Ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden protest Antisemitism in Lithuania; Red-Equals-Brown Movement is Noted



BNS reported today that the Vilnius-based ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have written in no uncertain terms to the president and other major officials of Lithuania to express concern over the growing manifestations of antisemitism.

Two of the signatories confirmed privately to Defending History that the initiative had come from British ambassador HE Simon Butt, who also drafted the letter. Ambassador Butt had in 2008 organized a letter in moral support of Dr. Rachel Margolis, a walk through the Vilna Ghetto with Ms. Fania Brantsovsky, and had, together with other senior Western diplomats stationed in Vilnius, visited the decaying Jewish partisan fort in the forest.

“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”

Excerpt from a letter to the president of Lithuania from the ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, 25 November 2010

Going beyond the current Stankeras Affair, which entailed the publication of Holocaust Denial in a mainstream publication by a noted historian this week, and the rather incredible explanation by the editor that followed, the seven ambassadors made public reference to the legalization of public swastika displays by a court in Klaipeda, Lithuania, last May (reports here and here). For some reason, there had been for some months a reluctance in the international community to address the court ruling, which caused significant pain to Holocaust Survivors and to minorities in the region today and which continues to lend support to neo-Nazi efforts throughout the region.

Moreover, today’s letter, as described by BNS, represents a historic first in its open challenge to the Double Genocide movement which seeks to rewrite World War II history into a tale of two equal genocides, thereby obfuscating the Holocaust and underpinning far-right racist movements in Europe. The letter contains the following language:

“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”

Poland’s  ambassador to Vilnius, HE Janusz Skolomowski, issued a separate public letter on 25 November, which  contained the language:

“What is particularly painful is that the statements that deny the historical character of the Holocaust are formulated in our part of Europe, which witnessed the tragedy. Responsibility for the spread of truth about the historical legacy, which we communicate to other generations, requires a higher degree of wisdom in discussing the topic in the press.”

—HE Janusz Skolomowski, Ambassador of Poland

Hopefully, the new found political will now extend to unambiguous opposition to the Prague Declaration and related European Parliament legislation, and to attempts to insinuate Double Genocide language into OSCE and Stockholm Programme resolutions.

It is also hoped that the nearly forgotten fate of Dr Rachel Margolis, one of the heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance smeared by prosecutors and other elitist elements in Lithuania, will make its way back to the table. Dr Margolis, in Rechovot, Israel, feels unable to return to Lithuania while the ‘investigation’ against her is not closed. The English edition of her book of memoirs appeared this year in Boston. She is internationally renowned for her rediscovery and publication of the diary of Christian Polish journalist Kazimierz Sakowicz, who was a witness to many of the Ponár murders and pinpointed the vast majority of the killers as local nationalist forces.

Dr Margolis told DefendingHistory.com today that she wished to express her thanks for the kind greetings recently received from the ambassadors of France and Norway, expressing good wishes on her 89th birthday last month.

Today is the 935th day since police came looking for Dr Margolis and Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky. Since then, the women, repeatedly defamed by Lithuanian prosecutors and media, have been neither charged nor cleared. It is widely thought that the ‘investigations’ are part of the state-sponsored effort to rewrite World War II history by generating a bogus paper trail of ‘equal investigation’.

The issue will soon be aired on a BBC World Service programme recently recorded in Vilnius by Wendy Robbins [update of 1 Dec. 2010: available here].

Vilnius diplomats told Defending History in not-for-attribution interviews that they were shocked the United States embassy had neither signed the British-initiated ambassadors’ letter nor written separately in the spirit of Poland’s ambassador.

This entry was posted in Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States. Bookmark the permalink.
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