OPINION | DOCUMENTS | BLAMING THE VICTIMS? | DOUBLE GENOCIDE | VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER | ANTISEMITISM | PRO-NAZI MARCHES | VILNIUS MARCHES
VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.
A separate article provided summaries of the background documents: a protest from the Nationalist Union to the president of Lithuania for having awarded Ms. Brantsovsky a medal for Holocaust education in February 2017, the president’s referral of the protest to the state-sponsored Genocide Center, the Genocide Center’s quite incredible “defense” of Ms. Brantsovsky (in effect calling her just the “wife of a murderer” and trashing her Holocaust-survivor husband who passed away decades ago), and the Nationalist Union’s reply. Complete translations are there provided of the Genocide Center’s letter and the Nationalist Union’s reply.
The following is an English translation from the videotape of the actual “ceremony” that was held in the forecourt of the presidential palace.
Transcription from the videotape of the Nationalist Union’s Independence Day Event at the Presidential Palace Forecourt, as detour from the annual neo-Nazi march through central Vilnius:
[0:09; ambience]: song “Ėjo kariai” (“The soldiers were marching”) by “Diktatūra” (“Dictatorship”, one of the most famous Lithuanian neo-nazi bands) is playing
[1:24; ambience]: “Bolševikai tegul žino” (“Let the Bolsheviks Know”), a traditional folk song of the “Forest Brothers” is playing
[3:22; unknown speaker]: My dear friends! I know that you can hear me now. A little while ago, our society, at least its patriotic component, was alarmed, and perhaps even terrified at the news that people who, according to our opinion, surely cannot be among those awarded by the Lithuanian Republic — a democratic state — are receiving the awards of the Lithuanian state. Why am I saying this? I say this because Fania Brancovska[ja], recipient of the state award, was a member of a criminal organisation responsible for taking away the lives of about forty Lithuanian citizens. Taking away lives, and for what? Only because they did not have food to give to these armed people, to this group of terrorists. Now, when we worry about the recent events, when an innocent young woman perished — was murdered — [talking about a recent well-publicized murder case in Lithuania] and all of society is touched by this fact emotionally, feels compassion for the victim and anger at the state that is not able to fight crime effectively, we cannot tolerate — even though it happened a long time ago and in wartime — that forty people were killed. We simply cannot!
The Nationalist Union addressed the President of the Republic, by whose decree this honor was awarded, to reanalyze the situation. We asked for it to be clarified whether this award is truly well-grounded, whether there surely are no lawful reasons to reject the possibility of such an award. And we must admit, with sadness, that the reply that we got does not change the current situation. Therefore, the Nationalist Union addressed the President of the Republic once more, and asked her to come back to this situation and analyze it again. I hereby invite Arūnas Eigirdas to read the text of this appeal.
[6:10; Arūnas Eigirdas]: Good afternoon, dear participants, I will now read the Nationalist Union’s open letter to the President of the Republic of Lithuania, her excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė: “With Regard to revocation of the award “For Merits to Lithuania” awarded to the partisan Fania Yocheles Brancovskaja:
Thank you for your reply to the request by The Nationalist Union to revoke a decree of the President of Lithuania that presented an award on the occasion of the 16th of February  to a Soviet partisan, whose squad on the 29th of January 1944 annihilated the civilians of a Lithuanian village Kaniūkai in the southeast of Lithuania (along with the women and children!). The Nationalist Union has drawn to the attention of your Excellency, that it is a certain and unjustified mistake that calls for correction.
In this reply co-signed by the chief of the Department of Service for Individuals it was instructed that this be addressed to the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, which as per its own competence would supposedly justify the motives of the above mentioned award. A similar direction was most likely issued to the Center’s [Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania] leadership, as already the next day the nationalists received a written explanation co-signed by the director.
In this explanation by the Center, it is contained in fact the motives and factual circumstances of such an award, that your Excellency was making her judgment upon, and here there occurred a grand misunderstanding to which we repeatedly request to draw your attention to and to revoke (that is to recall) the award.
From the explanation it is clear that a squad of Soviet partisans, of which Brancovskaja was a very active member, was carrying out a crime with no statute of limitation. Furthermore, the Center does not dispute the sources (that is the memoirs of the Jewish nationals), claiming that Brancovskaja herself partook in this “operation”. But the Center suggests we should not trust these sources because Soviet partisans would invent facts that did not happen in order to gain a greater backing from the Soviet authorities. There the Center claims, that some of the residents of Kaniūkai had been wounded, therefore not all were massacred (but in any case it is left unclear what their destiny was!).
Distinct astonishment is raised by a new fact, that the spouse of Brancovskaja was definitely partaking in the massacre. Even if Brancovskaja personally did not kill any of the village’s children, then she lived with a murderer from then onward (also possibly for the willingness to please the Soviet regime and to attain its indulgence).
So where are the merits to the Lithuanian Republic? Be it only the case of unproven allegation for a committed crime, though the participation of Brancovskaja in the operations of Soviet partisans and her role remains highly controversial, and this can not be considered a merit by any means, the more so given the fact that from publicly available video material it is clear that Brancovskaja does not regret her subversive Soviet activity, not for the “appeasement”of the village itself, as she noted in a TV program.
According to the explanation of the Center, one would conclude that your Excellency thinks, that from now on a “broader” attitude has to be observed with regards to the Soviet partisan action against the Nazis, as an “exclusive anti-civilization occurrence,” a fight for the Western world’s values has to be recognized. And this is acclaimed to be a merit to Lithuania. But according to this logic we should also award the Soviet “Lithuanian division” veterans or even the war veterans residing in Russia (as they also fought against the Nazis, and a big part of them even did not annihilate Lithuanians!). According to this “broader” view even Stalin was fighting for the values of the West. And why did we then need to boycott the jubilee celebration of the “Great Patriotic War” in Moscow?
The Nationalists have always supported Your Excellency’s dignified and resolute poise with regards to questions of national security. We believe that also the majority of Lithuanian citizens respect a clear position of the nation’s leader. But this vexatious mistake, while giving an award to a person that served the structures of occupation, and whose sole merit to Lithuania is that it is not proved that she has committed a war crime, may undermine that respect and trust.
It is recognized internationally that the threat from the Kremlin is ever increasing, and in the public domain it is wished that the resoluteness and abilities of Lithuanian citizens to defend their country be increased, to counteract the actions of the information war that is being carried out by the Kremlin. How will in this context an award to a Soviet partisan be defended? What will the message be to the citizens, with regards to what it is that is considered a merit to the Lithuanian state?
If someone is suggesting that through such “awards” the relationship with Israel will be improved, and now there is fear that a revocation would harm that relationship, that too would be yet another mistake. Among decent Jews not susceptible of any crimes it is surely possible to find people who are worthy of their merits being recognized. And so it is in the sphere of scientific work, and creative work, and promoting the name of Lithuania, its culture and its history in the entire world.
We hope, that your Excellency will carry out a just decree and will remain a moral authority in the eyes of Lithuanian citizens.
Respectfully, Nationalist Union’s Chairman Sakalas Gorodeckis.”