Aug 11, 2008 21:46 | Updated Aug 12, 2008 11:29
Yad Vashem blasts Lithuania for revisionism

Yad Vashem is increasingly concerned over growing Holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism in Lithuania, the Holocaust Memorial announced Monday.

The unusual public rebuke comes a day after swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were found spray-painted on the walls of the Jewish community centers in central Vilnius, and Lithuanian authorities press ahead with investigations into Jewish Holocaust survivors for their wartime activities as partisans in Lithuania.

“It seems that the harmful phenomenon of historical revisionism and distortion, of which the investigation of the Jewish partisans is a prime example, may actually be increasing in your country,” Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev wrote in a August 10 letter to Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas asking for his direct intervention.

“Only by dealing openly and forthrightly with the full and complex truth about the past will your nation succeed in building for itself a secure and stable future,” the letter read.

Among the Holocaust survivors under Lithuanian investigation is Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a Holocaust historian and former chairman of the Yad Vashem directorate.

Lithuania opened a criminal investigation into Arad last year on suspicion that he took part in the murder of Lithuanian civilians during the Holocaust.

The investigation came to light when the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office sent the Israeli Justice Ministry a request to interrogate Arad in the wake of his memoir, in which he describes his experiences as a partisan in Nazi-occupied Lithuania.

“It is clear that initiating criminal proceedings into Dr. Arad’s involvement in Lithuanian partisan activity during World War II is tantamount to a call for an investigation into all partisan activity,” Shalev wrote in a previous letter to visiting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas earlier this year.

During the Holocaust, most of the Jews of Lithuania were murdered by local citizens.

The “Order Police” began to massacre Jews as soon as the Soviets left in 1941, before the German occupation.