The Vilnius city administration (municipality) said today that it had ‘no intention of responding to the statement’ issued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center on 17 February condemning its decision to provide a permit for yet another city-center Neo-Nazi parade in the capital on the occasion of its March 11th Independence Day.
The statement, issued by Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office quotes Dr Zuroff as follows:
“Freedom of speech does not include the right to incite hatred of Lithuania’s minorities and foreigners. The fact that racist and antisemitic slogans could be shouted with impunity on the main avenue of a capital of a member state of the European Union is incomprehensible. One of the primary factors for the rise of ultranationalist sentiments in Lithuania has been the abysmal failure of successive governments to teach the truth about the extensive complicity of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes and to punish local Nazi war criminals. Had the truth been admitted, there would be virtually no support in Lithuanian society for racism and antisemitism, but instead the government is spending hundreds of thousands of euros on falsifying the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania and seeking support for the lie that Communist crimes were just as terrible as those of the Nazis.”—Dr Efraim Zuroff