Dark his­to­ries

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

This week we re­port how Lithua­nia’s Geno­cide and Re­sis­tance Cen­tre has been ac­cused of dis­tort­ing the coun­try’s wartime treat­ment of its Jewish pop­u­la­tion. Two weeks ago we re­vealed that Ukraine’s Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing an­tisemitism has been ac­cused of bend­ing the his­tory of the Holo­caust. And ev­ery year we re­port on marches in Latvia and Lithua­nia that honour Nazis and their col­lab­o­ra­tors. The post­war Com­mu­nist his­tory of the Baltics and Eastern Europe cer­tainly adds a com­pli­cat­ing di­men­sion to their con­cepts of lib­er­a­tion and op­pres­sion. But there are cer­tain ab­so­lutes — one of which is the role of the Nazis and their col­lab­o­ra­tors. The Lithua­nian cen­tre, for ex­am­ple, de­picts two wartime lead­ers, Jonas Nor­eika and Kazys Skrps, as he­roes. But Nor­eika took part in the mass mur­der of Lithua­nian Jews, or­der­ing their shoot­ing, and Skrpa led a pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment un­der which more than 5,000 Jews were mur­dered. It is a de­press­ing thought that, over 70 years af­ter the war, there are some na­tions in Europe that have not even come close to deal­ing with their own dark his­to­ries.

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