DH Editor on Simple Ethics of ‘Kaunas Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year


by Dovid Katz

This comment is adapted from the author’s Facebook post of 3 Dec. 2021.
As someone who has enjoyed many visits to Kaunas, and enjoyed meeting its wonderful, warm, tolerant people for three decades now, I’m the first not to ever blame them for the city’s (and national) authorities having made it the city with the most public-space monuments to local Holocaust participants/partners/collaborators of any in the world, including street names, plaques, busts, bas-reliefs and more for the likes of Holocaust perpetrator J. Noreika, Holocaust-era ethnic cleansing theoretician K. Škirpa, and the head of Hitler’s Nazi puppet government J. Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis (even the “liberal” Vytautas Magnus university has a lecture hall and bas-relief glorifying him!).

It all strikes outsiders as a kind of bizarre circus macabre of a celebration of those whose first order of business was the butchering of the city’s 30,000 citizens who were Jewish, a celebration of Nazism and the Holocaust. It is a true friend of Kaunas who would now publicly call for the removal of these shameful street names and monuments. And, when folks accept lavish invites, ego-trips and honors in “Capital of European Culture” programs, we only ask that they speak out publicly, with dignity, calling for the removal of public-space state-sponsored shrines to the local “white-armbander” Hitlerists who launched the Lithuanian Holocaust in Kaunas on 23 June 1941, before the first German soldiers arrived. If they do, they acquit themselves with honor. If they don’t and allow their use as “foreign Jews” to further betray the victims of the Holocaust and the simple historic truth, for a mess of lentils, they shall duly go done in the darkest alleys of Jewish and European history as Useful Jewish Idiots (so-called “UJIs”) — at best.

As if out of a horror movie, there is even a “23rd of June Street” in town (!), as if the “independence” declared that day, coupled with adulation of Hitler, and calling for mobs to plunder, rape and murder the city’s Jews is something to “celebrate”, itself a perversion of common sense for the country with the finest record of East European tolerance and multiculturalism for 600 years (and including the proud and successful interwar republic).

As fate would have it, the 80th anniversary year (2021) of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust (1941), that the Lithuanian Parliament dedicated to one of the Butchers of Kaunas, on New Year’s Day 2022 fed right into the “Capital of European Culture” year for the selfsame city where it all got underway in the Baltics and far beyond. . .

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