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Even today anti-Semitism remains rife in Lithuania

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A society displays its community values by the heroes it chooses to promote. It teaches its children by holding up examples of behaviours it respects, so that children might model that behaviour to grow into the citizens that their society values.
by Grant Gochin | Jul 20, 2016

So it was in Nazi Germany, where Nazi values were taught to children, and so it was in apartheid South Africa, where racist leaders were venerated and racist values instilled into white children.

But that was in the past; those societies have since reformed, apologised and moved forward. Not so in Lithuania, where Holocaust perpetrators remain continually venerated by society.

In what should have been an obvious move, a British member of the Vilnius City Council recommended that Skirpa Boulevard, one of Vilnius’ major boulevards named to honour a primary Holocaust perpetrator, Kazys Skirpa, be renamed to “Righteous Boulevard”.

Skirpa was the leader of the Lithuanian movement that promoted the ethnic cleansing and the ultimate slaughter of 95 per cent of Lithuania’s Jews. His crimes against humanity are known to all. His original memoirs are available online, in which, long before Germans ever entered Lithuania, Skirpa clearly indicated his intention to ethnically cleanse Jews from the nation.

Skirpa laid out his plans in about 20 different documents, before he proposed his plans to the Nazis. He claimed that Jews had to be ethnically cleansed, as they were “a foreign race” in Lithuania, and were betrayers to the Lithuanian nation.

Nazis used the Jewish genocide in Lithuania as a model to be implemented throughout Europe. Skirpa is one of the fathers of the Holocaust.

These actions, among others, have qualified Skirpa for hero status in Lithuania. His deeds are venerated by the youth and the country’s national leadership.

Vilnius is not the only Lithuanian city that honours the perpetrators of this genocide. Kaunas also has a street named for Skirpa. In fact, honours for murderers of Jews litter Lithuania, where the official government institution tasked with exposing these crimes, the Genocide Centre, led by Teresa Birute Burauskaite, has established a pattern of behaviour that indicates active attempts to whitewash these crimes against humanity.

On July 13, over 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, Vilnius city councillor Mark Adam Harold, proposed to the Vilnius Names Commission that it renames Skirpa Boulevard. It should have been a unanimous, immediate, and enthusiastic response of government to remove these honours.

Yet the city leaders who have maintained other honours for Holocaust perpetrators, decided to defer any action pending “further study”. Germany has removed all boulevards named for Hitler. Cambodia has removed all boulevard names for Pol Pot. And still, Lithuania maintains their honours pending “further study”. In fact, study has been ongoing for 25 years since independence and the facts are clear, so, therefore, are the Lithuanian positions.

A society identifies itself by the heroes it venerates. Words do not matter; its actions define its positions.

 

Los Angeles

3 Comments

  1. 3 Grant A. Gochin 20 Jul
    For anyone that wishes to submit objections, suggest you e mail them as follows:
    The President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, may be reached at[email protected] 
    The Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Simasius may be reached at[email protected]
  2. 2 David Solly Sandler 21 Jul
    I think the government of Lithuania still has blood on its hands and has not acknowledged the Holocaust and the role they played....... they have their genocide museum which does not mention the 200,000 Jews they enthusiastically killed. 
    I see their problems of unemployment and the drain of their youth as self inflicted and as a direct result of the 200,000 Jews they enthusiastically killed
    They need to do what the Germans have done and build in their capital city, a Holocaust Museum, that clearly documents for all to see out what the Lithuanians did during WWII ... like going to Church and confessing.
    Austria is the same and does not have a Holocaust Museum that properly documents their support for the Holocaust. Over 90% of Austrians voted in the late 1930s to join the German Reich yet there is no documentation of the Holocaust in the Jewish Museums in Vienna.  I wonder how much more art of the Jews they have in their museums that was confiscated during the Holocaust?
  3. 1 David B 23 Jul
    I just wonder why we are so surprised -- show me a country that does not have a meaningful anti - Semetic community -- even Israel does within the Palestinian community

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