The following statement appeared today on the website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania:
STATEMENT BY THE JEWISH (LITVAK) COMMUNITY
It is not surprising that experienced journalists and politicians as well as leaders of well-known Jewish institutions, who are following Ms. Kukliansky’s activities devoted to expose Nazi criminals as well as to fight Neo-Nazism, were left in a complete state of confusion after reading Mr. Zuroff’s so called protest.
Perhaps it is much easier to simply demonize some small country’s even smaller institution, unjustly accuse chair of local Jewish community and exalt her deceased predecessor than to engage in any kind of scientific research or a civilized discussion.
Mr. Zuroff, as it shows in his letters (here and here) of January 28 addressed to Ms. Kukliansky, was extremely quick to judge the cooperation between Jewish Community and Genocide Center. While the Jewish Community and Genocide Center certainly do not agree on some issues, the recent cooperation between the two institutions has brought some positive results:
2055 Lithuanian citizens (including partisans and officials) were exposed as potential Nazi war criminals;
Lithuanian carriers of Righteous Among The Nations status have been awarded Lithuanian Freedom Fighter title granting them a right to receive Lithuanian state pensions of second degree;
The newly discovered remains of more than 60 first victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania, killed in 1941 July, were properly buried in accordance to Jewish traditions and a monument dedicated to their memory has been made from Genocide Center funds. Rabbi Schlesinger and IDF soldiers participated in the burial ceremony;
In 2011 exposition regarding Soviet repressions against Jewish people was presented by Genocide Center that gained a moderate International acknowledgment.
The material above is provided for the informational reasons, rather than as a form of defense. There is absolutely no doubt the Jewish Community will continue its work to resolve remaining issues with the Genocide Center, as cherishing and defending history is one of top priorities of Litvak descendants as well as World Jewry.
Contrary to certain individuals’ way of thinking and acting, Lithuanian Jewish Community is a firm believer that in order to reach higher goals, namely to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, restore and preserve rich and vibrant Litvak and Yiddish heritage, NOT to seek trivial attention by instigating scandals, it must strengthen ties with those people and institutions who might serve for that higher purpose in one way or another. Therefore, any issues must be resolved by communication. Communication, not the lack of, is the answer for a better mutual understanding.
As regarding Mr. Arunas Bubnys and his works on Holocaust, each and every work can and definitely should be subjected to analysis and constructive criticism. Ms. Kukliansky is not a historian, she is a mere descendant of people who were imprisoned in ghetto, whose property has been destroyed or looted, people who were victims, among the other 95% of Lithuanian Jewry of the biggest tragedy of Jewish history, the Holocaust. Therefore blatantly unsubstantial statements, bigoted insults made by Mr. Zuroff in his recent letter has deeply hurt Ms. Kukliansky, insulted the memory of her deceased ancestors and therefore should be deemed immoral and slanderous.
Mr. Bubnys’ newest book on Šiauliai Ghetto was presented on 26th of January after the main event to commemorate The International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The presentation took the form of discussion and in order to make it more effective, Ms. Kukliansky invited Ms. Jevgenija Sedova, a person who works in Vilna Gaon museum, a compiling author of the Siauliai Ghetto: List of prisoners 1942 to discuss the questionable aspects of his newest work. It is indeed astonishing how much Mr. Zuroff has to say about the event without even actually participating in it. The concept of constructive discussion is probably not an option when blind (or perhaps sponsored?) fanatism-like behavior takes the place of rational thought – the latter then becomes utterly foreign.
The Jewish (Litvak) Community of Lithuania forever will be fully devoted to its duty to preserve the memory of Shoa, defend historical truth, expose and condemn Nazi war criminals, including Lithuanian Nazi collaborators, fight the manifestations of Antisemitism, including the contemporary forms of it – negation of the State of Israel and Neo-Nazism, without actually engaging in a war with local authorities. Instead it will always try resolve to a constructive discussion, cooperation and negotiation, relying on communication, education, national and international legal measures.