Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has urged to refrain from attempts to rewrite World War 2 history, especially as Holocaust remains an “open wound of Europe”.
“On his visit to Israel, March 1, 1995, President Algirdas Brazauskas apologised to the members of the Knesset for ‘those Lithuanians who mercilessly killed, shot, deported and plundered Jews’,” Skvernelis said in a statement on Friday.
“No legislative or other initiatives can change that. We are proud of the Lithuanian people who rescued Jews and we condemn those who were involved in their killings. We cannot forget the past and we cannot forgive. What is important now, however, is ensuring that it never happens again,” the statemenat read. Read more: What is the message behind Lithuanian president’s cancelled trip to Jerusalem?
“I call on everyone to refrain from any attempt to reinterpret the brutal consequences of World War 2 and the occupation regimes on the Lithuanian state and its citizens. It is particularly important to bear in mind as we speak about the suffering and the unbearable loss of the Jewish people,” the statement read.
On January 27, the world will mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
“The history of Holocaust suffering continues as an open wound of Europe. Lithuania went through this tragedy, too,” said Skvernelis.
The statement also pointed out that exactly two years ago, the Lithuanian government approved the definition of anti-Semitism as endorsed by the International Alliance of Holocaust Remembrance on May 26, 2016 in Bucharest.
“All the public authorities and the population have been recommended to take this definition into account in their activities,” the prime minister stated, adding that anti-Semitism has and can have no place in Lithuania and beyond.
The Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, has declared 2020 the year of Vilnius Gaon and the history of Lithuania’s Jews.
Lithuanian MP Arūnas Gumuliauskas, representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, voiced plans to initiate a resolution stating that the Lithuanian state and people did not take part in the Holocaust.