OPINION | HISTORY | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | HUMAN RIGHTS | VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS
A new section has been added today to Defending History’s existing repertoire, one dedicated to the legacy of 23 June 1941, which for the Jews of Lithuania and other countries represents the onset of the Holocaust east of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line, a day after the launch of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, his attack on the then Soviet Union. On this day in a number of countries, including Lithuania, Latvia and (western) Ukraine, local “freedom fighters” began to molest, humiliate and butcher innocent Jewish neighbors before the arrival of the first German forces. Nothing can be more painful in the 21st century than pro-Western governments, elites, institutions and societal leaders glorifying the day as one of alleged uprising against the Soviet Union. For one thing, it is falsification of history: the Soviet forces were fleeing Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not the local Jew-killers. For another, the current glorification of the Holocaust’s first local perpetrators is an affront to civilized society, human rights and basic decency. The new section is The Legacy of 23 June.
Historically, it is important to note that the mischaracterization of the onset of the Holocaust in a number of East European countries as a “rebellion against the Soviets” is worse than mistaken, it is a distortion in the interests of ultranationalist, far-right rewriting of history. These “rebels” did not fire a shot when the Soviets were in control. You cannot rebel against an army that is fleeing an external invasion. The Soviets were fleeing Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in human history, not the LAF Jew-killers. . .