In response to Ellen Cassedy's "We are here" (April 18), I offer a second opinion.
Can there be hope for a country that claimed the highest percentage of Jewish deaths in all of Europe? More than 95 percent ofLithuania'sJews were annihilated — most of them murdered by
Instead, the government is investing energy and funds into PR campaigns designed to sanitize Lithuania's tarnished image. Articles like Ms. Cassedy's, which praise the "cross-cultural" events held at the Lithuanian Embassy inWashington, D.C., and give stoic accounts about Holocaust education programs in Lithuania, are worked into the global mass media in order to mold a new face for Lithuania. But Lithuania's new face sculpted by her PR meisters lacks credibility.
Consider the following:
•Significant increases in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents. No arrests have been made.
•Annual massive neo-Nazi marches since 2008 in
•Not a single Lithuanian war criminal has been punished. It is documented that a minimum of 15,000 Lithuanians participated actively in murdering Jews.
•Government prosecutors have harassed aging Jewish survivors in Vilnius and Israel with charges of "war crimes" because they had fought against the
•The concept of a Double-Genocide is marketed ad nauseam. This is one step up the ladder from Holocaust Denial. The only genocide in Lithuania was
If there is hope for the future of Lithuania, there are few signs yet. While there are some outspoken individuals and a handful of Members of the Seimas (Parliament) who have stood up courageously against ultra-nationalist views — with the consequence of being ostracized publicly by political leaders — the government will have to demonstrate real sincerity and eradicate the charade it has been running. Perhaps instead of hiring PR firms, Lithuania ought to follow