The following is a translation of an October 2, 2013 piece published by former Baltic News Service chief Artūras Račas on his blog. For context, see some of Mr. Račas’s previous work on Holocaust related issues, e.g. his comments on state investigations of Holocaust survivors who became anti-Nazi partisans (2008) and on Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Dr. Efraim Zuroff (2013); see also Prof. Fridberg’s reply.
On the Holocaust and Brown-Nosing
October 2, 2013
I’ll begin with a suggestion: to change the date of Coronation of Lithuanian King Mindaugas Day. Because no one really knows anyway when that Mindaugas really was crowned… This was calculated by professor Gudavičius, and so it can be recalculated. And to move State Day to somewhere in December or January.
You might ask why I want to do this. Well, because it’s not appropriate to have fun on July 6. Just as it is inappropriate to have fun on July 5 or 4 or 17. Never mind June 6, 14 or 27. And it’s inappropriate to have fun in August. And September as well. And we should even move September 1.
Well, at least that’s what my beloved Lietuvos rytas staff member Dovydas Pancerovas says. I agree with him and the beloved-by-some writer Sergejus Kanovičius. And both of them are applauded by my also beloved Efraim Zuroff and Professor Pinchos Fridberg who loves me very much.
On the latter two, really, I’m just guessing, but the first two here very recently cried thunderously and moralized that it is not appropriate to stage a meeting with the Lithuanian basketball team on September 23 and how more inappropriate it was that the prime minister and president took part in them, and that M. Mikutavičius sang “Trys milijonai” [Three Million] (although he didn’t sing about the millions, but Pancerovas-style “little journalists” don’t think facts are the most important thing).
According to these two moralizers, it is not appropriate to sing on this day because one must mourn. In case anyone doesn’t know, I’ll remind you, that day (and if you prefer it more accurately, that’s September 23 and 24, 1943) the Vilnius ghetto was liquidated. To put it plainly, the Jews in the ghetto who had survived till then were murdered (at that time only a minority of them remained, because the largest massacres took place back in 1941).
This is a brutal story and is surely worth remembering. Remembering not just during ceremonies at Paneriai, but remembering all the time. Best of all, as one starts grade school and with commemorative signs. Until now there has been neither (Krakės, where more than 1,000 Jews were murdered, is a great example: it seems the local administrative building there is built on the foundations of a synagogue, but you will find no mention of the synagogue or the ghetto there).
But does remembering mean always mourning? If so, then Pancerovas and Kanovičius are hypocrites. The same as my already mentioned professor Pinchos Fridberg, who recently screamed to the whole world how bad Lithuanians are, because they tell fanciful stories about rescuers of Jews. Fanciful, according to him, because they didn’t count the number of people rescued correctly. As if the rescuers were somehow less worthy of honor because of that.
It seems that Pancerovas and Kanovičius count the same way: meeting basketball players on September 23 is bad, but it’s just fine to celebrate July 6 or July 4.
But what, those who were shot at Krakės, Kaunas, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Ariogala, Žagarė, Kelmė, Salantai, Gargždai, Zarasai or even at Pancerovas’s own native Tauragė don’t need to be mourned? One doesn’t want to count, as does Professor Pinchos, but the Jews murdered in Vilnius comprised perhaps only a quarter of all Jews murdered in Lithuania. So why then does that one quarter need to be remembered with flags of mourning and banned concerts, as Pancerovas and Kanovičius suggest, while the other three quarters [are to be mourned] with singing and dancing?
Is this because, as Pancerovas himself said, September 23 was technically selected for mourning? That someone once upon a time made a decision, does choosing a single day for mourning solve the problem? After all, the mass murder of Jews actually took place from June 22 until the end of September, while in the ghettos [it lasted] entire years until 1944 itself. Each day during the summer of 1941, several dozen to several thousand Jews were murdered. Their memory doesn’t need to be honored?
I don’t think so. Because the problems aren’t solved by solemn meetings or by banning concerts. They are solved through realization and understanding of what happened. And—and here I might be misunderstood—but to my mind, realization and understanding will not arrive when we all mark the liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto together, but when the residents of Kelmė, Krakės, Tauragė, Gruzdžiai, Ariogala, Josvainiai and other small towns, finding a silver spoon in their dresser drawers, and ask their still-living grandparents where it came from.
Realization will come when we grasp that the 2,000-3,000 Lithuanians who “officially” participated in the massacres of Jews is a falsification of history, because truly that figure is at least several times larger. And counting those who performed the function of passive observer, perhaps ten or more times larger.
This is what we really need when we speak of the Holocaust and honoring its victims.
And that which Pancerovas and Kanovičius are doing is simply brown-nosing. Just that, and nothing more.