Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lithuania: Government prosecutes Jewish partisans for 'war crimes', blames 'Russian conspiracy'

Via Slate:
In a new party line, institutions of the contemporary Lithuanian government now portray Nazi-aligned nationalists as anti-Soviet heroes and anti-Nazi partisans—in particular the Jewish ones—as traitors. Arad lives under the cloud of an open-ended investigation by Lithuanian prosecutors for crimes against humanity committed in the final days of World War II, when he allegedly executed Lithuanian anti-Communists, including civilians, for Stalin’s secret police. After decades of being hailed as a war hero, the old man sitting across the table from me had, in the eyes of his homeland, become a war criminal.

In one of its very first independent actions, before even fully breaking free of Moscow, Lithuania’s parliament formally exonerated several Lithuanian nationalists who had collaborated in the Holocaust and had been convicted by Soviet military courts after the war. The right-wing paramilitaries who had carried out the mass murder of Lithuania’s Jews were now hailed as national heroes on account of their anti-Soviet bona fides.

Anne Derse, who served as U.S. ambassador to Lithuania from 2009 to 2012, believes the accusations against Arad were a calculated attempt to undermine the International Commission. “There’s no question that someone was politically motivated,” she told me. “The historical commission was doing some absolutely excellent work.”

The Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, Zygmantas Pavilionis, sees things more conspiratorially. He claims the accusation against Arad was not the work of Lithuanian anti-Semites but rather the work of a Russian conspiracy to make Lithuania look anti-Semitic in the eyes of the world.   more

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