Auschwitz is the best place to pay homage to victims of the Nazi death camp, the Lithuanian parliamentary speaker, who is going to a major Holocaust commemoration event in Jerusalem instead of President Gitanas Nauseda, said on Wednesday.
“We are building bridges between these countries as well, representing (Lithuania) both Israel and in Auschwitz-Birkenau,” Viktoras Pranckietis told the Ziniu Radijas radio station.
“It should probably be noted that the Nazi camp in Poland’s territory is where people actually died, and the event in Jerusalem is a commemoration,” the speaker of the Seimas said.
“The place where people died is where the greatest respect should be paid,” he added.
Pranckietis is leaving for Israel on Wednesday after the president cancelled his trip to the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem.
Nauseda’s office said in a press release on Tuesday that the president would instead attend the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland on January 27.
The announcement came as a last-minute reversal of the president’s earlier plan to attend the ceremony in Jerusalem.
Nauseda follows the lead of his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, who has declined the invitation to the Jerusalem forum because he was not invited to speak at the event, unlike Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A delegation of the Seimas will also attend the commemoration event at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, according to Pranckietis.
“Lithuania will be represented at a very high level at the commemoration in Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is nice,” he told the radio station.