puppet prime minister installed in Lithuania during the
Nazi occupation is to be commemorated in the capital
this week, and reinterred with full honours.
The remains of Juozas Ambrazevicius will be returned from the US to Vilnius for
a ceremony this weekend, before being reinterred in Kaunas,
in central Lithuania.
Mr Ambrazevicius became prime
minister in June 1941, after the Nazi invasion, but was
removed just two months later after the government was
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s
Holocaust historian Efraim Zuroff said the Lithuanian
government had tried to distance themselves from the
ceremony. “But we now understand the government has paid
for the transportation of the remains,” he added.
The former professor of Yiddish
Studies at Vilnius University, Dovid Katz, now editor
of website Defending History, said: “Jewish people in
Lithuania, who have excellent relations with Lithuanian
neighbours and friends, are in a state of shock that
the government and parliament could do this to them:
financing the reburial with full honours.
“The duplicitous policy of
honouring the victims, for the consumption of naive Jewish
foreigners, as well as the perpetrators, to satisfy the
local antisemitic far right base, is just not on.”
Mr Ambrazevicius — who died
in the US in 1974 — has been linked to the establishment
of the Kovna ghetto to imprison Kaunas’s Jews, and to
the setting up of a concentration camp.