OPINION | HISTORY | MEDIA WATCH | BELGIUM | LITHUANIA
by Roland Binet (De Panne, Belgium)
Annelies Beck is a Flemish journalist whom I admire. She is a tough cookie. I have often seen her interviewing politicians and admired her determination, intelligence and open-mindedness. So, I was quite curious to read her opinion piece in the literary supplement of the Flemish language De Standaard dated November 26, 2022, entitled “History is Far From Gone” and relating to a conference in Lithuania she went to on the subject of the role of public television within democracies. She is also a writer. In her opinion piece, she focuses on what the Lithuanians did during the Soviet occupations to protect and preserve their language: “The Lithuanians whom I later questioned declared the importance of resistance through language and literature (…) in different periods of their history.” While visiting, Mrs. Beck was impressed by what she saw “in a cell in the cellar of the Genocide Museum,” imagining all the prisoners during the Soviet occupation, symbolized by the eighteen different layers of color having been necessary to wipe out all the graffiti they had scratched on the walls. She also writes, referring to a conversation she had with a Lithuanian journalist colleague, “that some heroic partisans were also antisemites” (no mention that many of those glorified were in fact recycled 1941 Holocaust perpetrators).
How can we in truth understand that a journalist, while visiting a museum devoted to genocide, would have missed that other quite important genocide (that happens to be the real one, the one that took place in Lithuania: the Holocaust). Could it be that she saw no traces of that whatsoever, and not heard or read anything on that subject? As for the heroic partisans who sometimes were “antisemites” — let us call them by their name, the “Forest Brothers” —, would she have guessed that some of these “heroic partisans” were veterans of the 1941 “Lithuanian Activist Front” (LAF), or, as 1941, 1942, or 1943 voluntary killers and participants in killers under the Nazis, before they became “Forest Brothers” after the war? These include those who participated in mass murder of their defenseless civilian neighbors of an old and peaceful minority in their country during the Holocaust. Some of the worst of them are honored as heroes in the same Genocide Museum.
What I find particularly disconcerting and distasteful is that now — and there have been a number examples in the Flemish press in Belgium in recent months — we have intelligent persons, full of good intentions, caring about what the Lithuanians had to suffer during the decades of Soviet occupation, and not saying a single word about the more than 200,000 Jews of Lithuania (and the dozens of thousands of Jews from other European countries brought to that country to be killed), all murdered for being born Jewish.
Is it a lack of knowledge or is it deliberate or semi-subconscious?
After all, with our modern writing instruments and techniques, we have the copy & paste modus. We put a full text which replaces an older version, in full. Is it possible that many intellectuals from Western Europe fall under the charm of the vehement, virulent and victimized Lithuanians whose sole claim to glory lies in the role of victims (which they of course were — under Soviet yoke) whereas by some miracle of make-believe they remain pleasurably ignorant, in a spirit of “don’t know and don’t want to know” as to what happened to 96.4% of the Jews of their country or those who were brought to that country during the Holocaust for slaughter.
It is only 77 years after the end of the Holocaust (nothing in the annals of history), and the state-sponsored industrial-scale history revisionism determined to obfuscate, distort and downgrade the Holocaust on its own ground zero is by no means limited to the Baltic states. It is a moral and intellectual malady that is dangerously affecting some intelligentsia of Western Europe. The major part of the Holocaust, carried out in Eastern Europe where the majority of European Jewry was demographically concentrated, is being hushed up and buried so as to enable a revisionist history with the single demon of the Soviets, and with a culture of glorifying as “anti-Soviet” many of the most brutal Holocaust collaborators and actual killers in Eastern Europe.
And, I fear that since the onset of Vladimir Putin’s despicable war of aggression and barbaric mass murder of civilians in Ukraine, more and more people who were at first basically anti-Soviet and/or anti-Russian, will now lend a newly willing ear to the fake history fixing programs of the Baltic governments — featuring precisely such conferences and museums as those highlighted in the cited Belgian article — not realizing of course that they are being brainwashed by well-oiled far-right, ultranationalist propaganda machines fueled by major state funding (at a time when these countries’ long-suffering citizens deserve wiser use of their taxpayer funds).
Now for the second time within a century, this time in the realm of history and the public square of discourse, the millions of Jewish victims are being wiped out. Let Western intellectuals be a little more careful not to be made into Useful Idiots when they come for those lavish welcomes at “history events” in Eastern Europe.