The head of Yad Vashem called for an end to the “glorification of war criminals associated with the massacre of Jews” in an address to Lithuania’s parliament.
Dani Dayan, chairman of the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, was invited to address the Seimas in Vilnius to mark the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the city’s ghetto in 1943.
While Dayan praised the Seimas for its “gradual but substantial progress” regarding Holocaust remembrance, he sharply criticised the “national remembrance” of Lithuanians known to have colluded in the genocide.
In his speech Dayan said: “An antisemite, especially a murderer, cannot be considered ‘otherwise a good person’, let alone a hero. In addition to refraining from attributing public honour to such butchers, Lithuania must consistently acknowledge that many of the Lithuanian Jews massacred in the Holocaust died at the hands of their Lithuanian co-nationals, and that Lithuanians also took part in the extermination of Jews in neighbouring countries.”
He said. “Forgetfulness is an unacceptable educational option for your youth.”
He went on to name names, including other officers accused of war crimes but treated as heroes in Lithuania, saying: “We should show zero tolerance towards antisemitism, including in this chamber. That zero-tolerance policy must apply also towards glorification of war criminals associated with the massacre of Jews. Such names as Noreika, Skirpa and Krikstaponis do not add to the honour of your nation, nor to its adherence of international norms of appropriate national remembrance.”