SWC Denounces Neo-Nazi March in Center Of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania

February 19, ‏2012

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today strongly condemned a neo-Nazi march held late last week in the city center of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second-largest city and its interwar capital. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the demonstration “a disgraceful way to observe Lithuanian Independence Day,” and harshly criticized the public support of the march by five Lithuanian members of parliament, and the total absence of any public criticism by Lithuanian elected leaders or officials or foreign ambassadors.

According to Zuroff:

“A march of several hundred primarily young people wearing white armbands with Lithuanian swastikas and other fascist symbols sends chills down the spines of the small remnant of Kaunas’ once-thriving Jewish community which was totally decimated during the Holocaust.

“The deafening silence of Lithuania’s leaders will only encourage additional such marches and we anticipate that the march scheduled for Sunday, March 11 in the capital of Vilnius will be much larger given the tacit acceptance of these demonstrations by the government and the total lack of response by the European Union and international community.”

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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).