Psychologist Explains Why Lithuanians Can’t Mourn Holocaust Victims

The Vilnius Jewish Public Library hosted a roundtable discussion called “The Psychological Problem of Integrating the Holocaust into the Collective Memory of the People of Lithuania” March 22.

“In childhood we ran around there, no one said even a single word about synagogues or where they were. They evaporated, and all of a sudden you realize that, as in the world of Harry Potter, something exists in parallel, but you don’t know what it is. It’s as if that world hadn’t existed, and there’s no one you can ask about it,” psychoanalyst Tomas Kajokas said. Dr. Kajokas says people don’t understand Jews are part of our society. The question of identification is extremely important, but, according to classical psychoanalysis, it can only be formed when you have lost and understand what it is you have lost. If you have nothing to lose, then in effect you cannot identify with those who have.

“Currently we are unable to identify with Jews exactly for this reason, that we don’t really comprehend the scale of loss,” Kajokas offered. He said Lithuanians will only be able to deal with the topic of the Holocaust when they are able to accept honestly their Soviet past.

Article in Lithuanian here.

Stay tuned to for fuller coverage of this discussion.