Wiesenthal Center Protests Participation of Lithuanian Genocide Center in Yesterday's Holocaust Memorial Day Events at Jewish Community

January 28, 2015

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent a letter of protest to the Lithuanian Jewish community in response to the participation in yesterday's events to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day of the Lithuanian Genocide Center and a scholar affiliated with that institution who consistently downplays the role of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes.

In a letter sent to Faina Kukliansky, the president of the Lithuanian Jewish community by chief Nazi-hunter Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center emphasized the extremely negative role played by the Genocide Center in recording the history of Lithuanian Jewry, especially during the Holocaust and in particular its systematic efforts to minimize the highly significant role of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes.

According to Zuroff's letter to Kukliansky:

"Anyone acquainted with the history of that institution [the Genocide Center] is well aware of its very active role in rewriting the accepted and accurate narrative of World War II to the detriment of historical truth. Examples of its harmful activities abound, but suffice it to mention its responsibility for the content of the local Genocide Museum, which included blatantly anti-Semitic exhibits overemphasizing the role of Jews in Communist crimes, while completely ignoring the real genocide, that of European, and especially Lithuanian Jewry, which took place in Lithuania. Only after protests, did the museum devote one small room to the Holocaust, and in a manner unbefitting the scope and nature of that unique tragedy.

To make matters worse, one of the guest speakers was Dr. Arunas Bubnys, whose book on the Vilna Ghetto is a good example of Holocaust distortion designed to downplay the role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews and emphasize the questionable behavior of the Jewish police who were operating under coercion in very difficult circumstances. It was Bubnys who publically denied the well-documented violence by Lithuanians against Jews in dozens of communities before the Nazis even arrived, a fact corroborated in numerous survivor testimonies.

The cooperation between the Jewish community and the Genocide Center is a disgrace and a betrayal of the memory of the Jews murdered by Lithuanians.

For years, Dr. Alperovich, your esteemed predecessor, courageously defended the historical truth regarding the Holocaust in Lithuania and the memory of the victims, but that clearly is no longer the case, and the community under your leadership has forfeited its role as custodian and guardian of Shoa memory."

For more information: Dr. Efraim Zuroff 972.50.721.4156 Twitter: @EZuroff, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

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).