Text of the Letter from MEP Leonidas Donskis on the Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis Festivities

MEP Leonidas Donskis’s letter, in reply to Krystyna Anna Steiger, author of the international petition against the VMU event, was released today by the MEP for immediate publication in DefendingHistory.com (more background here).

The full text is as follows:

Dear Madam,

The memorial conference will NOT take place at Vytautas Magnus University, as it was canceled by Rector Prof. Zigmas Lydeka and Vice-Rector Prof. Auksė Balčytienė last night. Together with these respectable and honorable people, we did our utmost to save the honor of our university. The shadow was cast planning and organizing the event behind the scenes, without consulting the Rector’s office.

“Our authorities, by trying to honor Ambrazevičius, dealt a blow and probably killed, nearly overnight, all their attempts to get things done and to improve the situation regarding historical justice and truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust education, our memory politics, etc. It is impossible to pursue two mutually exclusive political goals maintaining two packages which are impossible to reconcile. We cannot sympathize with both victims and perpetrators.” 

The official letter has already been sent to the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania clearly indicating that if the Parliament and/or the Government assumes responsibility for certain political events and non-academic commemoration ceremonies, they should be held in the Parliament or elsewhere but not at our university.

From the very beginning, I couldn’t believe that this would be possible at Vytautas Magnus University which is far and away the most liberal university in Lithuania and in the Baltic region. It took some time to figure out what kind of stratagems were pursued behind the scenes, yet the final position of the university sends a clear message: such an event would have been a disgrace, therefore, we reject any attempt to glorify individuals and groups who symbolize the suffering and the catastrophe of Lithuanian Jews.

The event has been canceled. Yesterday, I gave an interview to BNS (Baltic News Service) where I put it simply, that our authorities, by trying to honor Ambrazevičius, dealt a blow and probably killed, nearly overnight, all their attempts to get things done and to improve the situation regarding historical justice and truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust education, our memory politics, etc. It is impossible to pursue two mutually exclusive political goals maintaining two packages which are impossible to reconcile. We cannot sympathize with both victims and perpetrators.

I am responsible for my university as well, since I served as Professor and Dean of Vytautas Magnus University Political Science and Diplomacy School prior to my election to the European Parliament.

“As a citizen and patriot of Lithuania, I raise my voice and take a stand against the obfuscation of the Holocaust and against what I take as a slap in the face to all Holocaust survivors. As a citizen and as a Lithuanian academic, I apologize to all Holocaust survivors for this shameful, unpardonable, and deeply insensitive move of my country and its political elite. This is a disgrace. J’accuse.” 

As a citizen and patriot of Lithuania, I raise my voice and take a stand against the obfuscation of the Holocaust and against what I take as a slap in the face to all Holocaust survivors. As a citizen and as a Lithuanian academic, I apologize to all Holocaust survivors for this shameful, unpardonable, and deeply insensitive move of my country and its political elite. This is a disgrace. J’accuse.

This is the latest news. Please dissociate Vytautas Magnus University from our authorities and their overt or covert actions which are planned and which are to be held in the coming days.

Respectfully,

Prof. Leonidas Donskis MEP ALDE (2009-2014)

European Parliament Bt. Altiero Spinelli 10G217 60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60 B-1047, Bruxelles/Brussel, Belgium

This entry was posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Leonidas Donskis, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
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