VILNIUS—In a move causing anguish and an aura of disbelief among Holocaust survivors and their families, and Lithuania’s small Jewish community, the remains of a major 1941 collaborator of Nazi rule will be re-interred this month with full honors during a series of events designed to honor him, and by extension, wider institutionalized local Nazi collaboration.
Lithuanian media, including BNS, Bernardinai.lt, Kauno diena and 15min.lt have reported that the remains of Juozas Brazaitis (Ambrazevičius), who died in the United States in 1974, will be re-interred from Putnam, Connecticut, to the Church of the Resurrection in Kaunas this month. En route, he will be honored in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, in a ceremony slated for 17 May. In a statement, Andrius Kupčinskas, the mayor of Kaunas, said: “Every head of state must be honored by the state.”
UPDATES / ADDITIONS:
English transation of the official program of events honoring Brazaitis on 17, 18, 19 and 20 MAY including a conference at Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuanian original here; flaunted on the website of the Genocide Center here)
A whitewash documentary to honor Brazaitis (Ambrazevičius) will premier in Kaunas on Sunday 20 May; promo video is here
Question: Will the Double Genocide Industry attempt to instrumentalize Prof. Timothy Snyder’s concurrent visit to provide cover for the Brazaitis travesty? It is hoped in any case that Prof. Snyder will publicly condemn the honoring (in the week of his visit) of the Nazi puppet government. An event to honor the Lithuanian publication of Bloodlands was arguably abused last September.
Brazaitis (Ambrazevičius) was prime minister of the Nazi-puppet “Provisional Government” (PG) from the day it was formed on 23 June 1941 to its dismantling by Nazi overlords on 5 August 1941. It was formed by the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), whose members and allies unleashed murder, mutilation, rape and pillage against dozens of Jewish communities in Lithuania in the days before the Germans arrived and set up their new administration.
Complicity in the Holocaust by the Provisional Government (PG) during the initial weeks of Holocaust barbarity in Lithuania has been documented extensively.
Around ninety-five percent of Lithuanian Jewry perished in the Holocaust, the highest percentage in Europe, due to the massive participation and collaboration of locals. In 2011, to mark the seventieth anniversary of those events, the Lithuanian government, alongside its program of Holocaust events for diplomats and foreigners, financed an array of activities glorifying the perpetrators as “patriotic freedom fighters” (see Milan Chersonski’s recent report). The attempted rehabilitation of perpetrators is part of a disturbing trend in the Baltics and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
“Lithuania has magnificent real heroes of 1941: the inspirational people who saved an innocent neighbor from the LAF and Provisional Government’s reign of genocide, starting with the war’s first week. They are that year’s heroes of history who should be honored. May their families live to see streets and squares named for them.”
In the now familiar spirit of instrumentalizing academia for the rehabilitation and glorification of Nazi collaborators morally complicit in the Holocaust, it is also being announced that a scholarly conference dedicated to Brazaitis will be convened at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. The head of that institution’s Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy is also the director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, which has been heavily involved in obfuscationist activities since being purged of Jewish academic staff in recent years. During a Lithuanian government sponsored conference in London last year, he described the surviving Litvak community as one of two “Talibans” (the other being the antisemitic establishment in the country).
Also last year, another Vilnius professor who has been teaching a specific course on Holocaust Studies for the Erasmus Program tried hard to whitewash the Provisional Government. His views were forcefully rebuffed by Professor Leonidas Donskis, formerly of Vytautas Magnus University, and now a member of the European Parliament.
Promo for Whitewash “Documentary” to be shown at VMU.
Festivities seen as revival of earlier campaign to sanitize and glorify local 1941 fascist leaders.
The name of the Nazi puppet prime minister being honored, Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, appears (among others) atop the 27 June 1941 appeal calling for “all means” against the Jews but avoiding “public executions”; the 30 June 1941 order for setting up a concentration camp for Jews; and the 7 July 1941 order for establishment of the Kovno (Kaunas) Ghetto.
Lithuanian champions of tolerance and honesty in history have protested the state-sponsored efforts to sanitize and heroize Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators (see among others essays by Nida Vasiliauskaitė, Tomas Venclova, and Evaldas Balčiūnas).