Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis was today quoted by BNS as inserting red-brown discourse into his latest commentary on the dispute over the alleged Soviet war crimes perpetrator not extradited to Lithuania from Austria last summer.
The foreign minister is cited as follows:
“The complexity of the issue, in Ažubalis’ words, is indicated by the long time it took the EU to formulate an aspiration to build a shared platform of European memory and consciousness, i.e., start talking about crimes committed by Communist regimes in the same language as it does about Nazi crimes.”
—BNS report, 28 September 2011
It seems remarkable that rather than speak about the merits of the case, the framework is immediately reduced to the obsession of his ministry of foreign affairs to impose a historical model of Double Genocide on all of Europe, and to insist upon the ‘same language’ for discussing Nazi and Soviet regimes, echoing the ‘same wording and same thinking’ passages of the Prague Declaration, which has been condemned by Holocaust survivors and a number of specialist scholars in the field of antisemitism studies.
By turning a specific extradition request for a specific alleged Soviet war criminal into an issue of red-brown ‘equality’ for all of Europe, the foreign minister opens the door to questions about Lithuania’s record in seriously prosecuting suspected Nazi war criminals. The country with the highest percentage of its Jewish population killed never punished a single Nazi war criminal after independence, and some of those convicted in Soviet times were rehabilitated, in a sad saga reported in the 1990s in the New York Times.
Full text of the BNS report is here.
The word same occurs five times in the 2008 Prague Declaration, as follows:
“Consciousness of the crimes against humanity committed by the Communist
regimes throughout the continent must inform all European minds to the same
extent as the Nazi regimes crimes did”
“Believing that millions of victims of Communism and their families are
entitled to enjoy justice, sympathy, understanding and recognition for their
sufferings in the same way as the victims of Nazism have been morally and
“Recognition that many crimes committed in the name of Communism should be assessed as crimes against humanity serving as a warning for future generations, in the same way Nazi crimes were assessed by the Nuremberg Tribunal”
“Establishment of 23rd August, the day of signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as a day of remembrance of the victims of both Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes, in the same way Europe remembers the victims of the Holocaust on January 27th”
“Adjustment and overhaul of European history textbooks so that children could learn and be warned about Communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the Nazi crimes”
The text of the Prague Declaration is posted on the website of the Lithuanian government sponsored ‘International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania’, the body responsible for ‘Holocaust Studies’ in Lithuania. A 2011 speech by its executive director is available here.