Mantas Adomėnas, one of the authors of the respective draft parliamentary resolution, says that recent events have shown that the Holocaust remains a very sensitive issue in Lithuania and the only way to prevent speculations about alleged anti-Semitism is through open public discussion on this topic.
“The scandal of recent days over Lithuanian partisans has revealed that this is a sensitive topic and that there is a lot of room for unscrupulous people to cynically gain cheap popularity for themselves,” Adomėnas told BNS.
“It seems to me that the only way out of this situation is an open, very principled, very in-depth discussion so that no hushed-up, uncomfortable questions are left unanswered,” he said.
The draft resolution underlines the need for the Lithuanian state and society to take an unambiguous stance on the Holocaust tragedy and emphasizes that the Jews “have been an integral part of our society since as far back as the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania”.
The draft document calls for setting up a special commission and earmarking budget funds for events marking the proposed Year of Lithuanian Jews.
Public discussions about the Holocaust have intensified in the country after Rūta Vanagaitė, a writer and public relations specialist, said that, based on KGB documents, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, a Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance commander, “is no hero”. Her partner, Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has said that Ramanauskas-Vanagas could be linked to the Holocaust.
Lithuanian historians say that publicly available medical certificates leave no doubt that Ramanauskas-Vanagas was brutally tortured by Soviet officials and that there is no evidence that he was ever involved in the Holocaust.
The Seimas plans to designate 2018 as the year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas to mark his 100th birth anniversary.