O P I N I O N
by Arthur Dobrin
I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you are to be the judge in the Avrom Sutzkever Poetry Translation Prize. Many years ago I came across a book of Sutzkever and have used several lines from his poems in a book of mine on bereavement. I was deeply touched by his work and wanted to share it with others.
So I am glad that there is now going to be a poetry translation prize in the name of this great poet.
But I want to raise a serious concern. For years I was the leader of Amnesty International USA Group #74. I understand the complexity of international issues as they revolve around human rights concerns. This becomes even more complex when we are dealing with historical circumstances.
My concern is the stance of the present day Lithuanian government as it moves to exonerate those who were associated with the Holocaust while at the same time smearing the names of those who were partisans against the Nazis. Some of those anti-Nazi fighters were Jews, so now there is the ironic position of the Lithuanians casting aspersions of the very people who ought to be lauded as heroes.
So I ask you, in your esteemed position, to make public your opinion about this matter. Please don’t let the contest become a propaganda tool for the Lithuanian government to cover its present practice of re-writing history.