Old Argument Lithuania Guiltless in Holocaust Rehashed

Old Argument Lithuania Guiltless in Holocaust Rehashed

A Lithuanian MP announced December 16 he would draft and submit legislation for a parliamentary resolution declaring the Lithuanian nation or people and the Lithuanian state were not complicit in the Holocaust, since Lithuania was occupied by Nazi Germany at the time upwards of 96% of all Lithuanian Jews were exterminated, mainly at the hands of ethnic Lithuanians.

Arūnas Gumuliauskas, chairman of the parliament’s Commission on Battles for Freedom and State Historical Memory, allegedly announced his intention to introduce the legislation at an event at the Lithuanian National Library.

A press report on Lithuania’s 15min.lt website said the idea was reminiscent of Poland’s recent law making it illegal to call Nazi death camps in Poland “Polish.” Gumuliauskas refused to disclose details of the language of the resolution, saying it hadn’t been written yet, and hinted he would not reveal either who his advisors were in writing the document.

Actually, the argument Lithuania is technically guiltless because the country was occupied goes much further back, to rhetoric in the Lithuanian emigre community in North America after World War II, and was dusted off when the modern Republic of Lithuania was declared restored in 1990.

Around the year 2000 serious cracks appeared in this ideological position when the Lithuanian parliament sought to pass a resolution declaring both the Provisional Government of 1941 and subsequent partisan “governments in exile” constitutionally and legally successors to the last duly elected government and parliament of Lithuania prior to WWII.

To put it briefly, if you accept the Provisional Government as legitimate, then you have to accept Lithuanian responsibility for the Holocaust. Actually the Lithuanian Provisional Government was a Nazi Abwehr project to ease the invasion and consolidation of what was then the western territories of the Soviet Union.

As the Orwellian Lithuanian Genocide Center likes to claim frequently, the pre-, intra- and postwar period was complicated. In point of fact what Lithuanians now refer to as the “first Soviet occupation” was a gradual abdication by elected Lithuanian government officials to Soviet demands, beginning with the ultimatum to allow Red Army troops to be stationed in Lithuania, passing through the demand–satisfied–Lithuania elect a pro-Soviet parliament and government and ending with the “request” by members of the pro-Soviet government to join as a constituent republic the Soviet Union.

As critics have been saying for almost three decades now, you can’t have it both ways. Either the Provisional Government formed in Berlin was the legitimate governing power in Lithuania, or it was an aberration. There has never been an international claim of collective guilt against “the Lithuanian nation,” only ambivalence in the West Lithuania the state had joined the fray of war on the side of the Axis. None of which changes the fact Lithuanians murdered a higher percentage of their Jewish compatriots than anywhere else in Europe.

Full story in Lithuanian here.