The Jewish Community of Lithuania issued an eloquent public statement on 7 Sept 2010 (English translation here), following the proliferation of comments from high society circles of politics, academia and the media which sanitize and in some instances glorify the Nazi-collaborationist Provisional Government (see for example here and here).
Often lurking just under the surface is the closely related question of the 1941 ‘L.A.F.’ (Lithuanian Activists’ Front), whose campaign of murder of Jewish civilians in effect launched the Lithuanian Holocaust. They too are glorified by various antisemitic historians and by the state sponsored Genocide Museum in the capital’s center.
The barbaric rampage of murder was underway before the arrival at these sites of Nazi German forces in late June of 1941 (background here; information on specific towns here). The far-right establishment has been looking for a quick sanitization of fascist heroes (recast as ‘brave anti-Soviet partisans’) in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the events in 2011.
The state-sponsored Genocide Museum in the center of Vilnius fails to even mention the L.A.F.’s murderous role in initiating the Holocaust locally, referring to its members exclusively as anti-Soviet rebels (failing to mention only the ‘detail’ that the Soviets were fleeing the German Nazi invasion, not them).
For background on the L.A.F. and P.G. see extracts from Joseph Levinson’s 2006 Shoah in Lithuania ― 4 meg PDF here; low res here]. Recent debates include the rejoinder by Lithuania’s Liberal MEP Leonidas Donskis to Professor Kestutis Girnius, a Holocaust Studies educator in Vilnius, after the latter tried to sanitize the 1941 Provisional Government. Among Lithuanian historians, Liudas Truska and Valentinas Brandišauskas have steadfastly and courageously defended the historic record against the establishment’s attempt to turn Holocaust perpetrators into national heroes. Over the years, Milan Chersonski, editor of the Jewish Community’s periodical, Jerusalem of Lithuania, has consistently exposed the efforts to glorify the murderers of Lithuanian Jewry (his December 2009 article here).
During the recent debate, MEP Professor Leonidas Donskis has eloquently countered the glorification efforts often disguised as ‘reevaluation of historic perceptions’ and the like (see e.g. Prof. Donskis’ reply to Girnius).
Report in Jerusalem of Lithuania (publication of the Jewish Community of Lithuania).