Holocaust researchers: the public should be educated, not shocked

The publication The Holocaust in Nazi occupied Eastern and Western European states: research and memory was presented in the Kaunas President Valdas Adamkus library-museum. It features works of thirteen foreign scientists, among which there are recognised Holocaust history researchers, LRT.lt writes.

In the past few years, the historians note, discussions on the Holocaust and other painful topics continue in the public sphere. The scientists explain that the Holocaust is a difficult subject of academic research, but often turns into a tool for manipulation and information war.

“The most notable example of manipulation in recent times was namely Efraim Zuroff and Rūta Vanagaitė‘s project Mūsiškiai, which, I would say, had two key objectives. One was to antagonise people in Lithuania, raise doubts over certain facts, certain historical circumstances. The second thing they are currently doing abroad is to spread lies and untruths about Lithuania’s past and present,” the director of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania Ronaldas Račinskas said.

The publication The Holocaust in Nazi occupied Eastern and Western European states: research and memory contains the works of 13 authors, which include recognised Holocaust researchers from Lithuania and abroad. The works contain the genesis of the Holocaust, historical memory and other topics.

“The main goal that is currently not being upheld is to educate society, not shock it. We cannot jump into cold water without being prepared for it. The same applies to difficult historical topics. By taking certain facts out of context we will cause shock,” the deputy director for museum operations for the Kaunas IX fort Marius Pečiulis said.

“We want to present all the facts to the public without being selective about those that do not suit us, but taking and presenting all the facts we know and based on all the facts evaluate complicated historical processes,” R. Račinskas stated.

The chairman of the Kaunas Jewish community Gercas Žakas points out that people often operate based on hearsay and many overall have little interest, thus their opinions are easily formed by moods in overall public discourse.

“You know, minister of propaganda Goebbels once said that if you tell a person that the truth is a lie 10 times, they will believe it. If a person does not read historians’ conclusions, believes in some sort of charlatans who know very little, but have some sort of views, then of course they will believe in what they don’t want to,” Gercas Žakas stated.

The organisers say that the collection of academic texts is relevant not only for academia, but also broader society – students, schoolchildren, those interested in the history of the Second World War, the Jewish nation and the Holocaust.

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