Vilnius, February 2, BNS–Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky thinks a list of Holocaust perpetrators held by the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania should be handed over to prosecutors for possible action.
Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania director Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė said she doubts such an investigation could take place and believes it is up to the Lithuanian Government and not the Center to address prosecutors.
“I would be satisfied” with the release of the list, Kukliansky said, “but would that affect the families of these people, would it violate their rights if guilt hasn’t been established? I would give the list to the prosecution, [these] crimes don’t have a statute of limitations, let them investigate. That needed to happen a long time ago. I think people need to know the names of the murderers as well as the rescuers. But the list may only be published when the guilt of these people has been proven. It should as provided for in law,” she added.
Burauskaitė told BNS the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania at the request of the last Government had collected and turned over a list of about 2,000 people who “at various levels” contributed to the Holocaust. A portion of those people are to be named in an upcoming monograph. Nonetheless she though responsibility for addressing prosecutors about the list should be assumed by the Government. “There were discussions and we thought, since we are performing a specific job by order of the Government, whether the Government should go to prosecutors. It would perhaps be better in my opinion, I don’t know. If we look at it from the point of view of the state, I can’t imagine the prosecution taking up this work. And if they don’t, then there’ll be another scandal. … Let them address the Government officially and then the Government will behave in kind. If the Government doesn’t have the list, they can get it from us any time,” she said.
Government vice-chancellor Rimantas Vaitkus also expressed doubts over the prospects for an investigation because of insufficient evidence in some cases and because there are probably no surviving witnesses of the events of the time, but said it was the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania which should take the list to prosecutors for action, because “that’s what it was created for.”
“Legal institutions should, of course, render a legal judgment. We will provide consultation as much as that’s possible to do, but I view a solution to the problem very skeptically, because I know the Center went to prosecutors regarding [partisan Juozas] Krikštaponis trying to have his status as a volunteer soldier annulled, since all sources directly indicated he had participated in the Holocaust. But they couldn’t do it, the prosecution refused to begin investigating the case,” Vaitkus recalled.
Burauskaitė told BNS her organization is planning to publish a book this year about the history of Lithuanian police battalions which operated during the Nazi occupation. She said the book would include figures and “concrete perpetrators” of the Holocaust, and their names would be provided in a list of names as an appendix, but said it wasn’t a definitive list.
“I don’t really understand, did they kill, didn’t they kill, it has to be said clearly. I respect Birutė Burauskaitė and the Genocide and Resistance Research Center very highly, but these vague and non-committal formats sometimes lead to this sort of confusion,” Kukliansky commented on the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania’s initiative.
Vaitkus said he supported the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania’s idea. He said as he understood it Lithuanian law at this time allows for the publication of information about the majority of people mentioned in the historical sources and that this could no longer be interpreted as “convictions” of these people. “The Center will publish an historical assessment, a study which will be supported sources and based on their research. Of course there will be some sort of a list of names, from which those who so desire can compile a list of people who participated in the Holocaust. But what sort of legal steps should be taken, it’s difficult for me to say,” Vaitkus said.