JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office issued this statement today in the wake of the passing of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the former Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community (PDF here):
Wiesenthal Center Mourns the Passing Today of Courageous Leader of Lithuanian Jewish Community
“It is with great sorrow that we learned of the passing last night of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the venerable leader for many years of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Dr. Alperovich displayed great courage and fortitude in leading the renewed Lithuanian Jewish community and fought bravely against the ongoing efforts to minimize local participation in Nazi crimes and the promotion of the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist atrocities.
“Just two and a half weeks ago, I visited him in Vilnius together with Prof. Dovid Katz, to update him on our plans to protest the next day against the neo-Nazi march held in the capital, and Dr. Alperovich gave us his blessing and encouragement.
“On numerous occasions, Dr. Alperovich publically spoke out against Lithuanian Holocaust distortion and, unlike some other Jewish leaders in Eastern Europe, fully supported the Center’s “Operation Last Chance” (launched in Lithuania in July 2002) and our efforts to persuade the local authorities to bring unprosecuted Lithuanian Nazi criminals to justice.
“May his memory be a blessing to his family, the Lithuanian Jewish community and Litvaks the world over.”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff
Director, Israel Office