Račinskas’s Version of ‘Holocaust Education’: Red-Brown Commission Director General Speaks in the Lithuanian Parliament


Updates (newest first):

His views finally came through in English in a German documentary film

Mr. Racinskas calls prominent Holocaust survivor a liar on the commission’s website

He tries to deny LAF murders “on racial basis” before arrival of German forces in 1941

Says European Commission “spits in the face” when it fails to accept a Double Genocide resolution from the Baltics

The following is DefendingHistory.com’s translation (from the tape) of the concluding speech of the 29-30 June 2011 conference (reports here and here), delivered by Ronaldas Račinskas, director general (sometimes listed as executive director) of the government sponsored ‘International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania’ (known for short as the ‘Red-Brown Commission’), which is housed in the Office of the Prime Minister of Lithuania. It can serve as a potent example of the state-sponsored Holocaust Obfuscation movement which presents one face domestically, a second in the European Parliament, and a third to naive Western Holocaust Studies groups.

Simple, really. Tell the locals there was no Holocaust, just a complicated morass of  mixed-up perpetrators and victims (and heck, those Jews were mostly communists anyway). Tell the European Parliament there were two equal genocides and they must legislate the equality of totalitarian regimes. And tell the foreign Jews and the West you need money to pursue Holocaust studies and commemoration. They’ll have to believe you. After all, you’re in the prime minister’s office of an EU government. Elementary, really?

International resignations to date from the Commission and its associated bodies include Dr Yitzhak Arad, Sir Martin Gilbert, Professor Gershon Greenberg, Professor Konrad Kwiet and Professor Dov Levin. Nevertheless the Commission continues to persuade international Holocaust Studies bodies of its legitimacy as the monopolist provider of ‘Holocaust Education’ in Lithuania, while pursuing the Lithuanian nationalist agenda of: Double Genocide; equality of totalitarian regimes; denial of the outbreak of murder before the arrival of German forces; denial of the role of massive voluntary participation in the resultant highest murder rate in Holocaust-era Europe; rhetoric on Jewish communists as excuse; attempts to confound victims and perpetrators; and the ongoing use, to attract foreign funding, support and legitimacy, of ‘Holocaust Studies’ to mask the actual range of  political activity in the European Union and the European Parliament in favor of the Prague Declaration and other Double Genocide legislation.

Within Lithuania, views opposed to those of the ‘harmonized history’ of the Commission have been criminalized with the threat of prison sentences of up to two years.

To this day, the Commission has never publicly condemned the antisemitic ‘war crimes investigations’ of its own founding member Yitzhak Arad or of  other Holocaust survivors who escaped the ghetto to join up with the anti-Nazi resistance in the forests of Lithuania. Internationally, however, there has been significant reaction.

Holocaust Survivors and their advocates have protested the Commission’s activities over the years.


Honored chair, honored participants of the conference,

Truly my report will be somewhat different from the ones heard yesterday and today. It won’t be one about any single episodes and their explication presenting many details and facts about them. I myself am more interested in and I would like to talk about how many different historical assessments, historians’ works, reflect society’s  consciousness. That is, not just in society itself, but even in its separate groups; to talk about the dominant discourses; about my own understanding of history; and, of course, about challenges and problems in understanding crimes by totalitarian regimes and assessing them. I would say that, perhaps, I could view history as a beautiful but complicated mosaic, you can analyze a separate detail, its form, what it is made of, its color, but most likely for society it is most important to hold to a common view, most likely it is very important to see a common, shared portrayal.

“I would say that, perhaps, I could view history as a beautiful but complicated mosaic, you can analyze a separate detail, its form, what it is made of, its color, but most likely for society it is most important to hold to a common view, most likely it is very important to see a common, shared portrayal.”

In speaking about those totalitarian regimes, Nazi and Soviet Communist, perhaps first of all we need to answer the question of why it is important to remember them and why they need to be talked about. Undoubtedly, the history of each country is unique, it has its own evolution, and it solves historical issues and similar things in its own way, but I believe there are such historical events, such historical phenomena, that have a universal significance, that go beyond the frames of separate states, and even the frames of continents, and, namely, speaking about Nazism as an ideology, about the crimes they committed during World War II, and about Soviet Communism, about their crimes and practices, we truly believe that this is a universal experience by humanity, and we must understand, comprehend and judge appropriately.

There were two regimes at the same time in charge of Europe, but their ideologies were different, and victims, groups against whom there were repressions were likewise different. And that historical memory developed differently among all the groups. And here lies probably the main source of all that miscommunication and opposition, that is, the dominant narrative that dominate in our country and also our society is also not completely uniform, not to mention the narratives in Western Europe. We can discern two main groups, that is, Western Europe’s dominant narrative which gives center stage to Nazism and places less significance on Soviet Communist crimes, and the experience of Eastern/Central Europe, which in a  sense combines the crimes of the one and the other. And without a doubt those narratives are often complicated. It’s not rare for a historian or just some public figure who has his own preconceptions to choose those facts among an abundance of facts that better illustrate his conviction or even some preconceived political view. I believe that in attempting to understand these processes we should avoid such a one-sided view.

“We can discern two main groups, that is, Western Europe’s dominant narrative which gives center stage to Nazism and places less significance on Soviet Communist crimes, and the experience of Eastern/Central Europe, which in a  sense combines the crimes of the one and the other.”

Speaking in general about society, I believe it is composed of two groups: the civilian majority, which unfortunately is not much interested in or much concerned with historical events or assessment of history, but this isn’t confined to Lithuania, it is probably a general trend in the rhythm of the world, and a small, active group which is truly interested and participates, and here is the problem, that the views of that active minority sometimes don’t coincide, frequently those narratives differ significantly. For that reason the commission which I represent, our main role and task is not to visit new archives but to reconcile different historical conceptions, different narratives, even the views of representatives of the state and different communities on controversial issues, controversial topics, because conclusions are reached through consensus.

“For that reason the commission which I represent, our main role and task is not to visit new archives but to reconcile different historical conceptions, different narratives, even the views of representatives of the state and different communities on controversial issues, controversial topics, because conclusions are reached through consensus.”

So now, on to several topics which seem to me the most urgent and most painful which cause the most controversies internationally as well as in Lithuania in assessing the crimes of Nazism and the Soviet Communist regime. And — I want to say that those controversies, especially at the national level, are most often caused by, are most often connected with assessment of relations with Lithuanian Jews, namely, those very tragic years. A certain tension in society, between Lithuanians and Jews, it was felt and began during World War II when Lithuania hadn’t been occupied yet, and a different political view was understandable because information reached Lithuania about what happened in Nazi Germany, what happened in Poland was of course also known and understood in Lithuania and it couldn’t fail to cause concern and to cause alarm to Jews living in Lithuania.

“And — I want to say that those controversies, especially at the national level, are most often caused by, are most often connected with assessment of relations with Lithuanian Jews, namely, those very tragic years.”

But the major break in this [“Lithuanian/Jewish relations”] happened during the first year of the Soviet occupation when that opposition and the different political orientation really expressed themselves quite strongly. And here there are again many stereotypes, stereotypes on our part, among Lithuanians, and in the West, and among Jews. And first of all [is the] stereotype, heard often, exploited often, is the stereotype of the Jewish Soviet collaborator. It needs to be said that even though this is truly a stereotype, that those collaborators who collaborated with the Soviet government, whether it was Jews, Lithuanians, Poles or Russians, didn’t really collaborate against Lithuanians, for example, but really collaborated against that order and equally they didn’t just commit crimes against Lithuanians, they also committed crimes against some Jews, because the Soviet government in Lithuania closed down schools, annulled Jewish autonomy and we know all that perfectly well.

But where did the stereotype come from? They are objective as well as subjective reasons. Among the objective ones, I can mention that truly the number of Lithuanian Jews, both before the occupation and during the first months of the occupation, was truly disproportionately large in Soviet structures, in the Communist Party and in the Communist Youth compared to their total number in the state. If the number of Jews in the state was about 7 percent, the percentage of Jews in the Communist Party throughout Lithuania, based on studies by Liudas Truska, was about 30 percent, and in four cities more than 50 percent. [Mrs. Kazlauskiene?] has done a rather exhaustive study of this question.

“But where did the stereotype come from? They are objective as well as subjective reasons. Among the objective ones, I can mention that truly the number of Lithuanian Jews, both before the occupation and during the first months of the occupation, was truly disproportionately large in Soviet structures, in the Communist Party and in the Communist Youth compared to their total number in the state.”

There are also subjective aspects to this question. Usually, mainly in Lithuania, maybe it was different in Germany, that community was more integrated with society, in Lithuania Jews lived in closed communities. And usually, with very rare exceptions, they weren’t [public servants or in power]. And it wasn’t usual for a Lithuanian to see [a Jew as a] bureaucrat deciding matters. So during the first Soviet year this was rather visible.

This is a subjective question already. That this stereotype is sufficiently fresh. Again  I repeat about the stereotype.

And let’s speak the language of statistics, let’s speak the language of facts. When in the first Soviet deportation, in June, 1941, whose 70th anniversary we recently marked, and conferences and events took place, and it was very nice really that the facts and statistics rang out at the podium of the parliament, so deportations were not carried out against Lithuanians exclusively, deportations were carried out against separate political and social groups and families, and among those deported, Jews comprised a larger percentage than their number in society. So Jews were about fifteen percent of deportees, while in society they accounted for about seven percent. This is also stated in the International Commission’s conclusions.

The Soviet government strengthened this view, the negative and stereotypical, equating Jews with Communism, after the Second World War ended. This hasn’t been mentioned because during the Soviet period history itself was also rewritten, historical events were presented not as they really happened, that Jews were murdered for racial reasons, but they were presented through that same political prism of the Soviet regime. And it was presented that Soviet citizens were murdered, and that, as has already been noted, that demonstrated collaboration by Lithuanian nationalists with the Nazis in that process. Also, this could not fail to leave an impression in the collective memory and then the narrative that formed in our society. And speaking of facts, we know perfectly well that anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic sentiments always dominated in the Soviet Union and in Lithuania, in ’48 the Jewish community that established itself and the Jewish Museum that appeared, they were closed down, and the processes in ’50 in Moscow and across the whole [Soviet] union are also broadly and well known, so there is really no foundation at all for talking about an equals sign between Jews and Communists. But, as I mentioned, certain objective as well as subjective reasons for those stereotypes to appear existed, and we should discuss and assess them. Not just we, it would be good if Jewish community representatives themselves did, and that they would precisely  assess the roles of their fellow Jews, even if perhaps they don’t consider them fellow Jews in these processes.

“But, as I mentioned, certain objective as well as subjective reasons for those stereotypes to appear existed, and we should discuss and assess them. Not just we, it would be good if Jewish community representatives themselves did, and that they would precisely  assess the roles of their fellow Jews, even if perhaps they don’t consider them fellow Jews in these processes.”

Furthermore, the first days of the Nazi-Soviet war was a very painful period. I said war, not World War II, but namely the [first] days of the Nazi-Soviet war. This conference has already had several reports on the Provisional Government. I will just say a few things. That when two extreme positions dominate, likely neither is correct. Both the prevailing view of Lithuanian patriotic forces that the June Uprising had exclusively positive aspects, and that joining, working with, collaborating with the Nazis by some separate individuals is an insignificant matter; and the unfortunately widespread, view in the West that in actuality the June Uprising was purely Nazi, anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic, and overall was directed only in that direction. I think those two extreme positions should get closer and see, both one side and the other, try to see a common view, instead of getting stuck in a loop repeating analysis of one or another separate detail of the mosaic or the search for similar details to demonstrate the truth of one’s position.

“and the unfortunately widespread, view in the West that in actuality the June Uprising was purely Nazi, anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic, and overall was directed only in that direction.”

Further, on the first weeks of the war, there is a deep  stereotype and one that is often heard at Western conferences, that even before the Nazis came Lithuanians began mass-murdering Jews. [female voice in audience yells: “Nonsense!”] I had the opportunity to speak with different historians and to ask, what basis, which sources support that? One time they said nothing to me. Another time they smiled and said this is a universally known fact, but when you start to look into it, really there are no sources of testimonies supported by documentation that support this. There are only testimonies by separate witnesses that say there were, actually, operations during which Jews were killed. But let’s turn back to the frames within which historians work. Here’s what Arunas Bubnys says in his study performed for the commission that analyzed the Holocaust in the Lithuanian countryside. He actually differentiates two stages. These are the end of June [to] the middle of July, when in essence Jews were persecuted more for political reasons, and among others—Lithuanians, Poles and Russians—namely for collaboration with the Soviet government. You need to understand well that there were innocents among the victims including Jews, Lithuanians and others, because spontaneous revenge operations were taking place, for which there is no justification, but you have to look at what the motivations were.

“Further, on the first weeks of the war, there is a deep  stereotype and one that is often heard at Western conferences, that even before the Nazis came Lithuanians began mass-murdering Jews. [female voice in audience yells: “Nonsense!”] I had the opportunity to speak with different historians and to ask, what basis, which sources support that? One time they said nothing to me. Another time they smiled and said this is a universally known fact, but when you start to look into it, really there are no sources of testimonies supported by documentation that support this. There are only testimonies by separate witnesses that say there were, actually, operations during which Jews were killed. But let’s turn back to the frames within which historians work.”

The second stage was from mid-July to November, when in essence the entire Lithuanian Jewish community was annihilated, this, happened, namely, based, already, on racist foundations… And that needs to be talked about, analyzed, and even elucidating those stereotypes, to attempt, really, to make sense of it, more precisely.

Further, there is another question: that of the role of Lithuanians, collaboration or non-collaboration by Lithuanians with the Nazis. Really the numbers say a lot, Jews’—

Moderator: We are very sorry, your time is running out.

As I understand it I have another five minutes, so perhaps I will complete it. Thank you.

The numbers are eloquent. In Lithuania there was the highest murder rate in Europe. But there’s a question here: is this the result of actions or participation by Lithuanians, or is it the result of Nazi policy? And historians know well that Nazi policy in Western Europe, Poland, and… the Eastern territories the occupied Soviet Union was absolutely different. Without any doubt local collaborators were drawn in and this was done intentionally, there were clear directives for this, and there is no justification in the actions of those collaborators. They need to legally and morally assessed and there is no forgetfulness on this. But to make collective generalizations about participation by the entirety of Lithuanian society in this, I believe would be incorrect and unfair. Where did this stereotype come from? You actually can understand, you can understand, who were their relatives, who either before death or in saving themselves, they saw Lithuanians. The Nazis carried out the Holocaust in Lithuania mainly using the hands of Lithuanians themselves.

“The numbers are eloquent. In Lithuania there was the highest murder rate in Europe. But there’s a question here: is this the result of actions or participation by Lithuanians, or is it the result of Nazi policy? And historians know well that Nazi policy in Western Europe, Poland, and… the Eastern territories the occupied Soviet Union was absolutely different.”

So we also have to realize and understand, to be able to look at the situation with Jewish eyes, what happened in Lithuania. Somebody earlier in his report said very clearly: the Nazis planned, organized and carried out the Holocaust in Lithuania drawing in Lithuanian collaborators.

What else happened in Lithuania? I believe we have a full spectrum as in every case, we have those who refused to heed any humanitarian call and we have those who resisted. Thus we have eight hundred righteous gentiles already recognized by Israel’s authoritative Yad Vashem institution and we have information in Lithuanian and Israeli archives about another two, three thousand who rushed to help.

Between those two positions there was an entire spectrum: of positions, of people. Some, it seems, approved of what happened in Lithuania, others with melancholy and tears in their eyes suffered because it, but to say that all society was of a single type would be truly unfair. Further, it needs to be said that Lithuania, unlike the other Baltic states, resisted, there was an anti-Nazi resistance. It was perhaps more of an intellectual type. We remember Balys Sruoga who was also intellectual and who ended up in concentration camps. We have to remember that despite everything there were no SS legions formed in Lithuania, which angered the Germans greatly. So we have to understand all these things and assess them….

“Further, it needs to be said that Lithuania, unlike the other Baltic states, resisted, there was an anti-Nazi resistance.”

Here’s another question about which you could hold a separate conference and which is just from among the clearest of our own thoughts. That is, how do you asses a victim who becomes a perpetrator? Or, how do you asses a perpetrator who becomes a victim? We have such cases, from the one side and the other.  And… I don’t have the answer here. I would just say these are questions perhaps for future conferences. And one really wants these questions solved uniformly, on the same basis, that one totalitarian regime, or the victim of one totalitarian regime, wouldn’t be exalted above the victim of another totalitarian regime, and one regime wouldn’t be presented as more important than another. I believe that these regimes, both of them, in a universal sense, each of them should be analyzed and studied distinctly and both their crimes and ideologies should be condemned, the victims should be honored and remembered. And discussions on who suffered more really lead nowhere, and that competition in a certain sense caused these passions. I believe for the sake of communication we should invite to a dialogue people who believe in a different position, people who think in a different way, including not just political organizers, including people who sincerely think this is their historical experience. We should accept their historical experience and try to present our historical experience to our colleagues, or opponents you could say, in that historicaldiscourse. To try to see the situation through others’ eyes and perhaps they too will look at our situation in the way we see it.

“That is, how do you asses a victim who becomes a perpetrator? Or, how do you asses a perpetrator who becomes a victim? We have such cases, from the one side and the other.  And… I don’t have the answer here. I would just say these are questions perhaps for future conferences. And one really wants these questions solved uniformly, on the same basis, that one totalitarian regime, or the victim of one totalitarian regime, wouldn’t be exalted above the victim of another totalitarian regime, and one regime wouldn’t be presented as more important than another.”

So, talking about Nazism and Stalinism, we have to talk, we have to analyze, perhaps it won’t be possible to answer these questions completely because there is another very important aspect, that is the Second World War, about  which professor Vytautas Landsbergis spoke at the opening of the conference and other speakers, and I will not speak more on it, but we have to change that myth and stereotype that developed in the West about Europe’s liberation in the East. Two totalitarian regimes started World War II after they reached agreement and that should be firmly established and indicated very clearly. That positions changed in ’45 and the victors were the Soviet Union with its Western allies, that is another aspect. But again, that liberation was completely different. Western Europe could enjoy a free democratic order and social development, while Eastern Europe, for Eastern Europe, one occupier was replaced by another, the concentration camps in large part served the same purposes just with different prisoners, and many of the prisoners of German concentration camps travelled in the same cattle cars to the vastnesses of Siberia, including people of Jewish ethnicity. I believe we too must realize and know this, and nonetheless seek common points of contact in assessing a controversial historical time period.

“One occupier was replaced by another, the concentration camps in large part served the same purposes just with different prisoners, and many of the prisoners of German concentration camps travelled in the same cattle cars to the vastnesses of Siberia, including people of Jewish ethnicity.”

Thank you for your consideration.

[applause for 8 seconds]

Moderator: Thank you, honorable speaker, chairman of the secretariat of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania Ronaldas Račinskas. Honored conference participants, our conference papers have run out, it’s over. Now we will have our discussions.


The Other Račinskas: A rather different spiel for the foreign Jews and Holocaust specialists at the memorial ceremony for the Jews of Plungyán (Plungė) on 17 July 2011. The 1800 Jews barbarically butchered  at this site were murdered exclusively  by the Lithuanian ‘partisan patriots’ exonerated by the same speaker in the country’s parliament several weeks earlier (see precise text above).

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Double Genocide, Events, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, News & Views, Plungyán (Plungė), US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Račinskas’s Version of ‘Holocaust Education’: Red-Brown Commission Director General Speaks in the Lithuanian Parliament

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