According to historians, the largest slaughter of people in a single day in the history of the Baltic states occurred on the 29th of October 1941, when between nine and ten thousand Jews were gruesomely killed at the ‘Ninth Fort’ near Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, under Nazi German command. Highly motivated local forces carried out most of the killing and the associated humiliation and degradation of the victims. To mark the occasion there is a commemoration ceremony at the site held each year at midday on the last Sunday in October. This year it was held today, under a bright sun that warmed the clear chill of late fall in Lithuania.
Organized by the Jewish Community of Kaunas, and addressed by its leader, Gercas (Hershl) Žakas, this year’s event drew just over a hundred people, filling less than half the paved plaza near the memorial dais. Survivors present expressed concern for the future status of Ninth Fort remembrance here, and Holocaust commemoration more generally. The concern echoes various factors, including the gradual disappearance of survivors and witnesses, the shrinking of the vestigial Jewish community, and the shifting political trends.
O P I N I O N
by Michael Maass
The text of Pastor Michael Maass’s talk at the Sabbath dinner in Plungyán (Plungė), Lithuania, on 15 July 2011, during preparations for the commemoration ceremony at the nearby mass murder site on 17 July 2011. See also Abel Levitt’s speech here, and the imaginary speech of a Lithuanian official here (with further links at end of page).
Text provided by Pastor Michael Maass.
Good evening. We are Michael and Fausta Maass, the directors of the Lithuanian branch of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem. You might say we are ambassadors from the Christian nation to the Jewish nation. We represent millions of Christians in over sixty countries who love Israel and the Jewish people. We are honored to be with you tonight.
We believe that friendship between Jews and Christians is vitally important, especially in light of recent developments in the world. The legitimacy of the nation of Israel is under attack from many sides. Antisemitism is rising to a level not seen since the Second World War.
Michael and Fausta Maass, directors of the Lithuania section of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) issued the following statement today.
Michael and Fausta Maass, directors of the Lithuania section of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)
“The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Lithuanian section, calls upon the Lithuanian government and parliament, the Kaunas mayor’s office, the Church of the Resurrection in Kaunas, and other possibly participating entities involved in the ceremonies honoring Juozas Ambrazavičius-Brazaitis, to cancel any and all such ceremonies.
Ambrazevičius, the “provisional government” of 1941 which he led, and the closely associated Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were complicit in the murders of many thousands of Lithuanian Jews before and during the German occupation of Lithuania.
I would like to make an observation concerning the use of Jewish cemeteries for building projects, as this has come to be a major issue of controversy in Lithuania, and in other nations as well.
I would like to pose a question: Would these building projects be pursued if the cemeteries in question were the resting places of Catholics, Protestant Christians, or other non-Jewish people?
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Michael & Fausta Maass, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism
Tagged cemetery at Piramont (Snipiskes, Christian-Jewish relations in Lithuania, Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Shnipishok)
Šis vertimas, kuriam autorius davė sutikimą, yra ištrauka iš ilgesnio jo rašinio, publikuoto anglų kalba 2015 m. Michael Maass yra lietuviškosios Tarptautinės krikščionių ambasados Jeruzalėje (TKAJ, angliškai International Christian Embassy Jerusalem arba ICEJ) sekcijos direktorius. Daugiau pastoriaus rašinių portalui „Defending History“ galite rasti čia.
Norėčiau pasisakyti žydų kapinių panaudojimo statybų projektams tema, kuri šiuo metu kelia diskusijas Lietuvoje ir kitose valstybėse. Norėčiau paklausti: ar būtų vykdomi šie statybų projektai, jei tose kapinėse ilsėtųsi katalikai, protestantai arba kiti ne žydai?