Alfredas Rukšėnas, a specialist at the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, said that the number of genocide perpetrators could be calculated very roughly.
“Shooters of Jews should include all participants of the operations, even if they did not pull the trigger but facilitated the operations,” Rukšėnas said at a discussion at the parliament (Seimas) on Monday.
In his words, the battalions that conducted the genocide are known, but establishing individual people or contributions is a difficult task.
Rukšėnas said that the rough number of Lithuanians involved in the shooting of Jews may be around 6,000 people.
He also noted that it was not Lithuanians who initiated genocide as a process, as this was a task handed down by the occupying administration.
Emanuelis Zingeris, the chairman of the International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Nazi and Soviet Regimes in Lithuania, noted that this year marked 75 years since the start of the mass massacre of the local Jewish community in Lithuania.
“The larger part of the Jews of Lithuania – more than 60 percent – perished in the first six months,” he added.
Algis Gurevičius, the director of the Centre of Jewish Culture and Information, stressed the risk of the entire Lithuanian nation being dubbed as shooters of Jews if the country does not conduct the probe into the perpetrators of the Jewish genocide.
The discussion, Questions and Answers after 75 Years: Numbers of Perpetrators of Jewish Genocide, was organized by the parliamentary group For Historic Memory and Justice and the Alumni society of the Vilnius University‘s History Faculty in partnership with the International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Nazi and Soviet Regimes in Lithuania.
The Nazis annihilated about 90 percent of Lithuania’s pre-war Jewish community of over 200,000 during World War II, often assisted by local Lithuanian collaborators. Around 8,000 Jews were rescued and about the same number managed to flee to the Soviet Union. About 3,000 Jews currently live in Lithuania.