The Seimas (parliament of Lithuania) today issued this official English version of its ‘resolution on declaring the year 2011 as the year of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania’. The succinct statement expresses ‘sincere respect for the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania’, mentioning ‘the genocide perpetrated against Jews by Nazis and their collaborators in Lithuania during the occupation by Nazi Germany’.
It goes on, in Article 2, to propose that by 1 November 2010 there be a specific program approved, that will include ‘honoring the residents of Lithuania who fought against Fascism’. Given that the Soviet Union was the only major force fighting the Nazis here between the start of Hitler’s invasion on 22 June 1941 and the liberation of the country by Soviet forces in July 1944, this formulation of necessity includes the small handful of Jewish incarcerees of the ghettos who escaped to join the Soviet partisans in the forests in the anti-Hitler movement.
The ‘slight problem’ is that Lithuania is the only country on the planet that investigates, defames and harasses anti-Nazi partisans for alleged ‘war crimes’, and has to this day failed to actually closed its own kangaroo antisemitic pseudo-investigations into Dr Yitzhak Arad, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky and Dr Rachel Margolis. It is incredible that the Seimas would think it could claim to ‘honor the residents of Lithuania who fought against Fascism’ without in the same document condemning the defamation of these specific Holocaust Survivors whom the State herself been defaming for years now. In fact, Lithuania’s policies on these matters have attracted widespread international condemnation. Five prominent members of the United States Congress are still waiting for a meaningful response to their letter of December 2009 on this subject.
There are multiple other matters that go to the heart of the sincerity of the statement, including the Holocaust Obfuscation policy governing the state-sponsored Genocide Museum and Genocide Research Center, the state sponsored signs at Gruto Parkas, and of course the massive campaigns of Holocaust Obfuscation most potently being run by the state’s Red-Brown Commission, and its participation in the Prague Declaration and other European Parliament resolutions.
Then there are the specific issues in play regarding Holocaust remembrance. Instead of supporting Rachel Kostanian, director of the Green House, the one honest Holocaust exhibit in Vilnius, there are myriad intrigues to undermine her authority and replace her with a compliant Lithuanian nationalist operative. Moreover, the country’s one surviving Jewish anti-Nazi fort, a universal testament to the human will to resist even the greatest tyranny and survive, is sinking into the earth. In August 2008, the country’s foreign ministry prevented a major Western ambassador from organizing a tour of the fort, a mere half hour’s drive from Vilnius, led by survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky.
Finally, the Seimas statement promises to ‘fight against any manifestations of antisemitism’ without mentioning its dismal record of tolerating — and even supporting — one of Europe’s worst campaigns of antisemitism in recent times, including the legalization of public swastikas, the toleration of front page outrages in the national press, police-protected neo-Nazi marches in the capital’s center, and legislation to enable prosecution and imprisonment of people who maintain that the Holocaust was a unique genocide. For a representative selection, see here. It was, unbelievably, a member of the Seimas who took out the permit for one of the most recent neo-Nazi marches in the capital’s center. And, on May 8th 2010, a contingent of neo-Nazis was duly protected by the police for hours (eyewitness account here).