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Wiesenthal Center Blasts Baltic Campaign to Equate Communism and Nazism; Calls for International Effort to Thwart Initiatives That Distort Holocaust History

Jerusalem, July 16, 2009

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today blasted the current campaign conducted by the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to grant Communist crimes equal recognition to the crimes of the Holocaust . In an op-ed article featured in the Israeli English-language daily Jerusalem Post, the Center’s Israel director Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff severely criticized the recently-intensified campaign by the Baltic republics and other post-Communist governments to mark August 23 as a joint remembrance day for the victims of Nazism and Communism, and to establish an “Institute of European Memory and Conscience” as a museum, research and educational center on totalitarian crimes in order to “reunite [European] history [and] recognize communism and Nazism as a common legacy.”

 According to Zuroff:

“While one can sympathize with the legitimate desire of the victims of Communism for recognition, there is nothing innocent about this declaration which clearly seeks to undermine the current status of the Holocaust as a unique historical tragedy and relativize it to divert attention from the extensive collaboration of Balts with the Nazis and the abysmal failure of all their governments since independence to adequately deal with these issues.

“It is clear that the time has come to start paying attention to this insidious campaign being conducted primarily by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to alleviate their guilt for Holocaust crimes and displace the Shoa from its unique status. If not, we are likely to soon find ourselves facing the cancellation of the numerous important achievements of the past decade in Holocaust commemoration and education and forced to fight an uphill battle against a new and distorted World War II historical narrative.”

For more information call 00-972-50-72141 www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com