Photo: © 2020 DELFI/Šarūnas Mažeika
After questions by Goodwill Foundation chairpeople Faina Kukliansky and rabbi Andrew Baker on the decision by the Lithuanian parliament to name the year 2021 as the Year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, four members of the Vilnius Jewish Community have sent a letter to president Gitanas Nausėda, the parliament, the Government and Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevičius.
Chona Leibovičius, Vitalijus Karakorskis, Dovydas Bluvšteinas and Leo Levas Milneris called on the president to review the composition of Lithuania’s International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania.
These members of the Jewish community called on the parliament and Government to find a way to halt temporarily the financing of the Goodwill Foundation until its leadership is replaced.
They called upon the foreign minister of the Republic of Lithuania to assess in principle attempts to review history and the destruction of statues in the West, first of all, along with Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, [statues to] Raul Wallenberg murdered by Soviet agents and hero of the Lithuanian people Tadeusz Kosciuszko [sic, sentence ungrammatical in original Lithuanian text].
View Text of Letter as Baseless Accusations
In their statement the aforementioned members of the Jewish community say “F. Kukliansky (Lithuania) and Andrew Baker (USA), the chairpeople of the Goodwill Foundation, have presented absolutely no evidence and indirectly accuses legendary partisan commander Juozas Lukša-Daumantas of being a Holocaust perpetrator.”
“We, a group of members of the Vilnius Jewish Community, believe this kind of irresponsible behavior is unacceptable, dividing the civil society of our state. Furthermore, this political statement does not conform to the goals and tasks of the Foundation contained in its articles of incorporation,” the statement, published by V. Karakorskis on his facebook page, said.
The authors of the letter said approval of what is happening in the West now, mainly the USA, is even more scandalous, the support for the Marxist denial and distortion of the undisputed facts of the history of humanity expressed in a letter by Kukliansky and Baker.
“We would like to point out to you that the forces doing this have trashed synagogues and kosher enterprises and desecrated memorials to World War II veterans, Holocaust victims and Righteous Gentiles, for example, to Raul Wallenberg in Los Angeles, and have posted anti-Semitic slogans against the state of Israel,” the members of the Jewish community wrote.
They emphasized “this is not the first attempt by Kukliansky to incite anti-Semitic and anti-Lithuanian sentiments in our state and beyond its borders.”
“It’s sufficient to recall her provocative decision to close the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius because of a supposed threat to Litvaks. Though no evidence of this threat was ever produced, just like in the case of Lukša-Daumantas. Also basically anti-Semitic were Kukliansky’s statements about the Vilnius Jewish Community being basically disloyal to the Lithuanian state, and the statement ‘Jews hate Lithuanians more than Lithuanians hate Jews.’ We could go on with a list of similar provocations by Kukliansky,” the statement said.
The authors pointed out Kukliansky is the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community and that Baker is a member of the International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania.
“Their statement basically supports the constant propaganda efforts by the Kremlin to put in disrepute the heroes of the Lithuanian anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance and to discredit the actions of organizations representing them,” the statement said.
Appeal to Speaker of Parliament
As reported earlier, Goodwill Foundation co-chairs Kukliansky and rabbi Baker sent an open letter on July 1 to speaker of parliament Viktoras Pranckietis expressing concern on the parliament’s decision to name 2021 the Year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas.
The authors of that letter raised the question of whether a person who had belonged to the Lithuanian Activist Front should be honored in this way.
That letter to the parliamentary speaker said:
“The LAF established in Berlin was formed at its inception as a German ally operating inside occupied Lithuania. This was an organization which didn’t hide its anti-Semitic thrust, and was proud of it, while many of its members were directly involved in the persecution and murder of the Jews of Lithuania.
“Despite its anti-Soviet activities and its later conflict with the Nazi administration, the vision of an independent Lithuania declared by the LAF was an ethnically ‘pure’ homeland where there would be no place for citizens of Jewish descent. Although there are those who dispute Lukša-Daumantas’s culpability in war crimes and who claim there aren’t enough documents showing this, we believe it would be unfitting for the Seimas to declare 2021 the Year of Juozas Lukša-Daumantas.”
Not Trying to Accuse
The chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community stressed that they hadn’t sought to accuse in their letter, but only to raise questions, and thought this was completely appropriate.
“We respect Juozas Lukša-Daumantas as we do every partisan who fought for the independence of Lithuania, their country. Nonetheless I would like to point your attention to the three-volume findings of the International Commission to Assess the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania published in 2004. … Volume one describes the LAF in this way:
The LAF was a patriotic Lithuanian organization which sought to restore the independence of the state. The actions of the LAF, however, cast dark shadows: they sought a political union with Hitler’s Germany and satellite status for Lithuania, expressions of Naziism in their ideology, staunch anti-Semitism.”
“There are more publications about the LAF as well.
“We, the Jews of Lithuania, cannot say that the entire LAF and every person who participated in it were tainted with persecution of Jews. Even so, in such cases, when a person is so honored, that an entire year is named in his honor, one would like to learn more of his activities inside this controversial organization,” Kukliansky said.
Full text in Lithuanian here.