for rapid and constructive transformation of Lithuanian-Jewish relations:
Abandonment of the state’s financing of the campaign to obfuscate the Holocaust by means of its Double Genocide campaign, including “cooked” international conferences; withdrawal of support for the Prague Declaration and similar projects, closing down of the “red-brown commission” and the inauguration of an atmosphere of full freedom for citizens and organizations to support alternatives including the Seventy Years Declaration. Holocaust history to be included in historically accurate proportionality in the Genocide Museum and all relevant tourist locations that deal with genocide. Abandonment of the extensive state sponsored program to glorify and heroize the local Holocaust perpetrators of 1941, including the “Lithuanian Activist Front” (LAF), whose leaflets indicated desire to murder the country’s Jewish citizens even before arrival of Nazi forces. Rapid correction of the mischaracterization of the early local perpetrators as supposedly heroic rebels in the new basement room on the Holocaust in the Genocide Museum. Removal of all public monuments and memorials to Holocaust collaborators (petition). The reversal of course became ever more urgent in 2012 with the state-sponsored reburial with full honors and accompanying glorification of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister, the re-launch of the red-brown commission, and the announcement of yet another European Union red-brown campaign scheduled for 2013.
Public condemnation by high elected officials of the ongoing (or for history: ‘unfinished’) ‘investigations’ into Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance (background here; international responses here), accompanied by: public condemnation of these investigations; public apologies to the aged survivors defamed (and their families) to: Dr. Yitzhak Arad; Ms. Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky; Professor Sara Ginaite; Dr. Rachel Margolis; Mr. Joseph Melamed. It was a major and unwelcome shock in the autumn of 2011 that a new and unseemly campaign (via Interpol) had been launched against Holocaust survivor and Litvak leader Joseph Melamed of Tel Aviv. Then came the renewed defamation of Dr. Arad in late 2012. The climate would be improved exponentially by the simple gesture of a letter of recognition for lifetime achievement for the anti-Nazi veteran heroes from the current president or prime minister, such as once provided by the late president Algirdas Brazauskas, before the state’s campaign of defamation got underway.
Serious action to combat the growing state-sponsored (or state-tolerated) antisemitic activity in the country, including: mass media hate material worthy of 1930s fascist countries; city-center state-sanctioned neo-Nazi marches on national holidays in Vilnius and Kaunas; derogatory public impersonations of Jews and Roma at public Užgavėnės celebrations; court rulings legalizing swastika displays; state-sponsored institutions’ failure to disemploy their own outspoken antisemitic activists; antisemitic exhibits in the state sponsored Genocide Museum in central Vilnius and the Gruto Parkas theme park near Druskininkai; failure of officials to condemn mainstream organizations that issue antisemitic statements (e.g. the Lithuanian Human Rights Association, and Sajudis); failure of officials to acknowledge and encourage apprehension of the culprits of major antisemitic desecrations of Holocaust and Jewish sites; failure of the (former) foreign minister to apologize for his 2010 antisemitic tirade (reported also on LithChat), which drew a statement of protest from the small remnant Jewish community in Lithuania.
Action to repeal the recent legislation that would punish with prison sentences up to two years those who would not agree to (in effect) equalizing Soviet and Nazi crimes by regarding the former, in Lithuania, as not amounting to genocide. This law is an affront to democracy and open society, and has already intimidated liberal and Western oriented voices in the country. The people of Lithuania deserve the same level of freedom and democracy as all other people in NATO, the European Union and the OSCE. That freedom includes the equal right to support inter alia the Seventy Years Declaration.
Commitment to preserve as a world heritage site Lithuania’s last Jewish anti-Nazi underground fort which is rapidly disappearing because of failure to take elementary steps to ensure preservation for future generations.
Commitment to maintain the Green House (or in the future a morally genuine successor premises in the city center of Vilnius, the nation’s capital) under an intellectually independent leadership with close ties to the Jewish Community, precisely in the spirit of the long-term director Rachel Kostanian. Commitment to halt Holocaust Obfuscation and to allow unmolested Holocaust commemoration and education, inter alia ensuring that institutions and programs dedicated to Genocide commemoration or research do not themselves obfuscate the Holocaust or promote ‘Double Genocide’ revisionism.
Rapid repeal of laws that prevent rightful heirs of owners of property from recovering their own property (or where appropriate, just compensation) if they do not wish to give up their American, Australian, British, Canadian, Israeli or other citizenship. The complex of obstacles put in place (arbitrary long-expired deadlines, restrictions on dual citizenship, laws with racial overtones penalizing descendants of Jewish citizens) can rapidly and honorably be dismantled and replaced by a simple and common-sense solution framed in the spirit of good will and natural justice. Unencumbered return of property to its owner or the owner’s rightful heirs is the simplest and most timeless kind of justice.
Spring 2013Return to Top