VILNIUS—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office, in Jerusalem, today issued this statement from Vilnius, where its Director for East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, came to monitor yesterday’s neo-Nazi march on Lithuania’s independence day, as part of his month of monitoring of all four Baltic neo-Nazi events from 16 February to 16 March.
The text of the press release follows:
Wiesenthal Center Leads Protest at Lithuanian Neo-Nazi March to Mark Independence Day and Urges Authorities to Ban Such Events in the Future
Vilnius—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s newly-appointed director for Eastern European affairs Dr. Efraim Zuroff led a protest against a march by local neo-Nazis and ultranationalists held yesterday in the center of this Baltic capital to mark Lithuanian Independence Day. In a statement issued late yesterday following the march, the Center noted the recurrent use of Nazi symbols and exclusionary slogans which clearly indicate the antisemitic, racist and xenophobic ideology supported by the approximately 1,500 marchers.
According to Zuroff:
“The antisemitic and racist themes of this march ring particularly ominous in a city in which tens of thousands of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust with the active participation of numerous Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the Vilnius Municipality turned down the Center’s request to Mayor Zuokas to prohibit this hate-fest or at least move it out of the center of the city, and ban the use of Nazi symbols and exclusionary slogans. We urge the Lithuanian authorities to pass the appropriate legislation which will make such events illegal in the future.”
Please note: Yesterday’s event was the third ultranationalist march held in the Baltics during this past month, all of which have been monitored by Dr. Zuroff. A fourth march, of Latvian SS veterans, will be held this coming Monday, March 16, in Riga, at which Dr. Zuroff will also be present.
For more information: Dr. Efraim Zuroff 972.50.721.4156 Twitter: @EZuroff