Vilnius, November 2, BNS–Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis says Lithuania doesn’t need to review its position on the role played by Lithuanians in the Holocaust.
“There’s nothing for us to review, as a state we have performed all actions and further have excellent dialogue with the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the world Jewish community. We aren’t saying that the painful issues which exist shouldn’t be discussed, and those discussions are taking place within the Government, their representatives and community representatives are visiting. So there’s nothing really to reconsider,” the head of the Government said on the Žinių radijas radio station Thursday.
He was commenting on the call by the European Jewish Congress for Lithuania to review fundamentally the role of Lithuanians during the Nazi occupation and to stop honoring those who collaborated with the Nazis and actively took part in the mass murder of Jews in Lithuania.
“If someone wants to reconsider something or go deeper, this is the work of historians, and historians must base their findings on very clear, systematic historical information and facts, not on the interpretation of facts, but on the totality of facts. Then one can discuss and speak,” the Lithuanian prime minister said. He also said Lithuania as a state has done everything to insure good relations between the state and the Jewish community.
“I think Lithuania as a state has done everything and continues to do everything so that relations between the Jewish community and Lithuanian society, and our state, are as they are, relations which other states can envy,” the prime minister said.
A statement from the European Jewish Congress under the leadership of Russian businessman Moshe Kantor defended Lithuanian author and PR specialist Rūta Vanagaitė, saying she should be praised rather than attacked.
Last week Vanagaitė said Adolfas Ramanauskas “Vanagas,” one of the leaders of the Lithuanian partisan movement, “is no hero,” that he hadn’t been tortured and that he might have worked for the KGB. She said this was based on KGB documents.
Vanagaitė said she and Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, whom she described as her life partner, also spoke about Ramanauskas’s suspect role during the Holocaust.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community distanced itself from public accusations Ramanauskas was complicit in Holocaust crimes. A statement from the LJC said there was no information to confirm those claims.
Lithuanian historians unanimously agree Ramanauskas was tortured horribly by Soviet officials for fighting for Lithuanian freedom, and that there is no information showing he was complicit in Holocaust crimes. Findings issued publicly show Ramanauskas was castrated, had his eye poked out and went into a coma during torture. Later he was sentenced to death and shot by Soviet officials.
The Lithuanian publishing house Alma Littera, which has published numerous books by Vanagaitė, called her accusations unacceptable, and halted all contractual ties with her. The Lithuanian Jewish Community said that while they respect the right of the publisher to do business as they see fit, the decision to recall all books by Vanagaitė was disproportionate.
The Lithuanian parliament plans to name 2018 the Year of Ramanauskas “Vanagas” in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.