O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
Petras Stankeras appeared on the pages of DefendingHistory.com in late November 2010, after publishing on 14 November 2010 in the mainstream Lithuanian weekly magazine Veidas an article in which he called the Holocaust “a myth”, described Ribbentrop’s hanging as a lamentable case of “victor’s justice” (also praising the Nazi foreign minister for conducting himself heroically), and called the Nuremberg Trials “a farce”. A full translation of the article is available here. A subsequent comment piece appeared in this journal early this year.
It turned out that Stankeras worked as “historian” in an official capacity for the Lithuanian Interior Ministry. Some of his earlier works also came under scrutiny: his book published by the Lithuanian Genocide Center on Lithuanian police from 1941 to 1944, and a long-winded apology for the swastika as basically a good symbol with a tarnished reputation that needed correcting, in a smaller circulation weekly newspaper.
Stankeras has now produced an even longer-winded article about the origins and aims of Fascism with a capital F.
Called “Fascism: Communism’s Retarded Child?” it was first published in the magazine of Lithuania’s cultural elite, Kultūros barai, and reprinted in the mainstream daily Lietuvos rytas. Just to put paid to any doubts that the recent spate of antisemitic articles in the mainstream Lithuanian press were some kind of anomaly, a trick of the phases of the moon or a premonition of the Mayan end of the world in 2012, Lietuvos rytas has now done it again.
This time Stankeras in his wikipedian Paul Harvey “rest of the story…” style informs us that Italian fascists and Nazis didn’t really get along all that well, because the early Nazis weren’t antisemitic enough. He is straightforward enough (proud?) to point out that the Italian fascist movers and shakers had strong ties with Lithuanian fascists in the run-up to World War II. He also takes no special pleasure in pointing out that five of the early members of the Fascist Party in Italy were Jewish. He does, however, lament — again as before — fascism’s tarnished reputation in Italy, and says certain Italian municipalities have taken measures to disencumber themselves of the unstated policy of postwar Italian governments to equate Fascism with Nazism and to blame both equally for the Holocaust.
He also goes to pains to cite contemporaries and others offering comparisons between Fascism with a capital F and Communism. He claims the term fasci re-entered the Italian lexicon “… in 1891, when mafia anarchist groups began to form in Sicily (fasci siciliani) who frequently provoked clashes with the police”.
He makes a number of claims that seem to come straight from a Google translation of the corresponding English Wikipedia pages. He rightly says the Futurists and the Fascists formed a bloc in Italy, but doesn’t bother to tell us who the futurists were (a weird amalgamation of artists and people fascinated with “aerospace” and artificial flight). He provides a Webster dictionary definition of fascism as a centrally-controlled entity where the members of society are subservient to the state, but he fails to provide the full definition which happens to mention who controls society (industrial interests), but then again, he spells Webster with a V. He drops names such as George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and “Gabrielis García Márquezas,” alternately welcoming the advent of Italian Fascism or comparing it to Communism. In fact, his entire “article” is an attempt to drop enough recognizable names saying seemingly misguided things about Fascism with a capital F so that the reader is left confused: if Fascism and Nazism aren’t the same thing, and Communism and Fascism have so much in common, and these Lithuanians whose names I know well from history — Valdemaras, Smetona — didn’t think it was such a bad thing, why, maybe I have been misled, maybe Lithuanian Fascism was a good thing, and the Nazis and Communists ruined it for everyone.
In other words, as the Lithuanian Holocaust Obfuscationists with a capital O are wont to say, “it’s not so simple, there is no black and white, only shades of gray.” Of course, Stankeras is on much firmer ground on the topic of Fascism than they are on the topic of massive Lithuanian complicity and glee in the murder and mutilation of their Jewish neighbors. He has again served the interests of the Obfuscationists by attempting to rehabilitate Nazism’s twin, Italian Fascism under Mussolini, for the mainstream and elite reading public in Lithuania.
No, I didn’t fail to translate his voluminous ramblings because they are somehow too dangerous. They are right here, and a little work with Google’s translator should even lead to the sources he again plagiarized on the internet, as with his Nuremberg and swastika articles earlier.