O P I N I O N
by David Cukier
HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė
The Lithuanian Embassy,
2 Bessborough Gardens,
London, SW1V 2JE
13 December 2012
I write to you concerning the forthcoming conference to be hosted by UCL called ‘Simple Stories’ where the conference co-sponsored by your government is attempting to revise the accepted historical narrative concerning the events of 1941-1944 in Lithuania . In so doing it is encouraging divisive extremist fascist political opinion in your country, which as an EU and NATO member, it surely behoves Lithuania to seek to eliminate. Rather it should be incumbent on the Government of Lithuania to discourage prejudicial politics against all its minorities including the small Jewish minority in the country, and to respect human rights that were so lacking in the war years between 1941-41.
However your government’s moves to rewrite established historical facts concerning the holocaust and the impact on the Lithuanian people including the Jews is little short of an affront and an abuse to all the people who lived through those tragic times.
Your Government’s sponsorship of this conference in which these revisionist narratives will be expounded is yet another blow to the memories of those who suffered death and deprivation at the hands of, and by the actions of a section of the Lithuanian authorities and foreign invasion forces. That such views should not be expounded as historical fact is clearly obvious, but cynical manipulation of Jewish participants (mainly the very same Holocaust survivors and Jewish authorities not fully comprehending of this prejudicial strand of revisionism) is to be abhorred.
I therefore urge you to reconsider your sponsorship of this conference at UCL until there can be assurance of a clear statement that as a responsible member of the EU the politics of hate and extremism have no place in our shared historical narrative and that the Lithuanian Government in its endeavours should do all it can to respect historical truth and unashamedly support non prejudicial politics, but rather the dissemination of historical truth in accord with established historical facts understood the world over, and within the auspices of the EU and its academic institutions.
I therefore appeal to you to relay this message to your government to reconsider carefully the path it is taking by following the above described course of action and return it back into the mainstream of historical and political opinion held by EU members and other distinguished international governments and organisations.
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England