O P I N I O N
by Algirdas Paleckis
Note: Translation of Algirdas Paleckis’s comments from the floor at the conference “Tolerance and Totalitarianism: Challenges to Freedom” held on 16 November 2011 in Vilnius. The comments were contributed following the session on “Antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, discrimination. Totalitarian temptations and new trials of tolerance.”
The videotape from which this translation was made is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odd44ZP-hk0.
See also coverage of the conference by Geoff Vasil and Dovid Katz, and the editor’s comment on prosecutors’ campaign against Mr. Paleckis.
“Thank you very much. I should probably introduce myself. I’m Algirdas Paleckis, a member of the newly-formed Lithuania Without Nazism and chairman of the Socialist People’s Front. It’s really encouraging that this conference is taking place, but Lithuania Without Nazism as an association was founded because of concerns about double standards.
“The fact is, the Lithuanian courts, the one in Klaipeda, recognized the swastika as a symbol is a sort of pagan symbol, which can be displayed in public. We do not have a suitably clear reaction to this from our government.
“Likewise — this time by a court in Vilnius — it was decided, after March 11th, that the slogan ‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’ is also an acceptable slogan. I would like to point out that the reaction should be much more serious.
“The March 11th marches, which the honorable Mr. Emanuelis [Zingeris] mentioned, received sanction from the [Vilnius] municipality. One would think that that should not occur. Further, [touching] individually upon Emanuelis Zingeris and his fellow party member the defense minister Rasa Juknevičienė, I would understand it if she, the next morning [after March 11th], duly expelled [from the military] the fifteen Nazis who were part of the March 11 events. I think we can all ask for this at least, really, if these Nazis are in the military.
“Oh, yes. Here is the book book which names 25,000 civilians murdered over a decade [following World War II]; they were murdered by what are now called partisans, or forest brothers, many of whom were [former] Nazi collaborators.
“I strongly ask you to pay attention to these double standards and to differentiate between those who fought for ideals, and those who even murdered children. About a thousand children were murdered.
“In conclusion I’d like to say that [the state-financed] commemoration of the Uprising of June 23ed, 1941, requires much greater scrutiny, and if you read the documents by their organizers, the LAF [Lithuanian Activist Front], these documents are saturated with antisemitism [and hatred for] people of a different kind, and immediately after this ‘uprising’ and actually during it, masses of Jews were murdered [i.e., the mass murder of Jews began]. And now, annually in Lithuania, commemorations take place as an important event, and medals are passed out.
“These are double standards. And, well, that’s all. Thank you.”