Vilnius, November 1, BNS–Lithuanian diplomats say the genocide of Jews and the Lithuanian armed struggle against the Soviet occupation shouldn’t be set against each other.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Wednesday expressed regret over a statement from the European Jewish Congress condemning the Lithuanian publisher Alma Littera’s decision to halt sales of books by Rūta Vanagaitė and criticism of the Lithuanian public relations specialist and author for allegedly libeling partisan leader Adolfas Ramanauskas “Vanagas.”
“For many years now Lithuania has been working in Holocaust research and education in consultation with international Jewish organizations including the World Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress. Counterposing the Jewish genocide against the Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance in this context is completely unacceptable,” a press release from the Foreign Ministry stated.
“All that’s left for us is to regret this statement from the European Jewish Congress,” it continued.
On Tuesday the European Jewish Congress under the leadership of Russian businessman Moshe Kantor came to Vanagaitė’s defense, saying she should be praised rather than attacked.
“It should be inconceivable that in the year 2017 solely because of political reasons there is a ban on publishing books which express positions with which not everyone agrees. Rūta is a brave woman who should be praised, not attacked,” Kantor said.
The EJC statement calls upon Lithuania to judge the role of Nazi collaborators in the Holocaust appropriately.
Writer and PR specialist Vanagaitė came under fire when she stated, based on KGB documents, that Ramauskas, one of several partisan leaders, “is no hero,” that he was not tortured and that he might have worked for the KGB. Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, whom Vanagaitė calls her lifetime partner, said Ramanauskas might be complicit in Holocaust crimes.
Lithuanian historians unanimously agree Ramanauskas was tortured horribly by Soviet officials for fighting for Lithuanian freedom, and that there are no indications he was a Holocaust criminal. Findings published say he was castrated, his eye was poked out and he entered a comatose state during his torture, after which he was executed by firing squad under a verdict by Soviet officials.
The Lithuanian parliament intends to name 2018 the Year of Adolfas Ramanauskas “Vanagas” in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.