Is history for sale? Professor Antony Polonsky of Brandeis, star of this month’s UCL/Lithuanian embassy conference in London, is one of the greatest living scholars of Poland and Polish Jewish history, whose vast contributions to those subjects are secure for posterity. But his knighthood this year from the Lithuanian president was explicitly for PR efforts for the Lithuanian government’s controversial Jewish and Holocaust policies. His efforts have arguably undermined aspects of the history of the Baltic Holocaust and the dignity of survivors and those who joined the anti-Nazi resistance.
Just several months ago, the exact same Lithuanian state apparatus that is sponsoring the London conference invested heavily in repatriating the remains, amidst glittering ceremonies and high honors, of the country’s 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who personally signed the Nazi orders for the Jews of Kaunas (Kovno) to be herded into a ghetto (for extermination) within four weeks. Is it troubling when the honor guard that glorifies the remains of a major 1941 Nazi collaborator is the same one dishing out medals to professors of America’s Brandeis University?