Monday The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office released
a statement in which its director, Holocaust historian
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calls for an apology from the European
Union’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Vygaudas Ušackas,
for insensitive and misleading remarks on the Lithuanian
Holocaust in a Wall Street Journal article, published
on December 6th 2011.
In the piece entitled “My Long, Strange Journey to Afghanistan,” Ušackas categorized
the Nazi occupation of Lithuania 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.”
A letter of protest by Jack Zwanziger of Chicago appeared
in the WSJ on December 14th 2011.
A link to the press release
from the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office is on their
Ušackas was previously criticized
when he was Lithuania’s ambassador to London, after he
attempted to deflect the 2008 scandal over Lithuanian
police having come to look for two elderly women Holocaust
survivors in the absence of any specific charges or suspicions.
The Economist referred to the incident as a state effort
to ‘blame the victims’.
Later, as Lithuania’s foreign
minister, he was invited to give a speech at the Global
Forum on Antisemitism in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post
subsequently reported, that at the forum, he failed to
deal with any of the outstanding issues of Lithuanian
Ušackas did not respond to
the Algemeiner’s request for comment.