Lithuania Uses Memoirs to Investigate Holocaust Survivors as War Criminals

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As Lithuania struggles with the legacy of Nazi and Soviet occupation, Lithuanian prosecutors in the country have launched several public investigations, targeting Jewish Holocaust survivors as war criminals. Most of them are in their late 80s and have penned memoirs, including Yitzhak Arad, who is also part of a commission dedicated to establishing “historical truth” about the occupations initiated by the President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus.

Writing about the investigations in Foreign Policy, Nick Bravin writes:

How a country that was once a center of Jewish life has now begun targeting the few remaining victims of history’s worst crime is a story of foreign occupiers, former Jewish partisans, and modern-day Lithuanian ethnic nationalists. But more broadly, it is a story of books, memory, and a small country’s ongoing struggle to make sense of its tangled, bloody historical narratives–a struggle facing all of Eastern Europe.

The biggest obstacle for Lithuanians in confronting their history is the now well-established fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of Lithuanians voluntarily participated in the Holocaust. Many of the country’s Jews were shot by local police and by a special unit of Lithuanian killers incorporated into the Nazi SS. Since its independence in 1990, only three Lithuanian collaborators have been charged with war crimes, and none was punished.

Source: Foreign Policy

Image by uzvards, licensed under Creative Commons.

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