Some highly respected international scholars have been persuaded to participate in a film which some leaders of Holocaust Survivor organizations around the world fear will be a cover-up for the main ‘accomplishment’ of the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) and related fascist groups, and their local supporters. These groups, often identified by white armbands and known as white armbanders, had started to carry out murder, molestation and pillage of Jewish neighbors in dozens of locations even before the arrival of German Nazi forces in late June 1941. Many of the same killers went on to serve voluntarily as shooters in the annihilation of most of Lithuanian Jewry in the second half of 1941.
The LAF had put in writing, in its leaflets and publicity materials, its intentions regarding Lithuanian citizens who are Jewish. A number of English translations were published in Joseph Levinson’s The Shoah in Lithuania (4 meg PDF here; low res here).
An American journalist’s report on the film in progress [noting that only 5% of Lithuania’s Jews were killed during the weeks of the 1941 Provisional Government].
It seems that renowned Lithuanian historians who have boldly researched the history of the Lithuanian Holocaust, including Dr Valentinas Brandišauskas and Professor Liudas Truska, are not among those being interviewed as experts.
The advance publicity material for the documentary film, cosponsored by the Chancellery of the Lithuanian Parliament and the Genocide Research Center, makes no reference to participation in project by the Jewish Community of Lithuania, the Vilnius-based Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners, Lithuanian Holocaust survivors internationally, or the Green House. There is likewise no reference to participation by Holocaust scholars who are part of the Jewish community of Lithuania (Rachel Kostanian, Joseph Levinson and others).
The publicity material does however make explicit reference to the foregone conclusion that ‘the events of June of 1941 entailed the uprising of the entire nation against occupation and terror’. This seems to make clear the producers’ conviction that the Jewish citizens of Lithuania, all slated for murder, were not part of the ‘entire nation’; that the mass murder of Jewish neighbors is being whitewashed and presented as an ‘uprising’ against Soviet rule, when of course the Soviet army was fleeing the German invasion.
The internet page on the film is: http://e2k.lt/projektai/pavergtuju-sukilimas. As of today, there seems to be no mention of the project on the English pages of the website.
A translation of the page follows:
Uprising of the Enslaved
The Lithuanian parliament, recognizing that in 2011 we will mark the anniversary of the especially painful years 1941 and 1991, resolved on September 28 of this year to make 2011 the Year of Commemoration of the Defense of Lithuania and Great Losses. The public enterprise E2K in cooperation with professional cinema and TV series producers, is initiating a film dedicated to commemorating the 70th anniversary of the events of 1941.
‘The Uprising of the Enslaved’ is an historical documentary film in two parts which recreates the series of events and reveals their tragic nature and meaning to contemporary Lithuanian history using testimony of participants and witnesses, comments and judgments by historians and scientists and authentic archival material.
‘The events of June of 1941 entailed the uprising of the entire nation against occupation and terror. The main goal of the uprising was for the nation to become actor rather than victim, to restore the forms and institutions of governance to the country, to protect remaining assets and to free those imprisoned in Kaunas and throughout the country. At that time the uprising was a clear sign to Germany and other countries that Lithuania was not the Soviet Union’, film producer Saulius Bartkus said.
The film makers also plan to carry out a search for people imprisoned at that time in Kaunas and throughout Lithuania and to collect their extraordinary testimonies. The plan is also to present the assessments of the events of June of 1941 through the eyes of international observers and experts, including historian Timothy Snyder (USA), political scientist Barry Rubin (Israel), historian Yuri Afanasyev (Russia), historian Christoph Dieckmann (Germany) and others.
Duration of the film: 2 hours.
The premiere of the film is planned for June of 2011 at the Lithuanian Parliament, at the Tuskulenai Park Memorial Complex, at Lithuanian libraries, educational institutions, etc.
Film partners: Chancellery of the Parliament of Lithuania; Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania.