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Yad Vashem Concerned by Atmosphere of Antisemitism and Holocaust Revision in Lithuania

Shalev letter to Lithuanian PM urges direct intervention by Prime Minister torestore Lithuanias integrity

11 August 2008

Antisemitic graffiti on the Jewish organizations building yesterday in Vilnius Antisemitic graffiti on the Jewish organizations building yesterday in Vilnius

Yad Vashem is increasingly concerned by the atmosphere of antisemitism and Holocaust revisionism in Lithuania.

For nearly a year, Lithuanian authorities have been carrying out investigations into Jewish Holocaust survivors for their wartime activities as partisans in Lithuania. Among those being persecuted is Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a Holocaust historian and former Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate.

Despite various protest actions taken by Yad Vashem and other bodies, the persecutions of Jewish partisans continues in Lithuania, as do antisemitic incidents, such as the spray painting of many swastikas and antisemitic graffiti on the Jewish organizations building yesterday in Vilnius (photo attached).

In a letter dated August 10, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev wrote to Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas: Sadly, to date, the public outcry has yet to yield a fair and reasonable Lithuanian response. If anything, it seems that the harmful phenomenon of historical revisionism and distortion, of which the investigation of the Jewish partisans is a prime example, may actually be increasing in your country.

In light of this severe and continuing problem, Yad Vashem calls upon you to intervene directly and restore Lithuanias integrity as an enlightened and democratic nation by ending the misguided investigations. Only by dealing openly and forthrightly with the full and complex truth about the past will your nation succeed in building for itself a secure and stable future, he wrote.

Yad Vashem believes that a key way to combat the Holocaust revisionist trend is through education and by providing comprehensive, credible information to all those who seek it.

Yad Vashem will continue to welcome and teach Lithuanian educators about the events, ramifications and legacy of the Holocaust, thus reflecting and communicating our core commitment to the truth. We shall continue to support these teachers admirable attempts to strengthen true democracy in your country and hope that they remain steadfast within an increasingly inhibiting atmosphere that they can now sense around them, Shalev wrote.

In tandem to the letter to Prime Minister Kirkilas, Shalev also wrote to Historical Commission Chair Emanuelis Zingeris again to urge him to publicly voice his protest against the situation.

In addition to actions taken with other organizations, in September 2007 Yad Vashem suspended its participation in the Historical Commission, and in February 2008 Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev presented a letter of protest to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas during his visit to Yad Vashem.