by Josif Parasonis (Vilnius)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a working translation, approved by Prof. Parasonis, of his 27 Feb. 2020 article in Lithuanian that appeared on the website of LRT (Lithuanian Radio and Television network), in response to LRT’s 24 January television interview with the chairperson of the (state-sponsored) Lithuanian Jewish Community (translation of the interview; reference in the article to an earlier program is to a 2018 broadcast, online here, at 22 min. mark). Shortly after the appearance of Prof. Parasonis’s article, the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) confirmed on its Facebook page that he represents the position of the VJC. A Russian version also appears on the VJC’s page. In the event of any matter arising in the text, Prof. Parasonis’s Lithuanian original alone is authoritative.
The trailer for the 24 January 2020 show on the “Lietuvos Rytas” TV channel was quite intriguing: “Faina Kukliansky on the still resilient discrimination against Jews.” In the course of the program, speaking to its mass audience, the official chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky, made a series of dubious statements, some of which are incompatible with moral norms, and some of which may be incompatible with the laws of our country. In my opinion, the public space continues to pretend that the program “never took place.” I have therefore found it necessary to share my thoughts with the public.
The discussion on the program was about Lithuanian Jews, their relations to Lithuanians, the guest’s career and her personal life. When it came to Lithuanian Jews, Ms. Kukliansky talked about them in the past tense, as if she were not one of them, in a dismissive manner: “They are no longer here, they were murdered, it’s not worth harassing the remaining ones. […] Perhaps we could say that there would have been many Einsteins among those who were killed.”