A monument to commemorate Jewish prisoners in the ghetto in Druskininkai, fabricated and erected by private donations, has been knocked over. The latest attack on Lithuanian Jews was discovered Tuesday morning.
“We receive offensive letters daily, rocks are hurled at our Community building, synagogues are being vandalized and anti-Semitic rhetoric rings out from the podium in the national parliament. This seems very much like coordinated activity. This process isn’t getting weaker, on the contrary, it’s accelerating, so we need to take the strictest measures to avert tragedy,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky commented.
Beginning with anti-Semitic statements MP Remigijus Žemaitaitis made last spring and continues to make on the internet and to the press and following Hamas’s terrorist attack killing over a thousand Israelis on October 7, attacks against Lithuanian Jews are growing ever-more frequent. Last week alone the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius and the Šiauliai Jewish Community in Šiauliai were attacked, Nazi and white power symbols were graffitied on a pedestrian bridge in a Vilnius suburb and stickers from an extremist group were plastered on Vilnius mass transit. Both the Choral Synagogue, the only working synagogue in Vilnius, and the Zavl shul synagogue on Gelių street in Vilnius were vandalized.
The vandalism committed on Šv. Jokūbo street in Druskininkai, the southern Lithuanian spa town on the border with Belarus, is just another link in a long chain of anti-Semitic acts. The monument in Druskininkai marks the location of the Druskininkai ghetto stood from 1941 to 1943, where around 900 Jews from the town and surrounding villages and farms were held prisoner before being murdered.
“While other countries and some people criticize Israeli policies, this has nothing at all to do with the Jews who live in Lithuania today. We are Lithuanian citizens and we expect and hope the state will insure our safety,” chairwoman Kukliansky added.