VILNIUS—The following interview of DH editor Dovid Katz by Alexandra Kudukis appeared in the Lithuania Tribune today.
Alexandra Kudukis: Professor Katz, you shared that although you were not surprised by the decision, you believed the verdict only serves to divide and hold Lithuania as a culture and people back. Could you please expound on that thought?
My view, consolidated after twenty years of choosing to live in beautiful Vilnius, is that the Lithuanian people by and large have absolutely no interest in there being state-sponsored monuments to Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators or street names glorifying them. This is a kind of self-destructive obsession of a very small but very powerful elite that deals with “history” in government, government-sponsored research and public affairs, agencies and history departments.
Here, in this most delightfully democratic of countries, the one exception is freedom to disagree about history! My dear friend Evaldas Balčiūnas, for example, did the country a huge service by publishing a series of articles, starting in 2012, in both Lithuanian and English, on the topic of “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” He lost his job and career, and was lugged into court for useless kangaroo hearings for years (for the saga in English, please see his section in Defending History, here: (please scroll down to May 2014). In fact, virtually all who have spoken up on these issues have seen our jobs come to a rapid end (see a summary here).