Current events

Lithuanian prosecutor investigates Jewish partisans

This story has been brewing for a while. The present-day Lithuanian government is investigating alleged war crimes committed by Jewish partisans during the war. This is denounced by many Jews worldwide as an attempt excuse atrocities by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators on the basis of some kind of moral equivalence. But whatever actions Jewish brigades may have taken in 1943 and 1944 can never be equivalent to the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were slaughtered.

Here is a detailed report on the controversy from the BBC.

Separately, I received today an email from a documentary filmmaker, Richard Bloom, who is at work on a film called "The Litvak Connection," which will report on Lithuanian and Latvian war criminals in the United States. Here is the text of his email.

Dear Mr. Ruby,

I have meant to drop you a note to let you know that during my research for a documentary, I came across your blog.
I am just about finished with The Litvak Connection- a film about the role of Nazi collaborators in the murder of
Lithuanian and Latvian Jewry,and the connection to present day war crimes issues.

How thousands of these collaborators immigrated to the U.S and many other nations, lied on their visas that they weren't complicit in war crimes, were admitted and became citizens.

How for over 30 years, there was practically nothing done to investigate and punish these individuals and eventually the role being played by the U.S Office of Special Investigations and Operation Last Chance to try and bring justice for the victims and the failure of most European countries (especially Latvia and Lithuania) to investigate, prosecute or take back denaturalized
and deported citizens from the U.S.

The film should start to make the rounds of Jewish and other documentary film festivals starting in December.

Richard Bloom

Thank you, Richard. We will look for your film when it is showing next year.

Walter's Madrid conference article is published

Walter's report from the recent interfaith conference in Madrid, "Saudi King's Perestroika Moment," was published today in The Jewish Week. Here is the full article. An excerpt follows:

No one articulated the spirit of Saudi perestroika better than the father- and-son team of Sheik Abdullah Bin Bayyah, vice president of the Jeddah-based International Union of Muslim Scholars and his thirty-something son, Cheikhna Bin Bayyah, who divides his time between business operations in Saudi Arabia and his duties as executive director of the Global Center for Renewal and Guidance in London.

The elder Bin Bayyah, who wore a long flowing robe and keffiyeh, remarked, “Without a doubt, there are a lot of influential people opposed to what the king is doing, but after participating in this historic event, I feel confident that there is no turning back.”

His son, who was clad in a stylish business suit, said he looks forward to the day when he will enjoy the same freedom of expression in Jeddah as he does in London. “What is happening today in Saudi society is a badly needed paradigm shift related to the age of globalization,” he said. “People like my father understand the need to open things up, so let them get on with the task. If they don’t get the job done, my generation is going to step forward and do it for them.”

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