OPINION | LATVIA | BELGIUM | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | HISTORY | POLITICS OF MEMORY | LEGACY OF JUNE 23rd 1941
by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)
Just close your eyes and imagine. It is a warm June summer day, you have suffered more than a year of tyranny under the Soviet regime and now the Germans have invaded your country of birth. You are being led with some sixty other fellow Jews into a large garage courtyard. Around, a row of spectators, Lithuanians, even children, and German soldiers of all uniform colors. And, in front of you, thugs armed with batons, cudgels, bludgeons, and metal bars. Then, you can see it clearly: by small groups of around 10 men, your fellow Jews are led to the center and bludgeoned to death, slowly or savagely. They are the luckier ones. Others have high-pressure hoses inserted into their bodies to cause them to explode, to the delight of the adoring audience. This happened in the Lietukis garage in Kaunas on June 27, 1941. And 100% of those who carried out the actual violence, with unfettered enthusiasm, were local Lithuanian nationalists (now glorified in some museums and history books as “anti-Soviet freedom figfhters”).