TEL AVIV—The following public statement was received at 2:15 PM Tel Aviv time from the offices of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel at King David Boulevard 1. In addition, the ALJ today released the letter written by its chairman to the head of Yad Vashem (English translation here). Background.
“We, survivors of the Lithuanian Holocaust and veterans of the resistance against Nazi Germany, advanced in years but determined as ever to honor and protect the dignity, history and memory of victims and survivors, will continue with our last breath to unequivocally oppose historical obfuscation and distortion by apologists for the perpetrators and collaborators, particularly as pursued by the Lithuanian government which has invested significant financial and political capital in distorting the true history of the Holocaust.
“The primary engine of this distortion has been the so-called ‘International Commission for the Evaluation of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania’ (known for short as the ‘red-brown commission’). This commission has spared no effort to officially support the 2008 Prague Declaration which declared Nazism and Communism to be equal as part of the ongoing politics of obfuscation and revisionism. Incredibly, the commission’s chairman was one of the original signatories of that infamous document.
“Within Lithuania, over the past few years, practical results on the ground of these policies have included sham investigations and attempted prosecutions (with massive public defamation) of Holocaust survivors who proudly joined the anti-Nazi resistance. At the same time, we have repeatedly seen state-sponsored glorification of the Lithuanian Activist Front, Provisional Government, and other participants and collaborators in the mass butchery of Lithuanian Jewry that began in the days before the arrival of the first Germans following the outbreak of war in June of 1941.
“Various supposed Holocaust activities have served as cover for an array of shameful legal measures including sham accusations from 2006 onward against Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance, a 2008 law on equality of Nazi and Soviet symbols, a 2010 law banning dissent, a ruling the same year legalizing public swastikas, and state-sanctioned neo-Nazi parades in the capital on independence day. Now in 2012, we have even been witness to the haunting travesty of the state-sponsored reburial and glorification of the country’s 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.
“We call on scholars and public figures opposed to antisemitic, neo-Nazi and far-right revision programs to oppose the recent reconstitution of this commission.
“We call on its new foreign members to resign in protest and not let themselves be used as ‘Useful Idiots’ and we call on Israeli, Jewish and anti-fascist organizations around the world to boycott this commission and its activities.
“With heavy hearts but with a vital and energetic sense of purpose, we respectfully put these words into the record, asking future historians to take heed of the deceptions being undertaken to falsify the record of the massive voluntary participation, starting even before the Nazis’ arrival, in the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry which played no small role in the country’s having the highest proportion of Jews killed in Holocaust-era Europe.”
JOSEPH A. MELAMED, attorney
Chairman, Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel
3 September 2012