O P I N I O N
by Andres Spokoiny
Honorable Mr. Andriukaitis,
Your courage needs to be saluted.
I have followed with admiration your successive actions in favor of a proper appreciation of the unique crimes of the Nazi regime in Lithuania and beyond. From signing the Seventy Years Declaration to your letter to your parliamentary colleague the foreign minister, you have a shown a courage and a decency that, unfortunately, are rare in the Lithuanian political class.
You have defended the truth and the respect for the victims.
I have visited Lithuania many times and I’ve been appalled by the degree of banalization and obfuscation of the Holocaust. The attempts to change history, create a moral equivalence between all totalitarian regimes and whitewash collaboration with the Nazis are a stain on the honor of Lithuania as a nation.
I cried for joy when Lithuania gained independence. It was a fight that every person of good will could identify with. But I can’t believe that the new national identity of Lithuania will be built through a manipulation of history and a falsification of the truth.
The crimes of the Soviet regime are abhorrent in themselves, but to bundle them together is a disservice and a dishonor to the victims. They are not part of a blurry chaos in which “everybody was killing everybody.” They are victims of a particular ideology and as such should be remembered. Nazism and the Holocaust were unique phenomena, the same way that other genocides or crimes are unique. Bundling them together creates a veil of haze over all of them.
The current government of Lithuania has, unfortunately, done a lot to advance the cause of “double genocide” and historical obfuscation. They play to the ultra-nationalists by distorting history. The latest statements by nobody other than the Foreign Minister are simply sinister. One trembles thinking that a high official in a European Union member country could utter such disgraceful words.
Your standing up to the truth, as tough as it may be, saves the honor of Lithuania.
Lithuania has an important role to play in the New Europe and the world. Yet, for that, it needs to face its past honestly and without equivocations. You have done so, and you deserve to be honored for that.
Your words and actions are not lost to those who believe in freedom, democracy and human rights across the world.
- Andres Spokoiny
- President and CEO
- Jewish Funders Network
- NY, USA