August 2, 2016  
SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER PROTESTS DISGRACEFUL MISUSE OF KAUNAS, LITHUANIA HOLOCAUST MASS MURDER SITE

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent a strong letter of protest to Kaunas mayor VisvaldasMatijosaitis regarding entertainment and amusement activities being conducted for profit at the Seventh Fort, the mass murder site of 5,000 Kaunas Jews in the summer of 1941. In his letter to Mayor Matijosaitis, the Center's Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. EfraimZuroff called the current situation "disgraceful" and urged the mayor to immediately suspend such activities at the site.

According to Zuroff:

"As you no doubt are aware, the site of the mass murder of several thousand Jews in 1941 was privatized several years ago, and has now been turned into a recreation and entertainment center which violates the memory of the victims.
"This sad situation was revealed already several months ago in Musiskiai, the book RutaVanagaite and I wrote about the subject of Holocaust memory and commemoration in Lithuania. More recently, a feature by Israeli journalist CnaanLipshiz of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency revealed that one could even hold a wedding reception at the site.
"These revelations have justifiably aroused widespread indignation, and a call for action to put an end to this disgraceful situation.
"I urge you to immediately suspend such activities at the Seventh Fort and find a way to restore the site to the municipality or to an organization whose purpose will be to honor the memory of the victims, rather than insult them."

For more information: Dr. EfraimZuroff  972.50.721.4156   Twitter: @EZuroff
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


August 4, 2015  
WIESENTHAL CENTER PRAISES OP-ED IN LRYTAS.LT PORTAL BY VYTAUTAS BRUVERIS CALLING FOR COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATIONS INTO SCOPE AND NUMBER OF LITHUANIAN PARTICIPANTS IN HOLOCAUST CRIMES

Taurage, Lithuania – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised an op-ed in the popular Lithuanian news portal lrytas.lt by prominent journalist VytautasBruveris calling upon the government to finally undertake a comprehensive investigation of the scope of Lithuanian complicity in Holocaust crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi hunter, Dr. EfraimZuroff, who is currently in Lithuania on a research expedition, the Center expressed its appreciation and support for the content of the article and expressed the hope that the government would indeed implement the ideas raised by Bruveris.

According to Zuroff:

"This important article by Bruveris, following a recent op-ed in the same spirit by journalist RimvydasValatka (on July 26 in www.delfi.com), points to growing awareness in the circles of Lithuanian intelligentsia of the necessity to finally fully investigate the role and scope of Lithuanian collaborators in Holocaust crimes. Also of great significance is the call to stop the glorification of Lithuanian freedom fighters who actively participated in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. These public calls for such an investigation will hopefully mark a positive turning point in the history of Lithuania's dealing with its Holocaust past and, if acted upon, will no doubt significantly help improve Lithuanian-Jewish relations."

For more information: Dr. EfraimZuroff  972.50.721.4156   Twitter: @EZuroff
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


February 12, 2015  
Wiesenthal CenterUrges Kaunas, Lithuania Mayor to Cancel or Restrict Upcoming Neo-Nazi March

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged AndriusKupčinskas, the mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania, to cancel the upcoming neo-Nazi march scheduled to take place this coming Monday, February 16, Lithuanian Independence Day, in the center of the city. In a letter sent today by its chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center urged Mayor Kupčinskas to find a legal basis to cancel the march, or at least have it conducted elsewhere under strict limitations against incitement and Holocaust distortion." According to Zuroff's letter to the mayor: "As you well know, once again the neo-Nazis and ultranationalists plan to march in the center of Kaunas this coming Monday, February 16 to mark Lithuanian independence day. I think that it should be obvious to you that such a march in which the main slogan is "Lithuania for Lithuanians," and numerous Lithuanian swastikas are shown along with the image of Third Reich supporter JuozasAmbrazevicius who collaborated with the Nazis in the murder of the Jewish residents of Kaunas is hardly an appropriate manner to celebrate Lithuanian independence."

For more information call 00-972-50-721 4156
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


January 28, 2015  
Wiesenthal CenterProtests Participation of Lithuanian Genocide Center in Yesterday's Holocaust Memorial Day Events at Jewish Community

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent a letter of protest to the Lithuanian Jewish community in response to the participation in yesterday's events to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day of the Lithuanian Genocide Center and a scholar affiliated with that institution who consistently downplays the role of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes.

In a letter sent to Faina Kukliansky, the president of the Lithuanian Jewish community by chief Nazi-hunter Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center emphasized the extremely negative role played by the Genocide Center in recording the history of Lithuanian Jewry, especially during the Holocaust and in particular its systematic efforts to minimize the highly significant role of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes.

According to Zuroff's letter to Kukliansky:

"Anyone acquainted with the history of that institution [the Genocide Center] is well aware of its very active role in rewriting the accepted and accurate narrative of World War II to the detriment of historical truth. Examples of its harmful activities abound, but suffice it to mention its responsibility for the content of the local Genocide Museum, which included blatantly anti-Semitic exhibits overemphasizing the role of Jews in Communist crimes, while completely ignoring the real genocide, that of European, and especially Lithuanian Jewry, which took place in Lithuania. Only after protests, did the museum devote one small room to the Holocaust, and in a manner unbefitting the scope and nature of that unique tragedy.

To make matters worse, one of the guest speakers was Dr. ArunasBubnys, whose book on the Vilna Ghetto is a good example of Holocaust distortion designed to downplay the role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews and emphasize the questionable behavior of the Jewish police who were operating under coercion in very difficult circumstances. It was Bubnys who publically denied the well-documented violence by Lithuanians against Jews in dozens of communities before the Nazis even arrived, a fact corroborated in numerous survivor testimonies.

The cooperation between the Jewish community and the Genocide Center is a disgrace and a betrayal of the memory of the Jews murdered by Lithuanians.
For years, Dr. Alperovich, your esteemed predecessor, courageously defended the historical truth regarding the Holocaust in Lithuania and the memory of the victims, but that clearly is no longer the case, and the community under your leadership has forfeited its role as custodian and guardian of Shoa memory."

For more information call 00-972-50-721 4156
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


March 27, 2014  
Wiesenthal Center Mourns the Passing Today of Courageous Leader of Lithuanian Jewish Community

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued the following statement in the wake of the passing last night of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the former Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community.

"It is with great sorrow that we learned of the passing last night of Dr. Shimon Alperovich, the < venerable leader for many years of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Dr. Alperovich displayed great courage and fortitude in leading the renewed Lithuanian Jewish community and fought bravely against the ongoing efforts to minimize local participation in Nazi crimes and the promotion of the canard of equivalency between Nazi and Communist atrocities.

"Just two and a half weeks ago, I visited him in Vilnius together with Prof. Dovid Katz, to update him on our plans to protest the next day against the neo-Nazi march held in the capital, and Dr.

Alperovich gave us his blessing and encouragement.

"On numerous occasions, Dr. Alperovich publically spoke out against Lithuanian Holocaust distortion and, unlike some other Jewish leaders in Eastern Europe, fully supported the Center's "Operation Last Chance" (launched in Lithuania in July 2002) and our efforts to persuade the local authorities to bring unprosecuted Lithuanian Nazi criminals to justice.

"May his memory be a blessing to his family, the Lithuanian Jewish community and Litvaks the world over."

For more information call 00-972-50-721 4156
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


Feb. 17, 2014  
WIESENTHAL CENTER ISRAEL DIRECTOR LEADS PROTEST AGAINST EXTREME RIGHT INDEPENDENCE DAY MARCH IN LITHUANIA

Kaunas –The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel Director and chief Nazi hunter Dr. EfraimZuroff yesterday afternoon led a protest against an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi march in honor of Lithuanian Independence Day, held here, in Lithuania's inter-war capital, whose large and important Jewish community was virtually totally annihilated during the Holocaust by the Nazis, with highly significant participation of Lithuanian volunteer collaborators.

The Center's delegation, which also included world-renowned Yiddish professor Dovid Katz, noted Lithuanian film-maker SauliusBerzinis, and leading Jewish community activist Milan Chersonsky, was joined by more than two dozen local anti-fascist demonstrators led by Lithuanian journalist EvaldasBalciunas, who has written extensively (www.defendinghistory.com) about Lithuanian efforts to glorify Holocaust perpetrators.
In his statement to the media, Dr. Zuroff emphasized the use by the demonstrators of the image of JuozasAmbrazevicius-Brazaitis, who served as prime minister of the Lithuanian provisional government established in Kaunas shortly after the Nazi invasion, and which enthusiastically supported the Third Reich and the systematic annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.

According to Zuroff:
"Those who seek to inspire patriotism by invoking the memory of Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis are in effect expressing support for the tragic annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry. In that context, the shouts of the demonstrators "Lithuania for Lithuanians", ring starkly ominous. The consistent refusal of Lithuania's political leaders to condemn such behavior will only encourage the growth of the extreme right in a country where professed patriotism led to massive collaboration in Holocaust crimes."

For more information call 00-972-50-721 4156
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


October 30, 2013  
Wiesenthal Center Criticizes Latest Effort by Lithuanian Genocide Center to Minimize Lithuanian Complicity in Holocaust Murders

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the results of a study on Lithuanian participation in Holocaust crimes recently completed by the government-sponsored Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted two major flaws in the findings of the report as presented by its coordinator Dr. Alfredas Ruksenas, in a report published by the Lithuanian news portal www.delfi.lt on October 25, 2013.

According to Zuroff:
"The findings of the report, as presented by the coordinator of this project, are clearly part of a systematic attempt by the Lithuanian government to minimize the role of ethnic Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Based on the records in our archives, I can unequivocally state, that the figure of 2,055 Lithuanians whose direct and indirect participation in Holocaust crimes was confirmed by this study, is a gross underestimate of the number of Lithuanians complicit in Shoa crimes, designed to deflect blame from local collaborators and hide the extensive scope of Lithuanian involvement in the mass murder of Jews, both in Lithuania and outside her borders.
"Also highly objectionable is the assertion by Dr. Ruskenas that those Lithuanians who indeed murdered Jews really had no choice but to do so, having received orders to commit murder from their superiors. Besides the fact that in many cases, these superiors were themselves Lithuanians, such arguments have been consistently and unequivocally rejected by courts all over the world, starting with the Nuremberg Trials."

For more information call 00-972-50-721 4156
www.operationlastchance.org       www.wiesenthal.com


February 15, 2013

 
WIESENTHAL CENTER CALLS UPON LITHUANIAN AUTHORITIES TO BAN NEO-NAZI MARCHES TO MARK INDEPENDENCE DAY SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW IN KAUNAS AND ON MARCH 11 IN VILNIUS
Vilnius-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon the Lithuanian authorities to ban the neo-Nazi marches scheduled to take place tomorrow (February 16) in Kaunas and on March 11 in Vilnius to mark Lithuanian independence day. At a press conference hosted here today by the Center's chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, together with leading Vilnius activist Prof. Dovid Katz.www.defendinghistory.com) , the two presented the case for banning the marches which since 2008, when initially held, have blatantly incited against the country's minorities, and especially against the small local Jewish community. Zuroff presented a historical survey of the rise in anti-Semitism following Lithuania's acceptance into the European Union and NATO, which was followed by its failure to punish any of the numerous unprosecuted local Nazi war criminals tried in Lithuanian courts, and a campaign to put on trial several Jewish anti-Nazi Soviet partisans on trumped up charges of war crimes. Since 2008, the Lithuanian authorities have led the efforts to promote the canard of historical equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes and have glorified various nationalists who actively participated in the persecution of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust, all of which help explain the resurgence of fascist ideology and extremist nationalism as manifested in the marches.
 
According to Zuroff:
"The best way to combat the resurgence of right-wing nationalist extremism in Lithuania is to honestly confront the country's  Holocaust history, which includes extensive complicity of local Nazi collaborators in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews and Jews from, and in, other lands as well. The country's failure hereto to accurately and honestly portray the role of all sectors of Lithuanian society in Holocaust crimes, is the background and a key factor in the rise of ultranationalism in Lithuania. Instead of telling the painful truth about Lithuanian crimes, in recent years the government preferred to turn some of the criminals into heroes and downplay the uniqueness of the Holocaust."
 

For more information: 972-50-721-4156// 

www.operationlastchance.org

www.wiesenthal.com

 



February 14, 2013  
Simono Wiesenthalio biuro Jeruzalėje direktoriaus dr. Efraimo Zuroffo spaudos konferencija dėl nacionalistinių eitynių

BNS spaudos konferencijų salėje, Jogailos g. 9/1 (4 aukštas), Vilniuje
Sritys: Politika
Numatoma įvykio data: 2013-02-15
Numatomas įvykio pradžios laikas: 11:00

Penktadienį, vasario 15 d., 11.00 val. naujienų agentūros BNS spaudos konferencijų salėje adresu Jogailos g. 9/1, Vilnius, Simono Wiesenthalio biuro Jeruzalėje direktorius dr. Efraimas Zuroffas bei tinklapio www.defendinghistory.com įkūrėjas ir vyriausiasis redaktorius prof. Dovidas Katzas rengia spaudos konferenciją dėl Vasario 16-ąją Kaune, kovo 11-ąją Vilniuje ir kovo 16-ąją Rygoje numatytų nacionalistinių eitynių.

Maloniai kviečiame dalyvauti!

Kontaktinis (-iai) asmuo (-enys):
Dr. Efraim Zuroff
www.operationlastchance.org


May 3, 2012  
Wiesenthal Center Condemns Decision to Rebury Lithuanian World War II Pro-
Nazi Leader With Full Honors on May 17

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly condemned the decision yesterday by a working group led by Kaunas mayor Andrius Kupčinskas to bring the remains of Lithuania’s World War II pro-Nazi political leader Jouzas Ambrazavičius-Brazaitis from the United States where he died in 1974, for reburial with full honors in Lithuania. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center described the decision as “an absolute outrage which exposes the hypocrisy of the current Lithuanian government which repeatedly claims that it takes the subject of Holocaust commemoration seriously.”

According to Zuroff:
“Jouzas Ambrazavičius was the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), a staunchly pro-Nazi group which collaborated with the forces of Nazi Germany and openly called upon the local population to attack Lithuanian Jews. This incitement to murder was a significant factor in the violence unleashed by Lithuanians against Jews in more than forty places, even before the arrival of the German troops and in the horrific wave of mass murder unleashed with massive local help after the country was occupied. To honor Ambrazavičius is to besmirch the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania and make a mockery of Lithuania’s programs of Holocaust commemoration and education.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com


February 19, ‏2012  
WIESENTHAL CENTER DENOUNCES NEO-NAZI MARCH IN CENTER OF KAUNAS (KOVNO), LITHUANIA

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today strongly condemned a neo-Nazi march held late last week in the city center of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second-largest city and its interwar capital. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the demonstration “a disgraceful way to observe Lithuanian Independence Day,” and harshly criticized the public support of the march by five Lithuanian members of parliament, and the total absence of any public criticism by Lithuanian elected leaders or officials or foreign ambassadors.

According to Zuroff:
“A march of several hundred primarily young people wearing white armbands with Lithuanian swastikas and other fascist symbols sends chills down the spines of the small remnant of Kaunas’ once-thriving Jewish community which was totally decimated during the Holocaust.
“The deafening silence of Lithuania’s leaders will only encourage additional such marches and we anticipate that the march scheduled for Sunday, March 11 in the capital of Vilnius will be much larger given the tacit acceptance of these demonstrations by the government and the total lack of response by the European Union and international community.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com



January 9, 2012

 
Wiesenthal Center: EU Ambassador Ušackes’ Reply Only Further Insults
Holocaust Victims in Lithuania

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today responded with dismay and consternation to a communication from EU Ambassador to Afghanistan Vygaudas Ušackes to its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, following his criticism of an op-ed by Ušackes in the Wall Street Journal in which the ambassador referred to the Nazi occupation of Lithuania as “a few years’ respite from the Communists.” In a statement issued here today, the Center noted that rather than rectifying his grossly insensitive remark about the Holocaust, Ambassador Ušackes has again insulted its victims, especially those murdered in his homeland.

According to Zuroff:

“All Ambassador Ušackes was expected to do was to admit that his original comment was inappropriate and apologize for his lack of sensitivity to the fate of Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust. Instead, he chose to defend his callous indifference to the murder of some 212,000 Lithuanian Jews during the Nazi occupation, by complaining about the imbalance in public opinion between “Nazi crimes which have been universally condemned by all civilized humanity,” and “the crimes of Stalin’s regime…and the tragedy of its victims,” which only received recognition more recently, as if this justifies ignoring the Holocaust. And while he did condemn Holocaust crimes in general, he did not say a word about those committed by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.

“Ušackes’ reluctance to honestly deal with his country’s bloody Holocaust past raises serious doubts about his ability to properly represent the European Union.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

January 2, 2012

 
Wiesenthal Center Calls Upon Lithuanian EU Ambassador to Afghanistan Ušackas to Apologize for Grossly Insensitive Comments On Nazi Occupation of Lithuania

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon EU Ambassador to Afghanistan, Lithuania’s former Foreign Minister Vygaudas Ušackas, to apologize or retract his grossly insensitive comments regarding the Nazi occupation of his country in his December 2011 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. In an article entitled “My Long, Strange Journey to Afghanistan,” Ušackas categorized the Nazi occupation of Lithuania (1941-1944) during which over 96% of the country’s Jewish community was murdered, in many cases by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators, as “a respite from the Communists while the Nazis were in control.” In a statement issued here today by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center termed the comment “a grave insult to the victims of the Holocaust and especially to those murdered in Lithuania.”

According to Zuroff:

“It is incomprehensible that an individual who represents the European Union can refer to the mass annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry in such grossly insensitive terms, which fail to reflect the historical reality of that period. We urge Ambassador Ušachas to apologize and retract his statement and call upon the European Union to take appropriate measures should he refuse to do so.”

The Center's hotline for information is in Germany: (01573) 494-7307
For those those calling from outside Germany: 49-1573-494-7307

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

September 18, 2011  
WIESENTHAL CENTER PRAISES YAD VASHEM DECISION TO CANCEL PARTICIPATION OF LITHUANIAN AMBASSADOR AND MINISTER IN TOMORROW’S MEMORIAL FOR LITHUANIAN JEWISH HOLOCAUST VICTIMS

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the recent decision of Yad Vashem to rescind its original invitation to Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel Darius Degutis and visiting Minister of Culture Arunas Gelunas to participate in tomorrow’s annual memorial assembly to commemorate the Jews murdered in Lithuania during the Holocaust. The decision was made in the wake of the refusal of Yosef Melamed, Chairman of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, to attend the event in the light of a recent attempt by the Lithuanian government to prosecute him for “libeling”
so-called “Lithuanian heroes,” whom he exposed as participants in Holocaust crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the significance of Yad Vashem’s decision in the context of the ongoing battle being waged against the Lithuanian government’s energetic efforts to hide and/or minimize the active complicity of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews, as well as its promotion of the Prague Declaration which seeks to establish a historically-false equivalency between Holocaust and Communist crimes.

According to Zuroff:
“Yad Vashem, which serves as the primary custodian of Shoa remembrance and the key guardian of the accuracy of the Jewish narrative of Holocaust history, is to be commended for fulfilling its historic function in a very courageous manner. Its decision is a crucial blow against the ongoing efforts of the Lithuanian government to distort the history of the Shoa in Lithuania and the role played by local Nazi collaborators in the mass murder of local and foreign Jews in Lithuania, as well as Jews in Belarus and Poland.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

July 12, 2011

 
WIESENTHAL CENTER TO LITHUANIAN AUTHORITIES: DESECRATION OF PONAR MEMORIAL TO SHOA VICTIMS IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO MINIMIZE LOCAL COMPLICITY IN HOLOCAUST CRIMES

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the Lithuanian government for trying to hide or minimize the highly-significant role of local Nazi collaborators in Holocaust crimes and attributed last weekend’s desecration of the memorial at Ponar, the site of the mass murder of 70,000 Jews during the Holocaust, to the falsification of World War II history by local historians with governmental sponsorship and support. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center pointed to the denial at a recent international conference sponsored by the government at the Seimas [Lithuanian Parliament] of the lethal violence launched by Lithuanians against Jews in at least 40 different locations before the arrival of Nazi troops, as an example of the continuing efforts by the authorities to try and conceal the active participation by Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.

According to Zuroff:
“The ongoing government-sponsored and financed distortion, minimization, and downplaying of the critical role played by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators in Holocaust crimes has created an anti-Semitic atmosphere in which slogans such as “Hitler was right,” which was scrawled on the Ponar memorial, seem natural. After all, if as was claimed at the recent historical conference held at the Seimas, Jewish historians such as eminent Hebrew University professor Dov Levin purposely lied about the scope of Lithuanian criminality during the Shoa, such desecrations of Holocaust memorials become almost understandable. The time has come for the European Union to make clear to the Lithuanian authorities that membership obligates them to refrain from distorting the history of World War II for political reasons and to stop the resultant incitement against the local Jewish community

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

June 22, 2011  
Wiesenthal Center: On Seventieth Anniversary of Nazi Invasion, “Lithuanian Activist Front” Should Be Denounced, Not Glorified

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon the Lithuanian authorities to refrain from honoring the “Lithuanian Activist Front” which sought to reestablish Lithuanian independence following the Nazi invasion of the country launched seventy years ago on June 22, 1941. In a statement issued here today by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the vicious incitement against the Jews of Lithuania by the Lithuanian Activist Front prior to the invasion and their appeal for Lithuanians to take measures on their own against Jews considered suspect of betraying the country. These calls, it should be noted, led to widespread physical violence which claimed the lives of at least hundreds of Jews by local vigilantes, before the arrival of the Nazis in at least forty different locations.

According to Zuroff:

“Any attempt to glorify the Lithuanian Activist Front is not a tribute to Lithuanian patriotism, but rather a ringing endorsement of the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry and a horrific insult to the numerous victims of the Holocaust murdered by Lithuanians. The seventieth anniversary of the Nazi invasion should be an occasion for repentance and reflection on the role of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes, and a day to honor those brave Lithuanians who risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbors. They were the true Lithuanian patriots, not the anti-Semites of the Lithuanian Activist Front .”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

April 12, 2011  
WIESENTHAL CENTER CALLS FOR PROMPT ACTION TO APPREHEND AND PROSECUTE PERPETRATORS OF YESTERDAY’S ATTACK ON KAUNAS, LITHUANIA SITE OF HOLOCAUST MASS MURDER

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon the Lithuanian authorities to make every possible effort to apprehend and punish the individuals who last night vandalized the site of the “Ninth Fort,” one of the most important sites of Holocaust mass murder in general, and in Lithuania, in particular. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center expressed grave pain and indignation that a place which currently commemorates, and during World War II had been the site of, such horrific Holocaust crimes in which tens of thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators, was vandalized with swastikas and inscriptions calling for the expulsion of Jews, and memorial plaques were forcibly removed from their places.

According to Zuroff:
“The disgusting desecration of one of the most important sites of the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry is a clear message of implacable hatred for the Jews living in Lithuania and a insult to the memory of the innocent Jewish victims brutally annihilated by the German and Austrian Nazis and their Lithuanian helpers, who carried out most of the killing at this site of infamy. It is high time that Lithuanian students and children will be taught the truth about the role of their countrymen in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry and many thousands of Jews outside the country, and that the government stop trying to minimize local collaboration with the Nazis and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Holocaust crimes.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

March 13, 2011  
WIESENTHAL CENTER BLASTS FRIDAY’S NEO-NAZI MARCH IN CENTER OF VILNIUS

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center has labeled a neo-Nazi march of approximately 1,000 participants held this past Friday in the heart of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius “the worst type of anti-Semitic and xenophobic incitement against Lithuania’s minorities” and harshly criticized the failure of the country’s political, intellectual, and religious leadership to condemn the march unequivocally. In a statement issued here today by its Israel Director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called upon Lithuanian elected officials to denounce such demonstrations and upon the leaders of the ruling Homeland Union party to sanction their MP Kazimieras Uoka who was among the marchers.

According to Zuroff:
“Such demonstrations are an affront to all members of the minority groups living in Lithuania, and especially insulting to the country’s Jewish citizens, many of whom are Holocaust survivors. To see hundreds of young people marching with Lithuanian flags and swastikas down the main avenue of the capital of a member of the European Union and NATO is enough to send shivers down the spine of any person with a knowledge of Lithuanian history during the years 1941-1945 and any sense of morality.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

March 6, 2011  
Wiesenthal Center Blasts Acquittal of Holocaust Denier Petras Stankeras

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the dismissal of the case against
Holocaust denier Petras Stankeras and the failure of the Lithuanian prosecutors to publicize the decision. In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the constant failure since independence of the Lithuanian judiciary to punish Lithuanians who commit crimes related to the Holocaust.

According to Zuroff:
“While the crimes of Holocaust denial is not comparable to the terrible Holocaust war crimes committed by Liliekis, Gimzauskas and Dailide, the Lithuanian judiciary has once again demonstrated its total inability to punish locals who commit crimes related to the annihilation of European Jewry. I have no doubt that a Lithuanian who committed Communist crimes or tried to deny them would never be treated with such leniency. Perhaps those accused of Holocaust crimes have to be prosecuted elsewhere?”

Background: The November 16 issue of the popular news weekly Veidas published an article by Interior Ministry specialist Petras Stankeras in which he called the Holocaust a "legend." The Wiesenthal Center called for his prosecution under a Lithuanian law which makes the denial of Holocaust crimes a criminal offence. An investigation was initiated against him, but we recently learned that no charges had been filed against him, and Stankeras, who had resigned from his post under pressure from the Center and seven European ambassadors who had also protested against his denial of the Shoa, had applied to be reinstated to his original job.

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

February 17, 2011  
WIESENTHAL CENTER CRITICIZES DECISION OF VILNIUS MUNICIPALITY TO APPROVE NEO-NAZI MARCH IN CENTER OF LITHUANIAN CAPITAL

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the decision of the Vilnius Municipality to permit a march by local neo-Nazis and ultranationalists through the center of the Lithuanian capital this coming March 11, to mark the restoration in 1990 of Lithuanian independence. In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic slogans and signs of the participants in last year’s march on the same day, and called upon the local authorities to change their misguided decision.

According to Zuroff:

“Freedom of speech does not include the right to incite hatred of Lithuania’s minorities and foreigners. The fact that racist and anti-Semitic slogans could be shouted with impunity on the main avenue of a capital of a member state of the European Union is incomprehensible. One of the primary factors for the rise of ultranationalist sentiments in Lithuania has been the abysmal failure of successive governments to teach the truth about the extensive complicity of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes and to punish local Nazi war criminals. Had the truth been admitted, there would be virtually no support in Lithuanian society for racism and anti-Semitism, but instead the government is spending hundreds of thousands of euros on falsifying the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania and seeking support for the lie that Communist crimes were just as terrible as those of the Nazis.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

November 25, 2010  
Wiesenthal Center Calls for Prosecution of Senior Lithuanian Ministry of Interior Specialist Who Denied the Holocaust;
Zuroff: Government-Sponsored Holocaust Distortion Paves the Way for Denial

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon the Lithuanian government to prosecute Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior senior specialist Petras Stankeras, who called the Holocaust a “legend” and denied the murder of six million Jews in an article he published in the November 14 issue of the news weekly Veidas. In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff , the Center welcomed Stankeras’ resignation today, but noted that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in Lithuania and urged the implementation of the law in this case for the first time ever.

According to Zuroff:

“As shocking as the article by Stankeras was, it is hardly surprising to see Holocaust denial in a popular mainstream publication, in a country in which the government itself is actively promoting Holocaust distortion by seeking to gain recognition that Communist crimes are equivalent to those of the Nazis. If we add the abysmal failure to punish a single Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator and the tendency to minimize or hide the role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews, Stankeras’ article is only the tip of a very dangerous iceberg of lies and distortion.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

October 18, 2010
 
Wiesenthal Center Harshly Criticizes Anti-Semitic Remarks of Lithuanian Foreign Minister

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sharply criticized comments made by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Andronius Ažubalis late last week at a meeting of the parliamentary faction of the Homeland Union and Christian Democratic parties. In a presentation regarding proposed legislation which would permit individuals of Lithuanian origin living elsewhere to obtain Lithuanian citizenship in addition to their current citizenship, the Foreign Minister claimed that the bill was being promoted primarily by “Jews who seek citizenship to press compensation claims against the state.” In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by its Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center categorized Ažubalis’ remarks as “unabashedly anti-Semitic and totally divorced from reality.”

According to Zuroff:
“The Foreign Minister’s outrageous comments expose the insidious duplicity of Lithuania’s attitude toward foreign Jews of Lithuanian origin. On the one hand, the government recently announced its intention to establish a “Litvak Forum” to enlist the support and assistance of overseas Jews, yet at the same time, one of its leading ministers openly expresses his disdain for the same people. The Center therefore fully supports the stance of Lithuania’s brave local Jewish community, which has openly demanded an apology from Minister Ažubalis, whose comments ‘sow discord between Lithuanians and Jews.’”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

July 19, 2010  
Wiesenthal Center Calls for Boycott of Newly-Formed “Litvak Forum”

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon Jews of Lithuanian descent (Litvaks”) the world over to boycott a new initiative announced late last week by Lithuanian Prime Ministry Andrius Kubilius to create a “Litvak heritage forum.” In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center accused the Lithuanian government of trying to enlist Jewish support for its ongoing campaigns of Holocaust distortion and promoting a false equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes.

According to Zuroff:
“The creation of a new “Litvak Forum” is merely the latest in a long line of Lithuanian governmental initiatives to promote a false narrative of the events of World War II, which minimizes the extensive role of local Nazi collaborators in the mass murder of Jews and promotes the canard that Communist crimes were equivalent to those of the Nazis. Such an initiative is the equivalent of forming an Armenian support group for Turkish efforts to deny the Armenian genocide.

“The Center will continue its efforts to thwart Lithuanian Holocaust distortion and is already in contact with the “Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel,” the world’s largest Litvak organization to ensure the failure of the latest governmental tactic to hide the truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania and to prevent naïve Litvaks from helping destroy their own historical legacy.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

May 20, 2010  
Wiesenthal Center: Yesterday’s Decision by Lithuanian Court to Allow Swastikas is Outrageous Insult to Holocaust Survivors and All Anti-Fascists

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today issued a strongly-worded protest against the decision yesterday by a Lithuanian court in the port city of Klaipeda to regard swastikas as symbols of Lithuania’s historical heritage rather than of Nazi Germany. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the decision “outrageous” and likely to lead to a tremendous increase in the use of Nazi symbols by Lithuania’s ultra-nationalist fascists.

According to Zuroff:

“Such a decision is certain to encourage Lithuania’s fascists to increase their activity throughout the country. Allowing the use of swastikas sends a clear message to those local residents harshly victimized by the Nazis, that they are no longer welcome in their country of birth. Once again, Lithuanian judges show their obvious bias in favor of the perpetrators of Holocaust crimes rather then their victims. We urge the Lithuanian courts to overturn this outrageous and contemptible decision as quickly as possible.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

March 22, 2010  
WIESENTHAL CENTER LAUDS CRITICISM BY NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR GIL OF RECENT NEO-NAZI MARCH IN VILNIUS

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised the critical comments made by Norwegian ambassador to Lithuania Steiner Gil regarding the failure of Lithuanian leaders and members of parliament to denounce a neo-Nazi march held earlier this month in the center of Vilnius. Ambassador Gil spoke at a seminar on “European and Lithuanian Values: Identical or Different?” held late last week in the Lithuanian Parliament. In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center labeled the march “a horrifying spectacle of hatred, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism which brings back memories of dark days in Vilnius.”

According to Zuroff:
“Such neo-Nazi demonstrations have no place in European society, which suffered unprecedented losses at the hands of the Nazis and their local collaborators. The fact that no public figure had the courage to speak out against this manifestation of lack of tolerance is a strong indication of the weak foundations of Lithuanian democracy. Ambassador Gil’s criticism should serve as a dire warning to Lithuanian society.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

July 13, 2009  
Wiesenthal Center Blasts Baltic Campaign to Equate Communism and Nazism; Calls for International Effort to Thwart Initiatives That Distort Holocaust History

Jerusalem – 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 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

December 11, 2008  
Hungary, Lithuania, Australia and Croatia Among Countries Given Failing Grades in Wiesenthal Center 2008 Annual Report on Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals
Jerusalem - The Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the full text of its seventh Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2007 until March 31, 2008 and awarded grades ranging from A (highest) to F to evaluate the efforts and results achieved by more than three dozen countries which were either the site of Nazi crimes or admitted Holocaust perpetrators after World War II.more...

November 16, 2008

 
Wiesenthal center denounces Lithuanian decision not to implement jail sentence for convicted Nazi criminal based on flawed medical examination
Vilnius – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today revealed that the recent decision by a Lithuanian court not to punish convicted Lithuanian Nazi war criminal Algimantas Dailide (number 9 on the Center’s “Most Wanted List”) was made on the basis of a medical “examination” at which he was not physically present. This fact emerged at a meeting held here late Friday between the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff and Special Prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevicius.

According to Zuroff:

“This is only the latest in a long series of farces produced by Lithuanian prosecutors and judges who are clearly incapable of punishing local Holocaust criminals. Despite the presence in Lithuania since independence of numerous Nazi war criminals, not a single one has ever been punished, a fact which clearly shows the total inability of Lithuanian society to face its bloody past of extensive participation in the mass murder of Jews. It is high time that the international community start paying attention to the serious judicial and educational failures of Lithuania.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

September 25, 2008

 
WIESENTHAL CENTER: CLOSURE OF FABRICATED CASE AGAINST DR. ARAD WELCOME BUT IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF THE FAR MORE SERIOUS PROBLEM OF LITHUANIAN HOLOCAUST DISTORTION AND OBFUSCATION
Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed a measure of relief that the fabricated case for war crimes against former Yad Vashem Chairman and Holocaust historian Dr. Yitzchak Arad was finally closed with no legal action taken, but warned that greater scrutiny was required to deal with what it termed “the far more serious problem of Lithuanian Holocaust distortion and blame deflection.” In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted its grave concern over the campaign being waged by the Lithuanian authorities to create a false symmetry between Nazi and Communist crimes as part of a deliberate effort to hide the scope and extent of Lithuanian criminality during the Holocaust.

According to Zuroff:
“The case against Dr. Arad is only the tip of an ugly iceberg created in Vilnius by government officials and institutions determined to hide the truth about the critical and extremely significant role played by local Nazi collaborators in the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry and the mass murder of Jews in Belarus and Poland. Thus the Lithuanians did everything possible to avoid prosecution of their own Nazi war criminals, and when pressured to prosecute the three cases brought to trial [Lileikis, Gimzauskas, and Dailide], made sure by devious legal tactics that none of the three would ever be punished, thereby reinforcing the myth propagated by the authorities that only a few local hooligans mistreated Jews. The latest campaign to prosecute Soviet anti-Nazi Jewish partisans was merely another link in this chain of historical duplicity and distortion. It’s high time that the truth about the Shoa will finally be told in Vilnius and the investigations of Jewish partisans Rachel Margolis and Fania Brantsovsky be closed as well.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

August 11, 2008

 
Wiesenthal Center to Lithuanian Ambassador: Ignoring Past and Present Anti-Semitism Paved the Way for Yesterday’s Vandalization of Vilnius Jewish Community
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today demanded prompt action from the Lithuanian government to identify and punish those responsible for the vandalization yesterday of the offices of the Jewish community in central Vilnius. In a letter sent today to the Lithuanian ambassador in Israel Mrs. Asta Skaisgiryté-Liauskienè, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, accused the Lithuanian authorities of failing to adequately respond to recent several anti-Semitic provocations as well as to protecting local Nazi war criminals from prosecution and instead harassing Jewish anti-Nazi Soviet partisans, all of which paved the way for yesterday’s attack on the Vilnius Jewish community

According to Zuroff:

“Given the woefully inadequate response by the government to the neo-Nazi march through the center of Vilnius less than half a year ago, I believe that the time has come for unequivocal, resolute and immediate action to identify and punish those responsible for this anti-Semitic attack.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence are the direct result of Lithuania’s failure to punish its Nazi collaborators, the recent campaign against Soviet Jewish partisans and the ongoing efforts to minimize the role of Lithuanians in the mass murder of their Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust. Today’s anti-Semitic violence is the direct result of ignoring the crimes of the past.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

May 28, 2008

 
Wiesenthal Center Protests Lithuanian Judicial Campaign to Discredit Jewish Heroes of anti-Nazi Resistance
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent an official protest to the Lithuanian authorities in the wake of a second investigation launched in Vilnius against a Jewish anti-Nazi partisan. In a strongly worded letter sent by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to the Lithuanian ambassador to Israel, the Center accused the Lithuanian judicial authorities of launching a campaign to discredit Jewish resistance fighters by falsely accusing them of war crimes in order to deflect attention from widespread Lithuanian participation in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

According to Zuroff:

“On May 5 and 13, 2008 plainclothes policemen came looking for Fania Brantsovsky, the librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, and Rachel Margolis in connection with an investigation against the former for supposed war crimes during World War II. The irony of such allegations is that on April 30, 2008 Fania Brantsovsky has just been honored by the American Embassy for “her struggles as a partisan fighting the Nazi occupiers.”

“If we add this investigation to the one currently being conducted by the Lithuanian authorities against former Yad Vashem Chairman and anti-Nazi partisan Dr. Yitzchak Arad, it is absolutely clear that a deliberate campaign is currently underway to discredit the brave Jewish heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance and help deflect attention from the infinitely more numerous crimes by Lithuanians against Jews during the Holocaust.

“I want to point out that we have every intention of exposing and responding to this malicious campaign against innocent heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance whose only “crime” was to fight against the occupiers of Lithuania who sought with the help of local collaborators to annihilate the Jewish people.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

April 6, 2008

 
Wiesenthal Center Congratulates Anti-Nazi Partisan Prof. Dov Levin for Returning Military Award to Lithuanian President; Calls Upon Other Honorees to Do Likewise
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center has congratulated Jerusalem Professor Dov Levin, who today returned a military honor he was awarded in 1993 for his activities as an anti-Nazi partisan by then Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas to current president Valdas Adamkus, to protest the recent decision of the Lithuanian special prosecutor to investigate fellow partisan Dr. Yitzchak Arad for participation in war crimes.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center praised Prof. Levin for taking “an unequivocal stand against the attempts by the Lithuanian judicial authorities to delegitimize the courageous struggle of the Soviet partisan movement against the Nazis and their numerous Lithuanian collaborators. This is merely another attempt by Lithuania to minimize or relativize the extensive participation by Lithuanians in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust,” said Zuroff, who urged other honorees to follow Levin’s example.

In his letter to President Adamkus, Prof. Levin explained why he took this unprecedented step:

“As a former comrade-in-arms of Dr. Arad, and as someone who has very closely followed the efforts of Lithuanian society to erase the guilt of Lithuanian complicity in Holocaust crimes, I want to strenuously protest the absolutely disgusting demand to extradite this Jewish hero to stand trial in Lithuania. Out of a sense of solidarity with Dr.Arad and deep disgust and anger at this despicable step, which attempts to delegitimize the courageous struggle of myself and my comrades against the Nazi invaders and their Lithuanian collaborators, I hereby return the certificate of honor whose contents have been rendered meaningless by the recent actions and events in Lithuania as explained above.


“In that context, I cannot refrain from mentioning my deep sense of shock and indignation at the recent demonstration by some two hundred neo-Nazis, who brazenly marched in the main streets of our beloved Vilna [Vilnius] shouting anti-Semitic slogans such as "Juden raus" under the protection of the local police, who stood by passively despite this blatant exhibition of incitement against Jews and Russians. And thus it is perhaps no coincidence that this disgusting anti-Semitic event took place not long after the insulting demand by the Lithuanian authorities to extradite our comrade Dr. Yitzchak Arad.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

6.04.2008

 
מרכז ויזנטל מברך את פרופ. דב לוין, פרטיזן שלחם נגד הנאצים, על השבת עיטור צבאי לנשיא ליטא; המרכז קורא למקבלי עיטור נוספים ללכת בעקבותיו
ירושלים - מרכז שמעון ויזנטל בירך היום את פרופ. דב לוין שהחזיר לנשיא ליטא ואלדאס אדאמקוס את אות הכבוד הצבאי שהוענק לו בשנת 1993 על ידי נשיא ליטא דאז, אלגירדאס בראזאוסקאס על מעשיו כפרטיזן שלחם בנאצים, במחאה על החלטת התובע המיוחד הליטאי לחקור את חברו לנשק, הפרטיזן דר' יצחק ארד על השתתפות בפשעי מלחמה.

דר' אפרים זורוף, מנהל מרכז ויזנטל בישראל וצייד-הנאצים הראשי של המרכז שיבח היום בירושלים את פרופ. לוין על ש"התייצב בתוקף נגד ניסיונות מערכת המשפט הליטאית להפוך את מאבק הפרטיזנים הסובייטיים נגד הנאצים ומשתפי הפעולה הליטאים ללא לגיטימי. זהו נסיון נוסף לגמד את השתתפותם הפעילה של ליטאים רבים ברצח יהודים במהלך השואה," אמר זורוף, שקרא למקבלי עיטור כבוד נוספים ללכת בעקבות פרופ. לוין.

פרופ. לוין הסביר במכתב לנשיא אדאמקוס מדוע החליט לנקוט בצעד תקדימי זה:

"כחבר לנשק של דר' ארד וכמי שעקב מקרוב אחר מאמצי החברה הליטאית לטשטש את אשמת המעורבות העמוקה של ליטאים בפשעי הנאצים, אני רוצה למחות בכל תוקף נגד הדרישה המתועבת בעליל להסגיר את הגיבור היהודי הזה לליטא כדי לעמוד לדין. מתוך תחושת סולידריות עם דר' ארד ותעוב וכעס עמוקים כלפי צעד מכוער זה, שמנסה לשלול את הלגיטימיות מהמאבק האמיץ שלי ושל חבריי לנשק נגד הפולשים הנאצים ועוזריהם הליטאים, אני מחזיר בזאת את אות הכבוד שאיבד את ערכו בשל צעדיה האחרונים של ליטא שהוזכרו לעיל.

"בהקשר זה, איני יכול להימנע מלהזכיר את זעזועי וזעמי על הפגנת מאות הניאו-נאצים שהתקיימה לאחרונה, בה הם צעדו במצח נחושה ברחובות הראשיים של וילנה האהובה שלנו, וקראו קריאות אנטישמיות כגון "יהודים החוצה" בעודם מאובטחים על ידי המשטרה המקומית, שלא התערבה למרות גילויי השיסוי הצעקניים נגד יהודים ורוסים. נראה שאין זה מקרה שהפגנה אנטישמית נוראה זו התאפשרה זמן קצר לאחר דרישת שלטונות ליטא מישראל להסגיר את חברנו יצחק ארד."

למידע נוסף נא להתקשר לטל. 7214156-050

www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com

March 18, 2008

 
Wiesenthal Center Criticizes Failure of Lithuanian Authorities to Prevent Neo-Nazi Anti-Semitic Demonstration in Vilnius and Demands Harsh Punishments for Participants
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the manner in which the Lithuanian authorities handled a demonstration held last Tuesday in the capital of Vilnius in which hundreds of neo-Nazis marched chanting anti-Semitic slogans in the city center.

In a letter sent by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff to the Lithuanian ambassador to Israel, the Center demanded that the demonstrators be punished as quickly as possible, noting that public opinion poll published today in Vilnius indicated widespread public support of the march, which clearly shows that Lithuanian society in acute need of a lesson about the dangers of Nazism.

According to Zuroff:

“The Wiesenthal Center would therefore request that you transmit to Vilnius not only the sense of shock and outrage felt by Jews the world over, but our demand that those responsible for this outrage be prosecuted and punished in an expeditious manner. I would also add that the failure of the police to respond to the march raises serious questions about the willingness of the Lithuanian authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent such cases in the future.

“In fact, based on the public opinion poll which appeared in today’s’ Lietuvos Rytas in which 32% of the respondents expressed approval for the anti-Semitic and racist slogans chanted by the neo-Nazi demonstrators and another 22% approved of the march, it appears that there is much work to be done in educating the Lithuanian public about the dangers posed by Nazism. But perhaps that is not surprising in a country in which not a single one of the numerous unprosecuted Lithuanian Nazi war criminals has ever been punished for his crimes.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156
www.operationlastchance.org www.wiesenthal.com


October 30, 2007

 
Wiesenthal Center’s Chief Nazi-Hunter Meets Chairman of Russian Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs to Discuss Cooperation in Combating Glorification of Nazism and Distortion of Holocaust History in Post-Communist Eastern Europe
Moscow – The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, today met in Moscow with Russian political leader Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Senate and President of the “European Democrat Group” in the Council of Europe to discuss practical cooperation in combating recent phenomenon of Holocaust distortion and the glorification of Nazi collaborators in post-Communist Eastern Europe. more...

September 6, 2007

 
For First Time Ever Lithuania Gets Failing Grade in Wiesenthal Center 2007 Annual Report on Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals
Jerusalem - The Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the full text of its sixth Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2006 until March 31, 2007 and awarded grades ranging from A (highest) to F to evaluate the efforts and results achieved by more than three dozen countries which were either the site of Nazi crimes or admitted Holocaust perpetrators after World War II. more...

April 26, 2007

 
WIESENTHAL CENTER EXPRESSES CONCERN REGARDING ANTI-SEMITIC COMMENT BY FORMER BASKETBALL STAR SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS AND WELCOMES HIS APOLOGY TO LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed its concern in the wake of an anti-Semitic comment made by Lithuanian former NBA star Sarunas Marciulionis in the course of an argument with a local Jew during the recent events marking the 85th anniversary of Lithuanian basketball. Marciulionis, who claims that he was insulted by Shabtai Kalmanovich , a member of the Kaunas Jewish community, reacted by saying that “There is no place for a Jew here [at the events marking the anniversary].” Although Marciulionis later claimed that he did not understand what was objectionable about his comment, he did subsequently apologize to the Jewish community.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff,
warned that public figures, and especially sports heroes, had to be particularly careful when expressing their displeasure. “Regardless of the nature of the dispute between them, there was absolutely no reason for Marciulionis to refer to the fact that Kalmanovich is Jewish and it is clear that he used the term in a pejorative manner. In Lithuania, where basketball is the most popular sport, and outstanding hoopsters are local heroes, such comments provide legitimacy for local anti-Semitism, which in the past played a role in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry and continues today, on a much smaller scale, to pose a problem in contemporary Lithuania. We therefore are pleased that Marciulionis apologized and urge him to show greater sensitivity to the problem of local anti-Semitism in the future,” said Zuroff.

For more information call: 00-972-50-7214156


March 27, 2006

 
Wiesenthal Center's Chief Nazi-Hunter Efraim Zuroff: Failure to Punish Dailide is Proof that Lithuania is Safest Haven in the World for Local Nazi War Criminals

The Simon Wiesenthal Center severely criticized the decision issued today by a Lithuanian court not to punish former Security Police operative Algimantas Dailide after it convicted him of actively participating in the persecution of innocent civilians – Jews and Poles – during the Holocaust.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center labeled the decision not to implement the verdict of 5 years imprisonment as one “which clearly shows that Lithuania is the safest haven in the world for a local Nazi war criminal and makes a mockery of the efforts to hold Nazi war criminals accountable.”

According to Zuroff:

“Once again Lithuania has proven that it is totally incapable of punishing its own Nazi war criminals. The Dailide case will now be added to those of Dailide's superiors in the Saugumas (Lithuanian Security Police) of the Vilnius district, Aleksandras Lileikis and Kazys Gimzauskas, who despite active participation in Nazi war crimes never sat a single minute in jail for their crimes, as unequivocal proof that Lithuania is totally incapable of honestly dealing with the complicity of its own nationals in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry. The reasons adduced for clemency in this case – his wife's health and his advanced age – ring utterly hollow in the case of a person who had no sympathy for his unfortunate victims.”

For more information call: 00-972-50-7214156


June 4, 2004  
Wiesenthal Center Rejects Dismissal Yesterday By Kaunas Prosecutor of Evidence It Submitted Implicating Lithuanian Basketball Players in Murder of Jews in Kaunas in July 1941

The Simon Wiesenthal Center totally and unequivocally rejected the dismissal yesterday by the prosecutor's office of the Kaunas District of evidence it had submitted to the Lithuanian Special Prosecutor for genocide cases regarding the participation of members of the Lithuanian national basketball team in the murder of Jews in the Seventh Fort in Kaunas in early July 1941.In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center insisted that the material presented clearly implicated the Lithuanian players and that yesterday's decision to clear all of them of any suspicion of involvement in crimes that they had clearly committed was “an unfortunate and hasty decision which reeks of misplaced political correctness.” The Center also noted that the statement issued by the prosecutor's office of the Kaunas district which referred to the testimony of Holocaust survivors and Holocaust victims as “literature” and “gossip,” is not only an affront to the memory of those murdered, but also in effect delegitimizes the accounts presented by the Holocaust's victims, which are undoubtedly among the most important sources of information on this terrible tragedy.

According to Zuroff, ”It is extremely unfortunate that once again Lithuanian prosecutors have failed to acknowledge important evidence from the Holocaust and have rushed to exonerate individuals who deserve to be condemned rather than cleared of any suspicion. In the light of the unpardonable and totally fallacious comments regarding the evidence of Holocaust survivors made by the Kaunas prosecutors, one can only wonder whether it is at all possible for a Lithuanian Nazi war criminal to be convicted of his or her crimes in Lithuania.”

For more information call: 972-51-214156

January 6, 2004  
Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Opening of Three Murder Investigations in Lithuania Based on Information Received Through “Operation: Last Chance”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center revealed today that it had received official confirmation from the Lithuanian Prosecutor-General’s Office that three new murder investigations have been initiated by the Lithuanian authorities based on information submitted to the Center in the framework of “Operation: Last Chance,” a joint project of the Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami, Florida, which offers financial rewards for information leading to the prosecution and punishment of Nazi war criminals. In a statement issued in Jerusalem by Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who coordinates the project, the Center welcomed the opening of the investigations but warned that unless the cases were given priority treatment, it was doubtful whether any of the guilty would actually be tried and punished for their crimes. more


24.11. 2003  
SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER SUBMITS NAMES OF TWELVE NEW “OPERATION: LAST CHANCE” SUSPECTS TO LITHUANIAN SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff today submitted the names of twelve Lithuanians suspected of murdering Jews during the Holocaust to Lithuanian Special Prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevicius and called upon the Lithuanian authorities to expedite their investigation of World War II cases. more...


21.07. 2003  
Wiesenthal Center’s “Operation: Last Chance” Completes First Year in Lithuania; Produces Names of 184 Lithuanian Suspects; 32 Names Submitted to Procurator-General for Formal Investigation

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today that it had received the names of one hundred eighty four suspects accused of participation in Holocaust crimes in Lithuania or as members of Lithuanian Security Police units outside the country during the initial year of its “Operation: Last Chance” project launched together with the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami in July 2002 in Vilnius. more...


8.04.2003  
WIESENTHAL CENTER ANNOUNCES RECEIPT OF NAMES OF 174 SUSPECTS IN LITHUANIA IN "OPERATION: LAST CHANCE;"WELCOMES OPENING OF ADDITIONAL INVESTIGATION BY LITHUANIAN PROSECUTORS AS A RESULT OF "O:LC"

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today in Vilnius that it had already received the names of 174 Lithuanians suspected of participation in the rimes of the Holocaust in the framework of its "Operation: Last Chance” launched in the Baltics exactly nine months ago.

The program, which is being sponsored by the Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami, Florida, offered a financial reward of $10,000 for information, which would lead to the conviction, and punishment of Holocaust perpetrators in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia featured large ads with graphic historical photos of the persecution and murder of Jews in these areas. more...


18.11. 2002  
WIESENTHAL CENTER AND “TARGUM SHLISHI” FOUNDATION LAUNCH INNOVATIVE AD CAMPAIGN AS SECOND STAGE OF “OPERATION: LAST CHANCE”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation have launched the second stage of their “Operation: Last Chance” campaign which offers financial rewards for information leading to the prosecution and punishment of Nazi war criminals in the Baltics, by initiating an innovative ad campaign which utilizes authentic Holocaust-era photos of Nazi atrocities to urge informants to supply the Center with incriminating information against local Holocaust perpetrators. The ads, which have already appeared in Lithuania and are slated to run in Latvia and Estonia during the coming two weeks, note the tragic fates of the Baltic Jewish communities and the role-played by local collaborators in their liquidation. more...