Moscow has shown solidarity with the European Union’s rebuff to the recent news
article that appeared in Lithuanian press.
In a recent newsbyte the publication had termed the Holocaust
as ‘legend’ and the Nuremberg war crime trials as ‘farcical’.
Moscow has openly condemned such statements and expressed
serious reservations about the news of former SS members
conducting annual marches in some countries.
Clearing its position on such
sensitive issues, Russia congratulated the EU ambassadors
in Lithuania for taking a tough stand against the article
published in the Veidass weekly magazine.
“We are glad to hear that
finally our partners have responded to mass media publications
in Lithuania and other Baltic countries that have whitewashed
Nazi criminals. Russia calls for the counteracting of
unscrupulous attempts to rewrite the history of World
War II and encourage pro-Nazi supporters”, according
to ITAR TASS. “This encroaches upon the memory of those
who died during WWII and humiliated the feelings of WWII
veterans, the statement added.
“There is no doubt that the
Nuremberg Tribunal is a leading political and judicial
achievement of the epoch”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov had said on November 21, at the opening ceremony
of Nuremberg Trials Museum. Lithuania, apparently don’t
agree with Russia’s viewpoint.
“There is no other explanation
for annual marches of former SS members in a number of
European capital cities, prosecution of anti-fascist
veterans or recognition of the swastika by a court as
part of the cultural heritage of the Balts, Lavrov concluded.
Professor Dovid Katz of the
World Without Nazism Movement thinks that Holocaust denial
in the Baltic States is politically motivated.
“It’s a sort of by-product
of a much wider problem that I call ‘Holocaust obfuscation’
– the movement in the Baltic states that does not deny
the Holocaust, but tries to write it out of history,
minimize it, trivialize it, relativize it,” said Katz.
“Its intellectuals, politicians,
academics, media people, who are ultranationalists, don’t
want any stain on their history. And are confusing it
with current political issues, trying to use Holocaust
issues in East-West relations as a stick against today’s
Russia”, he added.
Efraim Zuroff, Head of the
Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California thinks
that the EU has to stand up against distortion of History.
“I think that this is an outgrowth
of an atmosphere in Lithuania in which the narrative
of the history of the WWII is being consistently distorted.
I think it’s high time that the countries of Europe,
the countries of the world, of the civilized world make
clear to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and these other
post-communist countries that the attempt to distort
the history of the Holocaust will not be tolerated, the
attempt to equate communist and Nazi crimes will not
“You cannot say and you can’t
minimize the role of the Soviet Union in the victory
over Nazi Germany and you can’t try and claim that the
people that liberated Auschwitz were just as responsible
for its establishment and the mass murder that went on
there, he said.
Professor Katz though agrees
that Soviet communists committed horrific crimes against
humanity, says that the Russian people were the first
victims of communists’ atrocity.
“It was not a war of ethnic
destruction, murder, genocide, annihilation of the people.
The two are very different. And I think that the nations
of the world have to be steadfast in not allowing the
Holocaust obfuscation that’s now emanating from Eastern
Europe to succeed”, he observes.