OPINION | RED-BROWN COMMISSION (PAGE) | RB COMMISSION (SECTION) | DOUBLE GENOCIDE | VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE
VILNIUS—The news portal Delfi.lt reported yesterday on Lithuanian sharpshooting star Ronaldas Račinskas making a hit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics not only for his talents with a rifle, but on his work back home for which the headline calls him the “Nazi-Soviet hunter,” in the latest of a long series of Holocaust terms appropriated and ably recast by the Red-Brown movement’s PR wizzards. Besides heading a commission that now includes the gentleman who launched the campaign, a decade ago, to “hunt” Holocaust survivors who joined the Jewish partisans, his “Nazi and Soviet hunting” refers to his role as Director of the Secretariat of that comission, popularly known as the Red-Brown Commission, a state-financed entity that is one of the main European engines for spreading the revisionist far right’s “Double Genocide” model of World War II history. In that history, as an example, those who liberated Auschwitz are declared to be equal in principle to those who committed the genocide there. Moreover the movement’s primary document, the 2008 Prague Declaration (PD), insists that all European “minds” accept the revised history and regard Nazi and Soviet crimes as equal, a stance widely considered to be a camouflage for obfuscating and diminishing the Holocaust. The response in the European arena came in the form of the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (SYD).
Back home in Vilnius, Mr. Račinskas’s commission, formally known as the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes of Lithuania” has been called a “propaganda agency,” among others by Geoff Vasil, now a spokesman, chief translator and author for the Jewish Community of Lithuania. Holocaust survivors were the first to object to the commission’s de facto mission.
This Olympian’s commission (back home) includes the man who launched the “hunt” of Holocaust survivors who joined with the anti-Nazi partisans. What do Holocaust survivors think? What does the commission’s own former member Dr. Yitzhak Arad (former head of Yad Vashem) think?
Most recently, Mr. Račinskas provided to Newsweek what observers here called a “disingenuous” response on the new book by Ruta Vanagaite and the world famous Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff, which unlike the commission’s PR events fronted by professors-turned into PR folks, represents a Lithuanian author telling the simple truth of the genocide that took the lives of around 95% of Lithuania’s prewar Jewish minority. (In line with Baltic revisionists’ insistence, this is reduced to 90% in this week’s Rio interviews, as some in these circles hope that the 5% differential will help obfuscate Baltic exceptionalism in Holocaust history).
Over the years, Račinskas has been accused of threatening a Yiddish professor who was subsequently disemployed by his cousin and shooting-club partner, Prof. Sarunas Liekis, a major historian. Liekis was himself afterwards rewarded with membership in the locally high-brow red-brown commission, and is today the director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (despite a scholarly output in Yiddish Studies that specialists call “a little bit thin”). He has publicly explained how (de facto) Holocaust revisionism serves today’s politics, and has been a potent PR tool for the state-sponsored Holocaust industry’s camp, reaching even the Economist, and devotes much of his public relations work to trashing the Yiddish professor he dismissed, who had initially brought him to the institute from his earlier job at the Soros Foundation in Vilnius.
Most notoriously, Račinskas referred to beloved Vilnius Holocaust survivor Professor Pinchos Fridberg as a “liar,” on the state-sponsored website (chronology here) after the elderly professor dared correct a mistake at one of the Commission’s conferences that was dedicated to the theme that all of Europe must believe a “unified” (in other words the exact same) model of history. He refused to take down the slur and “higher authorities” eventually had to remove and begin to replace the entire website.
Mr. Račinskas’s legendary ability to charm and woo naive (or honor-and-event-hungry) foreign (especially American and Israeli) personalities with one narrative, while pursuing the real red-equals-brown narrative for local audiences was exposed in Defending History years ago. But the impact was not felt until one day he let the shoe drop himself, and stated his views on the “equivalence” of Nazi war criminals and Jewish resistance partisans (who fought the Nazis), in a filmed interview that appears in a recent German documentary.
According to the Delfi.lt article, and others, Mr. Račinskas’s work on Nazi and Soviet crimes has become something of a sensation in the Brazilian media. But will they now follow up both sides of the story?