(January 17, 2020 / JNS) A Lithuanian parliament committee is drafting legislation declaring that neither Lithuania nor its leaders as participating in the Holocaust, a lawmaker working on the bill said last month at a conference.
“The Lithuanian state did not participate in the Holocaust because it was occupied, just as the Lithuanian nation could not participate in the Holocaust because it was enslaved,” said Arunas Gumuliauskas, a member of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union Party.
About 95 percent of the country’s 250,000 Jews were killed the Holocaust after Nazis invaded in 1941.
Efraim Zuroff, Eastern Europe director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, slammed the proposed legislation as “the next step in Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe” and the “final stage of a long attempt to whitewash massive complicity by Lithuanians” in the Holocaust.
Poland last year passed a similar Holocaust bill that was widely criticized by the international community for prohibiting rhetoric that accuses the country of complying with Nazi crimes.
Michael Berenbaum, a former director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s research institute, told JTA that the Polish law was dangerously “encouraging” other countries to pass similar legislation.
Rosa Bloch, a 91-year-old survivor of the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania, called Gumuliauskas’ claims “so clearly false and outrageous that it could only have been the result of the Polish legislation.”
“The Lithuanians saw it worked for the Poles, so they also went ahead,” added Bloch. “The Lithuanians were active and cruel partners in the Holocaust. There isn’t a Lithuanian Jew alive who didn’t lose relatives to Lithuanian murderers.”
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.
At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.
Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.