LITHUANIA AND 3D REICH HERITAGE
OPEN LETTER OF PROTEST
By Didier BERTIN, President of
The Society for the Promotion of the European Human Rights Model
TO THE LEADERS OF YIVO IN NEW YORK
WHO INTEND TO HONOR THE LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
IN THE FRAME OF THE COMMEMORATION OF THE VICTIMS
OF THE GHETTO OF VILNA
September 1st, 2011
Dear Sir, Dear Madam,
I have seen on your website your intent to host on 22 September 2011, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister as “guest of honor” in the framework of a commemoration for the victims of the Vilna Ghetto.
This invitation is particularly shocking and cruel for the Jewish communities of the world since Lithuania is the sole remaining European country to display campaigns of antisemitism that are actually government sponsored, supported and tolerated.
I respectfully request the cancellation of this invitation or of the whole event if this can be easier for you than finding a more suitable guest of honor (for example survivors of the heroic Jewish anti-Nazi partisan movement in and around Vilna).
As a matter of fact, many events in Lithuania have progressively revealed the hostile attitude of Lithuania towards the memory of Judaism and in particular of the accurate memory of the Holocaust and the progressive influence of Neo-Nazi organizations supported by the state. This might appear incredible but Lithuania is becoming the country which shows many signals of interest for and homage to the heritage of the third Reich.
Please find hereunder the following clear and regrettable signals, which should be known to all members of your board and community. I am in the process of warning the European Union, which is in an uneasy situation since its Parliament made in haste a Declaration in 2008, without understanding the consequences of what was being proposed by a group of right wing governments among the Eastern new accession countries.
The first thing you have to understand is that many people in Lithuania and most of the elites now looking for naive Jewish partners in the West consider the Nazis as their Liberators from the Russian occupation in 1941 and Nazism became there and also in Latvia a respectable ideology for many people. Those people are everywhere in the country: simple population but also, members of the Parliament and official authorities.
Officially symbols and organization related to Communism or Nazism are banned but in Fact this is only applied to communism. In 2010 Swastikas were made an exception by the courts and their display is lawful.
Will YIVO honor the foreign minister of this country before this legal authorization regarding Swastikas is rescinded and an apology made to the small and sinking numbers of Holocaust survivors from those regions wherever they may live today?
Many Neo-Nazis organizations exist, whose leaders are famous in the whole country and who are treated with the greatest respect and receive financial support from the government.
In June 1941 the Soviet army withdrew from the Lithuanian cities under pressures of the progress of Nazis and the local citizens took this sudden absence of authority in many towns across the country even before the arrival of the German Army, to express their deep rooted hatred against the Jews. In the sole area of Kaunas and in five days from 25 June to 29 June 1941, 5 000 Jews were beaten to death by the population and Lithuanian militias. There were murders in 40 other locations before the Germans came, and violence in many more. This history was recently distorted in the country by an academic conference organized by the same people now manipulating naive foreign Jewish scholars and leaders.
Around 96% of the Lithuanian Jewish population was massacred, which is the highest extermination rate in Europe made possible by the Lithuanian collaborators.
As we said Nazism remains so prestigious in Lithuania that this is the sole country in the world to have legally recognized in 2010 (official court statement of Klaipeda) the Swastika as a National emblem. The official reasons are doubtful but the true reasons are evident. During the current neo-Nazis parades duly authorized and permitted the participants may thus have flags or armbands with the Swastika.
In addition Far-Rightist and racist organizations such as the Patriotic Youth receive subsidies from the Lithuanian authorities for its actions such as an annual Parade in Kaunas with the slogan “Thank God, I am white” or its education events as the Dieveniškės camp.
A major Neo-Nazi Leader, Ricardas CEKUTIS, is paid by the government through an employment as public relations “chief specialist” in the State-owned research center for the Genocide, which of course excludes the Holocaust of its field of interest. The Research center of the Genocide is associated to the museum of the Genocide, which also excludes the Holocaust. At the entrance people who ask are told politely that for the “Jewish things” we have to go to a wooden hut, named Green House, small and difficult to find and where the Holocaust is mentioned. Genocide in Lithuania means only the troubles and exile of the communist era.
In the museum, which is the monument built as the entrance to the camp of the 9th Fort (Kaunas), the Holocaust is substantially ranking second.
Mr. Ricardas CEKUTIS and the member of Parliament Kazizmieras UOKA obtained the state authorization for their annual Nazi Parade for the day of independence of the country. This Parade takes place on the main Boulevard of Vilnius.
A few months ago, Mr. CEKUTIS declared to a newspaper that the Jews are playing with matches near a powder Keg, which is a most clear threat.
Will YIVO honor the foreign minister while Mr. CEKUTIS is paid by the government to run neo-Nazi activities all year?
Among the famous Neo-Nazi organizations, we must also note the Union of Nationalist Youth of Mr. Mindaugas MURZA . Today the German Nazi review “Der Stürmer” has a special Lithuanian edition translated and adapted to Lithuania available on the web with a lot of specific hate relating to Lithuanian subjects.
The attitude of Lithuania in the fields of Antisemitism and Nazism is also revealed through the following events.
1-At least fifteen Lithuanian Nazi war criminals, who had escaped to the United States after WW2, were stripped of their US citizenship when their past was revealed and they were deported to their native Lithuania. Only three were brought to trial for their Holocaust crimes. The two most important cases were those of the District of Vilnius: The Commander of Lithuanian Security Police -the Saugumas- Aleksandras LILEIKIS and his deputy Kazys GIMZAUSKAS were, only prosecuted after they were declared medically unfit to stand trial and thus never appear at their trial and could not be punished. For years and years there was total inaction and delay tactics.
2-The conference of Vilnius organized on 28 and 29 June 2011, organized by the SEIMAS, which is the name of the “Lithuanian Parliament”
The official theme of the conference organized by the already mentioned research center of the Genocide was the 70th anniversary of the war between Germany and the USSR without any considerations for the worldwide conflict and its consequences. Lithuania claims to have been a victim of this war, but this was the case of the world, which saw the allies opposed everywhere to Germany and to its accomplices and collaborators.
In fact the conference aimed to rehabilitate the Lithuanian militias (LAF) which organized the massacres that started off the Holocaust in 1941, as supposed organizations against Russia although every historian of the era knows the Russians were fleeing the Germans while the Lithuanian “rebels” were murdering their innocent, unarmed Jewish rebels.
The period of the conference corresponded very painfully also to the 70 anniversary the pogrom of Kaunas, the worse of Eastern countries (25 June to 29 June 1941)., which was erased during the conference.
Yad Vashem was incredibly invited but eventually did not attend the conference. The conference was presented by Irena DEGUTIENE, Member of the Parliament who honored a documentary film glorifying the Militia L.A.F which took a substantial part in the massacres of Jews of June 1941 and collaborated with the Nazis.
Dr Joachim TAUBER (German participant) mentioned during the conference the enthusiastic reception made by the Lithuanian population to the Nazis invaders.
3-Lithuanian Police continues today to hunt survivors of the Holocaust and anti-Nazi resistance veterans, for “war crimes” because they survived and the historians among them have rightly denounced many so called Lithuanian “heroes” who were members of the LAF as being Holocaust perpetrators (which they were).
Recently, the Lithuanian police then tried to create troubles to Dr. Rachel Margolis (born in 1921), Dr. Yitzhak Arad of Tel Aviv (born in 1926), Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (born in 1922) and requested 2 days ago on 30 August 2011 the extradition from Israel of Mr. Joseph Melamed (born in 1925), the director of the Association of the Lithuanian Jews in Israel.
This incredible situation was made possible despite the membership of Lithuania in the European Union, by taking advantages of the maladroit Prague Declaration of 2008 and the related declaration of the European Parliament in the same year. These declarations question, the Uniqueness of the Holocaust considered now as being strictly equal to the events of the communist era in the Eastern countries. As a result of an action directed towards a former ally which permits the victory on Nazism, the Holocaust is no longer nearly as established as it was before 2008, thanks almost entirely to the government whose foreign minister you aim to have as guest of honor.
Taking into accounts the particular links of Lithuania with Nazism, this country has acted successfully in convincing a group of other eastern countries to request and obtain a complete revision of History in the European Union as I can see from my extensive correspondence with the European Commission (I can send you copies of this correspondence for your interest and records).
Despite the above mentioned declarations being not legally binding, they have definitely polluted and changed the mind of people around the world for the worse.
In order to neutralize these declarations, we are promoting a counter-declaration in favor of the memory of the Holocaust and we would be grateful to you not least on behalf of the surviving and destroyed Jewish communities and for the safeguarding of History to please find attached a copy which you are cordially and respectfully invited to sign.
Didier BERTIN, President
ATTACHEMENT: THE DELARATION
2 JULY 2011 - 2 JULLET 2011
VERSION ANGLAISE ET FRANCAISE -ENGLISH AND FRENCH VERSION
The content of the “Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism” dated 3 June 2008, and the related declaration by the European Parliament of 23 September 2008, having introduced the concept of equivalence of Communism and Nazism, has impaired the specific abomination of Nazism accepted as a universal value in pan-human resistance to the evils of genocide, racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, which generated the unique phenomenon of the Holocaust, and in terms of magnitude of destruction over a few years, on a unique scale in European history.
As a result they have introduced a significant danger of distortion and trivialization of the crimes of Nazism whose effect among others might be the granting of de-facto contemporary encouragement to the current rise of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and of the resurgence of Nazism in Europe, in total opposition to the ethos upon which the European Union is founded.
Additional pressures are currently being applied by some Eastern members of the European Union to impose upon Europe this distorted combination of a legitimate wish for an improved knowledge of the history under Communist regimes with an irrational supposed equivalence with the Nazi regime. This trivial equation is detrimental for history and ethics and must be rejected.
We declare that:
Suffering of Peoples under Communist Regimes
We understand the suffering of the peoples of Eastern Europe under Communist regimes, each of who may legitimately celebrate its recovered freedom from communism.
However, the notion of an imposed pan-European remembrance of the victims of Nazism and Communism together, as this is suggested by the above mentioned declarations, is an attempt to build an artificial equivalence between two different phenomena so that the one serves the other one and is not acceptable.
Crimes of Nazis and the uniqueness of the Holocaust
As a result of World War II which was unleashed on Europe and the world by the Nazis and their allies, more than 60 million people lost their lives in the world in only 6 years, and the very large majority of the Jewish European population in Nazi-occupied Europe was murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, in the frame of a campaign of total eradication of the world’s Jewish population.
Taking into account the unparalleled destruction perpetrated by the Nazis, the monstrousness of the Holocaust and of its racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic principles, Nazism must keep its specific place in the field of horror which cannot be shared with Communism, without a high risk of distortion impairing ethical references hardly acquired and still very fragile. The specificity of the crimes of the Nazis must always be taken into account and taught by all the institutions.
We draw the attention that the word ‘genocide’ should not be utilized without due care, as we currently notice it in a certain number of Eastern countries, or with a purpose of only challenging the empirical uniqueness of the Holocaust.
The simplistic proposed equivalence between Communism and Nazism conceals the Nazism as paroxysmal phase of racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, impairs the memory of the Holocaust and offers encouragement to dangerous new strains of resurgent racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
The duty of the European Union to prevent any form of resurgence of Nazism
Taking into account the huge sacrifices of the Allies to free Europe from Nazism, the European Union should feel responsible for preventing any resurgence of Nazism or similar movements on any part of its territory and to take sanction against any person who might try to reintroduce it , or its glorification in any form or circumstance.
La « Déclaration de Prague sur la Conscience Européenne et le Communisme» du 3 Juin 2008, et la Déclaration liée du Parlement Européen du 23 Septembre 2008, ont par l’introduction introduit un nouveau concept simplificateur d’équivalence entre Communisme et Nazisme, remis en question la valeur de référence spécifique et universellement acceptée que représente le Nazisme en termes d’abomination, de racisme, de xénophobie, d’antisémitisme ayant abouti au phénomène unique que représente la Shoah, et d’ampleur de destruction en quelques années, jamais égalée dans l’Histoire de l’Europe.
En conséquence, elles ont introduit un risque important de distorsion et de banalisation des crimes nazis dont les effets entre autres, pourraient être un encouragement de fait à l’actuelle montée du racisme, de la xénophobie, de l'antisémitisme et à la résurgence du nazisme ainsi que nous pouvons le constater en Europe ; en totale opposition avec l'éthique sur laquelle l'Union Européenne a été fondée.
De nouvelles pressions sont actuellement exercées par certains pays de l’Est membres de l'Union européenne pour imposer à l'Europe cette combinaison simpliste d'un désir légitime d’une meilleure connaissance de l'histoire des peuples sous les régimes communistes et d'une irrationnelle mise en équivalence avec le régime nazi. Cette équation simpliste porte préjudice à l’histoire et à la morale et doit être rejetée.
Nous déclarons que:
La souffrance des peuples sous les régimes communistes
Nous comprenons les souffrances des peuples de l'Europe des pays l'Est sous l’ère communiste et ces pays peuvent légitimement célébrer leur libération du communisme.
Toutefois, le principe d'un jour du souvenir imposé en Europe pour célébrer en même temps le souvenir des victimes du nazisme et du communisme comme le suggèrent les déclarations susmentionnées, procède d’une volonté de mettre artificiellement en équivalence deux phénomènes foncièrement différents afin que l’un serve l’autre et n'est pas acceptable.
Crimes nazis et unicité de la Shoah
La Seconde Guerre mondiale provoquée par les nazis et leurs alliés, a entrainé dans le monde la mort de plus de 60 millions de personnes en 6 ans, ainsi que celle de la très grande majorité de la population juive européenne dans le cadre d'une campagne d'éradication totale de la population juive du monde.
Compte tenu de cette destruction sans précédent perpétrée par les nazis, de la monstruosité de la Shoah et de ses principes racistes antisémites et xénophobes, le nazisme doit conserver sa place spécifique dans le domaine de l'horreur qui ne peut pas être partagée avec le Communisme sans risque de distorsion portant atteinte à des références morales difficilement acquises et fragiles. Cette spécificité des crimes nazis doit être prise en considération et enseignée par toutes les institutions.
Nous attirons l'attention sur le fait que le mot «génocide» que l’on utilise aujourd’hui largement dans certains pays de l’Est, ne doit être appliqué qu’avec une extrême précaution et en écartant toute idée de vouloir uniquement remettre en cause l'unicité de la Shoah.
La mise en équivalence simpliste entre Nazisme et Communisme obscurcit la vision du nazisme en tant que phase paroxystique de la haine raciste, antisémite et xénophobe, porte ombrage à la mémoire de la Shoah et favorise la résurgence des idéologies racistes, antisémites et xénophobes en Europe.
Le devoir de l'Union européenne pour empêcher toute forme de résurgence du nazisme
Compte tenu des énormes sacrifices des Alliés pour libérer l'Europe du nazisme, l'Union européenne a le devoir d’empêcher toute résurgence du nazisme ou de courants similaires sur une partie quelconque de son territoire et de prendre des sanctions contre toute personne qui tenterait de le réintroduire, ou de le glorifier, sous quelque forme que ce soit et en toute circonstance.