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August 6, 2015 12:25 pm

Lithuanian TSA Officer Tells Chief Rabbi He May Never be Allowed to Re-Enter the Country

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Rabbi Chaim Burshtein.

Rabbi Chaim Burshtein.

Lithuania’s chief rabbi of more than a decade, Chaim Burshtein, was held by the passport authorities at the Vilnius international airport and told he may never be allowed to re-enter the country, Burshtein reported to his Facebook page (in Russian) on Wednesday.

Though he has served the country’s Jewish population albeit not entirely free of controversy since 2004, a TSA officer told him he may never be allowed back following a routine trip to Israel.

“The frightened passport control employee stated he was just doing his job,” wrote Burshtein, but the chief rabbi said there must be more to it than simply following orders.

Burshtein — who says he has never had an issue with the state or its laws since his appointment — concluded the threats must be related to his opposition to a national project to build a sports complex atop a formerly-used Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, a $21-million project which has been condemned by numerous Jewish groups around the world.

Burshtein is an outspoken activist for the country’s Jewish history, and increasingly this pits him against government projects the chief rabbi feels undermine the history of Holocaust atrocities committed in Lithuania, many by Lithuanian collaborators of the Nazis. About 95 percent of Lithuanian Jewry was murdered during World War II and Nazi occupation.

Last month, Burshtein protested a road project to the city of Šiauliai whose plan would lead to the disinterring of hundreds of Jewish corpses buried in mass-graves during the Holocaust.

A few weeks ago, Burshtein appealed to the authorities (in a statement translated from Russian by American Yiddish scholar and purveyor of all-things Jewish and Lithuanian Dovid Katz at to halt the excavation of the victims’ remains.

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  • David
  • I could not care less whether he is your chief rabbi or not or whether you like him. Are the Lituanians desecrating the graves of the Jews that I know they murdered? And if so, then who else amongst you lot is protesting about it and publicising such disgrace worldwide? Is it not bad enough that they murdered our people and then erected statues to the murderers because those villians also resisted the Russians? And if so, then what are you complaining about, his motivation? Surely somebody has to have the guts to stand up for what is right?

  • HaroldT38

    What possesses Jews to live in that vile country ?

  • judithg

    such a horrible vile anti semitic country with absolutely nothing to recommend it besides its famously nazi helpers who shot down Jewish children in the streets. how is it possible for Jews to live there at all and why would they live in such a toilet bowl. terrible, backward swamp. nauseating.

    • sky8man

      I agree, i have no idea why any jew would want to live there. The days where jews were part of that country’s inahbitants are long over. That Rabbi is not doing anyone any favors by raising hell about jewish history which Lithuenians as a core cultural heritage despise. I say leave them alone and let the russians (or god) deal with them in due time.

  • Elchanan

    This person is not the Cheif Rabbi. He arrived in Lithuania around ten years ago to stir up trouble with the Chabad Rabbi who had been (and still is) serving the Jewish Community since 1994. Chabad has created a schools, camps, run a soup kitchen and helped thousands of people celebrate the Jewish holidays. The person mentioned by contrast has done none of those things. He was imported by the local secular community for the express purpose of interfering and disrupting the Chabad Rabbi, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky because Rabbi Krinsky would not participate in the political machinations of the local secular community leader.

    If this man is never allowed back into Lithuania again it will be a good thing indeed. The local Jews don’t like him because he is condescending towards them and publicly insults Rabbi Krinsky who has helped them both spiritually and physically for over 25 years.

  • Chaim Szmidt

    All too often the Lithuanian collaborators were far worse to the Jews they betrayed than the German Nazi dogs themselves. The hatred of the Jew has not yet been cleansed from the Lithuanian heart, the same Lithuanians who today blame their own suffering during WWWII not on Germany, but on the Jews. What else can you expect from such blind, ignorant, hatred?

  • Fred

    Oh Lithuania & the other Baltic states + Roumania are expressing again the wish to be Judenrein ( No Jews )but may end up with the NEW Muslim colonists. Murderers who never came clean.

    • Paula Goldman

      Fred, when you note Judenrein, I get a shiver of fear.

      Why does any country want to be free of their Jews? We are their best scientists, teachers, doctors, dentists and much more.

      I am a retired Nurse Practitioner and remember one old woman telling me that she hated Jews but would only see Jewish MD’s. She had no problem paging me to make a house call although she knew damn well that I am a Jew.

  • Eric R.

    What really gets me is that since Lithuania is now part of NATO, American GIs may have to die to defend these Nazi bigots.

    Let Putin invade it.

    • Paula Goldman

      Eric, I agree with you 100%. Also the new “Muslim Colonists” may prove to be a huge problem where ever they are.

      They demand that their females, even young girls bind their heads in cloth so that nary a hair can be seen. Why? Plus these poor girls are not allowed a public education.

      They also resist paying taxes. How can any country run without funds?

  • Baruch Adanis

    “Chief Rabbi” as so apointed by Chabad. Years ago he was forcably thrown out of the main Shul in Vilna after ample clashes wit the local community.

    • len

      Baruch-what does that have to do with his not being able to enter Lithuania?Did he commit some crime?

    • Emes Veyatziv

      Get your facts straight please before commenting. This Rabbi is not Chabad, and it fact it was his supporters who threw (Chabad) Rabbi Krinsky out of the shul there, by force.

  • Elisheva

    What support did the rabbi receive from Israel? Did our foreign ministry say anything?

  • Joseph Feld

    95% of the Jews in this Jerusalem of Europe died at the hands of Hitler’s more than willing executioners, Germans and Lithuanians, and now they are determined to disturb the peace of those they murdered. I am so thankful that my great grandparents left Lithuania and went to Baltimore about 1900.

    • Paula Goldman

      I also am grateful that both sets of my grandparents left their homes in Russia and eventually settled in Cambridge, MA. This was because some of their goyishe neighbors threatened to murder them anytime anything went wrong in their filthy environment.

      Maybe we Jews will not be truly safe other than in Israel. But we sure know how to fight back. Plus the USA is in most(not all) parts safe except for anti-Semitic graffito even in the Boston area.

      May all anti-Semites plotz.