A report today from BNS (Baltic News Service) covered the reaction of the Lithuanian foreign minister to the news that Holocaust survivors had protested to Yivo his invitation as guest of honor at an event commemorating the Vilna Ghetto.
The report claims that the Lithuanian consulate in New York knew nothing of the demotion of the foreign minister on the Yivo website in early September from ‘Guest of Honor’ to the second of two speakers (after the director of Yivo) giving introductory greetings, and the minister’s being prefaced by ‘His Honorable’.
The director of Yivo had in fact made reference to the dropping of ‘Guest of Honor’ in one of his widely circulated memos to staff, dated 13 September, where he explains that ‘This wording has now been revised on our website’, a surprising move given his staunch adherence to virtually all Lithuanian Foreign Ministry talking points on Jewish issues.
The BNS report quotes the foreign minister’s spokeswoman as saying that ‘Several people’s opinion does not deny and diminish Lithuania’s long term and effective efforts to commemorate Holocaust, preserve the Jewish cultural heritage and effectively solve the issues of compensation for Jewish religious property’.
The BNS report also refers to this week’s cancelation of a scheduled appearance by another Lithuanian minister at Yad Vashem, in protest against the latest investigation launched against a Holocaust survivor.