REYKJAVIK—Dr. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, an historian, archaeologist and human rights specialist in Iceland and Denmark, who has in recent years contributed to Defending History, today released to the media his letter to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute asking if the HRMI will again this week maintain its perennial silence about the capital’s annual neo-Nazi marches on the March 11th independence day. The municipality of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, has been granting the city center on independence day to neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists who have since 2008 been chanting each year exclusivist and exclusionary slogans as well as sporting racist and Nazi signs and symbols. In recent years, they have also featured huge banners honoring a local 1941 Nazi collaborator in the Holocaust who was in 2012 reburied with full honors by the state.
Dr. Vilhjálmsson’s letter reads as follows:
Dear staff of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute in Vilnius:
Will any of these more-beautiful-than-life people, seen here https://www.hrmi.lt/en/about-us/people32/, go and monitor the violation of human rights, which is about to occur once again on the streets of Vilnius?
When Neo-Nazi groups go marching on the streets of Vilnius next Wednesday, the ugliest part of the Lithuanian population tramps on the memory of over 190,000 Jews killed in your country during World War II. The Nazi-marchers will no doubt walk with banners to hail Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.
I have personally been a witness to one of the government sponsored praising of Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis in 2012 (http://defendinghistory.com/take-off-your-hat-this-is-not-the-synagogue/36029). It was a shameful conference in a democratic EU-member state. The participants were obviously not neo-Nazis, but they canonized a WWII Nazi-collaborator, who has a saintly status among the neo-Nazis of Lithuania.
Human rights are being violated on the streets of Vilnius. Your Institute, if any, must go and monitor that violation and shameful Holocaust denial and obfuscation which is practised in your country. It is a human rights violation.
As an Icelandic citizen, I feel that Iceland did not, first among Western states, support the independence of Lithuania, later to have to witness organized and annual praising of Lithuanian-Nazi collaboration on the streets of the Lithuanian capital.
Stop this violation of human rights in Lithuania. Tell the world what is going on your streets!
Dr. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson