Wiesenthal Center Blasts Acquittal of Holocaust Denier Petras Stankeras

March 6, 2011

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the dismissal of the case against Holocaust denier Petras Stankeras (pictured) and the failure of the Lithuanian prosecutors to publicize the decision. In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the consistent failure since independence of the Lithuanian judiciary to punish Lithuanians who commit crimes related to the Holocaust.

According to Zuroff:

“While the crimes of Holocaust denial is not comparable to the terrible Holocaust war crimes committed by Liliekis, Gimzauskas and Dailide, the Lithuanian judiciary has once again demonstrated its total inability to punish locals who commit crimes related to the annihilation of European Jewry. I have no doubt that a Lithuanian who committed Communist crimes or tried to deny them would never be treated with such leniency. Perhaps those accused of Holocaust crimes have to be prosecuted elsewhere?”

Background: The November 16th issue of the popular news weekly Veidas published an article by Interior Ministry specialist Petras Stankeras in which he called the Holocaust a "legend." The Wiesenthal Center called for his prosecution under a Lithuanian law which makes the denial of Holocaust crimes a criminal offence. An investigation was initiated against him, but we recently learned that no charges had been filed against him, and Stankeras, who had resigned from his post under pressure from the Center and seven European ambassadors who had also protested against his denial of the Shoa, had applied to be reinstated to his original job.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).