'Jews' parade on the streets of Vilna

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aka Mycroft
'Jews' parade on the streets of Vilna


aka Mycroft

I thought the "Running of the Jew" in Borat was a joke until now:

[url=http://www.forward.com/articles/12634/]Forward: 'Jews' parade on the streets of Vilna[/url]


participants traditionally dress and act “as Jews,” a feat that generally calls for masks with grotesque features, beards and visible ear locks and that is often accompanied by peddling and by stereotypically Jewish speech.

Perhaps even more shockingly, the “festivities” extend beyond the parade itself and into a Halloween-style trick-or-treating. When Simonas Gurevicius, the 26-year-old executive director of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, opened the door to his house during last year’s Uzgavenes, he was greeted by two children dressed in horns and tails, reciting a song that translates as, “We’re the little Lithuanian Jews/We want blintzes and coffee/If you don’t have blintzes/Give us some of your money.” (It rhymes in Lithuanian.)


Last Saturday, hundreds gathered in front of city hall in the capital to celebrate. The Web site of the Vilnius City Municipality promised that during Uzgavenes, which is an official holiday in Lithuania, “creatures wearing different masks — devils, witches, deaths, goats, Gypsies, and other joyful and scaring characters — hang around.” Claiming to be dressed as a Jew, one woman tried to convince spectators to buy dirty handkerchiefs.

Although typical costumes include farm animals and monsters, masquerading is sometimes broadly referred to as “eiti zydukais,” or “going as Jews,” regardless of how one dresses.

The Roma do not fare better. Participants who masquerade as “Gypsies” wear gaudy makeup, hold babies and ask bystanders for money.


Ethnologist Inga Krisciuniene, who works at the Centre of Ethnic Activity... explained how she believed that in earlier times, Jews and Gypsies dressed alike. Revelers wore the same mask on Uzgavenes to depict them, so that the characters were distinguishable only by performers’ actions. When asked whether it could be seen as offensive to mock these minorities, Krisciuniene replied, “No one has ever complained.” The intent, she said, is humorous.

“Besides,” she added, “it’s true that Gypsies steal.”

[ 08 February 2008: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]

just one of the...

Anti-semitism remains a deep part of Lithuanian [url=http://www.worldpress.org/Europe/3049.cfm]history[/url] and society.

A team of Jewish Lithuanian traditional dancers [url=http://jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=18748]was turned down from participating [/url] in a Lithuanian culture festival in Los Angeles this winter.


The committee also felt that if they included a Yiddish group, they would have to invite other Lithuanian minorities, and the festival would lose its "Lithuanian character." As a compromise, the committee suggested that Yiddish dancers participate by learning and performing one of the already designated ethnic Lithuanian dances.


So, what is the purpose of the "running of the Jews"?? - just for fun?

remind remind's picture

To normalize and entrench misoJudeaism and misoRoma.


It is estimated that 85% of the 168,000 pre-war Jewish inhabitants of Lithuania - one of the great centres of Jewish culture and scholarship - were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.

aka Mycroft


Originally posted by Soledad:
[b]So, what is the purpose of the "running of the Jews"?? - just for fun?[/b]

It's not actually called the 'running of the Jews', that was just the name used in Borat for the stereotypical anti-Semitic Eastern European folk culture that was one of the film's satirical targets. I had assumed that sort of thing died out after the war and am quite disheartened to see that Borat was closer to being a documentary than a satire.