Wiesenthal Center Leads Protest Against Lithuanian Extreme-Right March

Glorifying Nazi-collaborator leaders and shouts of "Lithuania for Lithuanians" reminiscent of Nazi Era

The consistent refusal of Lithuania's political leaders to condemn such behavior will only encourage the growth of the extreme right in a country where professed patriotism led to massive collaboration in Holocaust crimes.                                                     - Dr. Efraim Zuroff

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel Director and chief Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff led a protest in Kaunas against an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi march in honor of Lithuanian Independence Day.

Lithuania's large Jewish community was virtually totally annihilated during the Holocaust by the Nazis, with highly significant participation of Lithuanian volunteer collaborators.

The right-wing demonstrators marched with images of Juozas Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis, who served as prime minister of the Lithuanian provisional government, established in Kaunas shortly after the Nazi invasion, and who enthusiastically supported the Third Reich and the systematic annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.

"Those who seek to inspire patriotism by invoking the memory of Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis are in effect expressing support for the tragic annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry. In that context, the shouts of the demonstrators "Lithuania for Lithuanians", rings starkly ominous," said Dr. Zuroff.

The Center's delegation (pictured) including world-renowned Yiddish professor Dovid Katz, noted Lithuanian film-maker Saulius Berzinis, and leading Jewish community activist Milan Chersonsky, was joined by local anti-fascist demonstrators led by Lithuanian journalist Evaldas Balciunas, who has written extensively about Lithuanian efforts to glorify Holocaust perpetrators.