VILNIUS. Unconfirmed rumors were swirling in “Holocaust politics” circles this week about an alleged request by “very high officials” of the Lithuanian government to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem — through channels including both countries’ foreign ministries — to shore up the status of the widely discredited “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania.” The commission is widely known as the “Red-Brown Commission.”
Two sources, both usually well-informed about chatter but neither with definitive information, told DefendingHistory.com yesterday that high Lithuanian officials had put the request into the larger context of state-to-state relations, out of all proportion to the ostensible content of the request.
For Israel, where scholars and educators enjoy independence from daily state politics, this could appear to be a gross violation of the intellectual and moral independence of even state-supported academic and commemorative institutions.
It would also be an affront to Holocaust survivors, not least Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Yad Vashem’s long-time former director, who was a founding member of the commission and was then himself made the target of an antisemitic campaign by Lithuanian prosecutors to defame Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance.