Lithuania’s mainstream news portal, Delfi.lt, today published an article (English here) by Ričardas Čekutis, a ‘chief specialist’ at the state-sponsored Genocide Center in central Vilnius. Mr Čekutis was one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi march held on the Lithuanian capital’s main boulevard on March 11th, with a permit from city authorities and the participation of a member of parliament. Eyewitness report here. Afterwards, he embarked on a public antisemitic campaign, in addition to defending the neo-Nazi march in an earlier Delfi.lt article. He proudly displayed a homophobic symbol when he ran for office in municipal elections.
Mr Čekutis in his article complains about a letter of concern sent by a group he names as including Liberal Union chairman Eligijus Masiulis; its board member Eugenijus Gentvilas; MEP Professor Leonidas Donskis; Lithuanian Jewish Community chairman Dr Simonas Alperavičius. He writes that the letter was addressed to the director general of the Genocide Center, Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė; chair of the Lithuanian parliament Irena Degutienė; MP Emanuelis Zingeris, chairman of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania; the same commission’s executive director Ronaldas Račinskas; and Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.
Question: If so, why did the letter’s authors not receive an answer from any of the addressees, most conspicuously the Genocide Center itself? Why was it instead just apparently given over to Mr Čekutis himself with apparent blessing to publicize its existence on Delfi.lt, where it is simply abused as part of the wider polemic in favor of neo-Nazism in Lithuania? Each and every one of the parties to whom the letter was addressed is an employee of the state, and the action of whoever it was who just gave the letter to the neo-Nazi leader (instead of investigating the matter and replying to the concerned parties) has done no favor for Lithuania. Which party or parties gave the letter to the neo-Nazi march leader who is a chief specialist at the Genocide Center?
Do the country’s leaders not understand the grave damage being done to its international standing by the mainstreamization of neo-Nazi propaganda and personages in state-sponsored institutions, in mainstream news portals, in shameful 1930s style fascist parades that proceed down the center of the capital with state permission and the participation of a member of parliament? Ample damage is also caused by institutions and events that obfuscate the Holocaust, glorify local perpetrators, and often demean and defame victims and survivors alike.
The Genocide Center is a state institution that has been one of the engines of the Baltic and East European Holocaust Obfuscation campaign aimed at persuading the European Parliament to adopt red-brown legislation that would ‘equalize’ Nazi and Soviet crimes and thereby write the Holocaust out of European history as unique event. However, the various state-financed domestic institutions for which it provides the ‘information’ actually cover only Soviet crimes, which are redefined as ‘genocide’, while ignoring the Holocaust and offering up antisemitic materials to domestic and international visitors alike. These include the Genocide Museum and Gruto parkas, in addition to its own posh premises in the old town, at the very spot where the gate to the Vilna Ghetto stood, a site of genocide history that is of no interest to the ‘Genocide Center’…
At the time of the neo-Nazi march, Mr Čekutis was listed as ‘Chief Public Relations Specialist’.
Accessed today, the official website of the Genocide Center lists him as one of three ‘Chief Specialists’ for the ‘Legal Analysis and Consulting Group’ of the Genocide Center’s ‘Special Investigation Division’.
Does that mean that Mr Čekutis as chief specialist for the unit responsible for investigating war criminals is one of those collaborating to defame Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance and are heroes of the free world? Or perhaps it just means that he is a chief specialist for the unit investigating crimes of the Nazi and Soviet regimes. Well, then, is this the profile of a historical investigator whom the state trusts to be investigating Holocaust crimes committed by local nationalists. Is this the standard Lithuania wishes the world to see?
Whatever the answer to that, it is deeply disturbing that a state institution in an EU country whose stated mission is the study of genocide is proud to have on its staff a public racist and antisemite who helps lead Nazi marches down the central boulevard of Vilnius. In the country with the highest proportion of murder of its Jewish population of any in Europe.
As for Western educational and research institutions that continue naively to partner with the Genocide Center at conferences and other events, unwittingly conferring legitimacy on a Holocaust Obfuscationist institution, it is high time to wake up.