Respublika’s Editorial on Nazi Symbols in Use


The following is a translation, by Geoff Vasil for Defending History, of the editorial that appeared on 17 January 2014 in the Vilnius daily Respublika (p. 4), a day after the front page story (16 Jan.) featuring photographs of Faina Kukliansky and Moishe Beirakas, and a day before the front story (17. Jan) featuring Gercas Žakas.

Opinion / Editorial section

Who Wants to Set Jews against Lithuanians?

Lithuanian politicians are so afraid that our Baltic ornaments will offend someone. But on Freedom Defenders’ Day they wore a forget-me-not pin, a symbol of the Nazi German Wehrmacht. And they passed these out to citizens of Jewish extraction to decorate themselves at the event.

Doesn’t even one wise MP or MEP who so love to talk about the Nazi and Soviet occupations even know what the symbol of the Wehrmacht was? How can we even talk about historical memory, about the time of the crusaders and brethren of the sword, if we can’t wrap our heads around the extremely recent past?  Around what happened in Europe about seven decades ago.

If the apparatus of our state leaders is only able to sustain such a completely small work-load, let’s not be surprised if in a few years our politicians begin wearing Young Pioneers neckties. Or wear the star of the Oktobrists, the grandchildren of the beloved leader. And they will explain the [red] necktie symbolizes our Nation’s spilled blood. And the star “with the angel” represents Santa Claus in Lappland. And then several decades later it will represent Iceland. The country which first recognized Lithuanian independence.

What are our historians doing? Able to state sagely what Napoleon’s troops wore. Cognizant even of the gowns of the French mercatantes. Knowledgeable about the weapons with which the German troops were armed at Grunewald.

[large text off set:] There is not even one of the wise parslies [?] who knows historical events exactly

It needs to be determined who proposed this forget-me-not idea. Because everything has a beginning in history. Did they push it out of naiveté, or were they stage an intentional provocation. Or perhaps this flower was chosen out of devotion to the blue neckties of the EU leaders and the blue suits of one of our dames?

Lithuania’s politicians imagine they know everything. A bookkeeper about atomic energy. An historian economics. A manager about medicine. An actor foreign policy and so on. Such imaginations are very easy to catch on the hook of provocations. And in general in Lithuania there are ever fewer words and symbols which are not ambiguous. We already have a different understand of the word “rainbow.” A different meaning for the color blue. A different meaning for little grass snakes dressed in white. The color green as well no longer means just greenery and vegetation, but also Islamic suicide bombers. But all manner of parslies are telling [us how] to decorate for banquets, premieres and official receptions. What to wear. What will be a faux pas. What is an icon of style, and what’s a disaster. But there is not even one of these wise parslies who really knows the “dress code” of historical events.

This entry was posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology. Bookmark the permalink.
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