four countries in Europe that stayed  ”neutral” during the Second World War, and nobody benefited from its tragedy more than Sweden and Switzerland. While German panzer divisions were rolling all over Europe and Africa on Swedish ball bearings and machine parts paid for by money and goods robbed from the Jews and others of the Continent, nobody discussed the moral issue. Nobody cared that each German mark was soaked with Jewish blood. This was considered good business.

 

Was there a Swedish outcry when six million Jews were slaughtered? The deafening silence drowned their sense of justice. Do Jews deserve justice? Morality becomes an issue only when someone finds fault with the Jew even if it is untrue, concocted by some interested party.

 

The latest articles in the Swedish press and the unwillingness to retract the unconfirmed reports regarding the events during the latest Israeli attempt to stop the shelling of Israeli settlements surrounding Gaza reek of entrenched anti-Semitism.

 

There were never many Jews in Sweden and they have done nothing to deserve this.

Abe Larwe,

October 6th 2009

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Lita Visit, August 2009

Yaarit Glazer

 

Visiting friends is always a peasant event especially if you have a chance to visit the places where you spend your young years. But this time it was also a time for the 3rd Litvak Congress so my stay there was full of events. The opening of the Congress took place in the city hall and the Israeli Minister Edelstein was present as well as the Israeli Ambassador. The president of Lithuania and a few ministers came to the opening ceremony.  The atmosphere was festive; and to my surprise  Litvaks from all over the world came to the Congress - from Austria and Australia, Canada and the US, Britain and Germany, France and Israel. The entire event was a never ending festival of music and exhibitions. One very interesting exhibition was pictures of the Great Synagogue painted by a German artist, Irmtraut Hubatsch. But it is the place where he chose to put his paintings which very significant – the windows of the elementary school which was built at the place of the Synagogue.  There was Klezmer music every evening in a small and nice courtyard with the best musicians. One of the most impressive concerts was the “Kadish” written by Shenderov, and the famous hazan Malovany and Liora Grodnikaite were the performers.

 

There were also trips to towns like Shavli, Ponevez, Plunge, and Kovno. As we visited the Fort in Kovno I took it upon myself to tell the story of the escape. Every time I visit the place I check whether the “Kadish” prayer that we, daughters of the escapees, Aya Ben-Naftali and I, put there – and it still was. In Shavli a wonderful concert of Yiddish songs was performed in former Frenkel’s house and the hall there with old pictures and the music created a blend of sadness for the days that will never return and pride for the Litvaks with their special character and culture. The ceremony of presenting the Yad Vashem medal to the righteous people was a bit too long. The Minister of Diaspora awarded the people.

 

The conference was also very interesting – but what impressed me was the fact that all the presenters were Lithuanian, and the bottom line of this conference was that  Anti-semitism is not a Jewish problem, it is the Lithuanian problem and it means that the ones to fight it are the Lithuanians. The people attending the Congress also had very exciting stories to tell. Prof. Neumark from Austria told about his childhood in Kovno ghetto,  and he also found houses that belonged to his family.

All in all the congress was a great success.

 

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Internet site http://holocaustinthebaltics.com/ for the study of the Holocaust in the Baltic States

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The Litvak Connection, movie by Richard Bloom, see http://www.motionbox.com/videos/7a9cd8b31811e2caf5

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"JERUSALEM of Lithuania" the newspaper of the Jewish Community in Lithuania has just published their English edition No. 1-2-(145-146) January-March 2009 in electronic form.

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response to Lithuainian restitution plan: 

16 July 2009 Lithuanian restitution plan insufficient and unacceptable, say Jewish leaders

Following is a joint statement by Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, and Simon Alperovitch, president of the Jewish Community of Lithuania:

“Yesterday, the Government of Lithuania submitted to Parliament a compensation plan for Jewish communal property seized during World War II. I regret to say that this restitution package is wholly inadequate and unacceptable. The proposed legislation is lacking in several critical respects, including the terms and the amount of compensation offered, and the speed at which payments will be made. It also does not clarify how monetary restitution will be distributed, and how returned properties will be managed. These issues need to be clarified before Parliament considers the legislation this Fall.

Ninety-five percent of Lithuania‟s 160,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators during World War II. Their properties were seized and never returned. However, it was only in 2002 and after long delays that negotiations with the Lithuanian Government on restitution began in earnest. At the latter‟s request, the local Jewish Community and the WJRO researched archives and identified at least 438 former Jewish communal properties that should be returned. Six years later, the Government has now arbitrarily selected 110 of these properties, made a unilateral evaluation of their total worth, and decided to pay a mere fraction of the estimated amount. No payments are to be made before 2012.

A better plan was negotiated between the former Government and the Jewish Community. It would have led to the return of previously Jewish communal properties. The local Jewish community and WJRO urged the present government to adopt this agreed legislation, but it decided to break off negotiations and to introduce the present unilateral and arbitrary proposal. In most other countries where property agreements were reached, the actual properties are returned or full-value compensation is paid. Lithuania, however, only proposes to pay a fraction of a fraction.

The Foundation for Lithuanian Jewish Heritage was established by the WJRO, the local Jewish Community and the Lithuanian Jewish Religious Council to serve as the recipient of restituted property, to assist needy Holocaust survivors, and to ensure that it would be used to properly rebuild Jewish life in Lithuania. In contrast, the proposed legislation now reserves to the Lithuanian Government the right to determine who will receive the compensation funds and how the funds will be used. In no other country are conditions and restrictions of this kind being imposed.

In light of these serious deficiencies, the Lithuanian Jewish community and WJRO cannot support the current legislation, as proposed. The June 2009 Terezin Declaration, endorsed by 46 countries including Lithuania, encourages countries to „make every effort to provide for the restitution of former Jewish communal and religious property by either in rem restitution or compensation‟. The Lithuanian Jewish community and the WJRO therefore urge the Government of Lithuania to correct and improve the current unacceptable bill as quickly as possible.”

Media contacts:

Simon Gurevichius Michael Thaidigsmann Executive Director, Jewish Community of Lithuania World Jewish Congress, Brussels Office Email: simon@litjews.org Email: press@worldjewishcongress.org Tel: +370 65 99 66 90 Tel: +32 2 552 09 24

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16th Lithuanian Division Road to Victory

Veterans, friends and family celebrated the 64th victory at a gathering with a guest, Dorothy Leivers honoring the publication of their book in English (see below). Rahel Levin opened the evening with a letter from the front. Yosef Melamed, chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, greeted the guests. Yaakov Shein presented the opening of the Veteran's celebration. Meir Toker shared stories from the front with their friend, Iser Lev, Leivers' father. An exhibition of photographs from the collections of Hanan Levin (official photographer of the Division) and the archive's collection drew attention as did movies of former years' celebrations. Refreshments were enjoyed by all.

New translation of Jonava Yizkor Book

Jewishgen has announced the translation from Hebrew and Yiddish of the Jonava Yizkor Book, Jonava On The Banks Of The Vylia; In memory of the destroyed Jewish community of Jonava, at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/Jonava/Jonava.html.

New Publication

Avotaynu announced the publication of Road to Victory, the English-language translation of the Yiddish (Der Veg Zum Nizakhon), then Hebrew (HaDerech El Nitzachon) book, is mostly first-person accounts of 120 Jewish soldiers who fought in the Second World War within the ranks of the Red Army’s 16th Lithuanian Division. They represent the large corps of 4,500 Jewish fighters who took up arms in order to destroy the German enemy as well as to liberate the remnants of the Jews in Lithuania—the survivors of the Shoah. The book is edited by Dorothy Leivers. The book can be ordered  http://www.avotaynu.com/books/RoadToVictory.htm.

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Taken from http://en.rian.ru/world/20090305/120445311.html 5 March 2009.

 Lithuania to pay $41 million over Jewish property seized in WWII

VILNIUS, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - Lithuania is planning to pay 113 million litai ($41 million) in compensation for Jewish property seized by the Nazis during World War II and subsequently kept in the state sector.

 

According to a Justice Ministry blueprint, the compensation will be paid to a special fund from 2011 until 2021 in installments to depend on the state's "financial possibilities."

 

The draft will be submitted to three Jewish social organizations for final agreement. Simonas Gurevicius, a representative of one of them, told the BNS news agency that he was not ready to make an appraisal of the draft until the property assessment method had been studied.

"We will look and compare if everything has been done in the same manner as during the assessment of the property of other faiths," he said.

 

Over 200,000 Jews lived in the Baltic country before World War II, and Vilnius was called "The Jerusalem of the North." There are currently around 5,000 Jews in Lithuania.

 

Synagogues were returned to Jewish communities several years ago, but claims have been laid to other buildings that previously belonged to Jews.

 

Important! Read the comments below:

 

Adding Insult to Injury

 

The period from 22 June 1941 until the end of that year was the bloodiest in the history of Lithuanian Jewry. Hordes ravaged, pillaged and murdered at will the peaceful, unarmed unprotected Jewish community. Mass graves all over the country are silent witnesses to those ghastly events. These facts were ignored by the Lithuanian authorities in spite of all the evidence on the pretext that all the Jews were communists and collaborated with the Soviet occupational regime. This is a blatant distortion of facts since Jews suffered more from the Soviet occupation and proportionally more of them were exiled to Siberia.

 

The majority of the European governments acknowledged that a terrible injustice was done to the Jewish people in Europe. Lithuania could no longer ignore and justify its silence regarding this matter. In spite of an overwhelming opposition by the local population, the Lithuanian government proposed to rectify the situation.  I leave it up to the readers of this article to contemplate this insult and injury to honesty and fair play.

 

The Lithuanian Government has agreed to do justice to the few Jewish survivors of the murderous era in the country during the war. In its first and most “generous” proposal to date it has proposed to compensate the few surviving Litvaks with 113 million Lit (approximately 30 million US dollars) for property confiscated from all the Jewish communities during the Holocaust. This compensation is to be paid over a period of ten years starting January 2011 and ending January 2021; it is dependent  upon its ability to allocate the funds.  The money would be deposited in a fund chosen by the Government. The funds are to be spent in Lithuania for the benefit of Jewish religious cultural and philanthropic activities. Based on archival data available in the country only 136 community objects whose present value is approximately 376.98 million Lit will be partly compensated.

 

This is justice Lithuanian style, a shameless distorted sense of justice legitimizing mass murder, rape and robbery for the sake of material gain.

 

This ridiculous proposal should be rejected by all the Jewish organizations and individuals throughout the World and brought before the European court of justice in the Haag. By even considering this proposal we are losing our self respect and shaming the memory of our martyred families and friends. Our people contemplating a visit there should read the hate filled commentaries in the Lithuanian press and on the internet regarding this proposal.

Abe Larwe

March11, 2009

 

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The Litvak Connection: A Film by Karen Lynne and Richard Bloom, click http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/sr-15-litvak-connection.htm

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Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation

See the site http://www.jewishpartisans.org/t_switch.php?pageName=map+main&country=Lithuania with maps and information.

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בניית אתריםבניית אתרים

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