Rumors are flying in the Lithuanian capital about plans to induce foreign institutions and governments to support the building of a new Holocaust Museum at the mass-murder site Ponár (Paneriai), where no unsuspecting tourist or visitor to Vilnius would ever see it, more than six miles out of town, unless they have prior special interest that would motivate the hiring of a taxi for that purpose.
This journal’s Sights to See section (see Contents) makes it abundantly clear that the powers that be in Vilnius, while pursuing ‘Double (Equal) Genocide’ resolutions in the European Parliament, with the active participation of the ‘red-brown commission’, are domestically pursuing a policy of flaunting only one genocide, the one that did not happen in Lithuania (of the Lithuanian people by the USSR, though Soviet crimes against Lithuania were massive and horrendous). Hence the Holocaust is barely mentioned, trivialized or omitted entirely from such lavish city-center institutions as the Genocide Museum and the Genocide Research Center.
The one bona fide Holocaust museum, the Green House, is hidden up a long and steep driveway making it invisible from the street to any tourist, and it has frequently been subject to disrespect and harassment from higher-ups.
Visitors, diplomats, members of Jewish communities around the world, and honorable Lithuanian intellectuals have long understood that it would only bring genuine world-class dignity to the capital of Lithuania for the outstanding and wooden Green House up the driveway to perhaps one day grow and develop into a larger museum, perhaps with foreign support, say on Gedimino Boulevard or Didžioji, locations of the Genocide Museum and Genocide Research Center respectively. That way, visitors to Vilnius would not be ‘shielded’ from the history of the Lithuanian Holocaust if they happen not to possess the prior knowledge — or a competent guide — who would take or direct them to the Green House (or its putative future successor far out of town altogether).
The cynical thinking behind the plan is to keep the bogus narrative alive in the city center, with the history of the Holocaust being pushed to an out-of-town site where hardly anybody will ever see it, but with the kind of PR that would enable the government to claim sincerity about remembering the Holocaust. The inherent duality of the strategy has on occasion led to rather incredible results.
An out-of-town site that is in dire need of being saved from imminent disappearance is the rapidly sinking ‘Jewish fort’ where some hundred escapees from the Vilna Ghetto found refuge in underground bunkers in the forest, and valiantly fought the Nazis as a unit of the Soviet partisans, the only serious force providing opposition to the Nazis in this part of the world, during the Holocaust period, in alliance with the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the other Allies.
Moreover, fears are being expressed for the future of the Green House in the event of a new out-of-town museum.
There is also concern that the effort is part of the ‘dual track trajectory’ to satisfy world opinion regarding honest depiction of history while ensuring that such depiction would never be stumbled upon in the capital by a visitor. Or even a citizen.