Lithuania moves toward Holocaust denial law to whitewash complicity in Nazi crimes

Following Poland’s lead, a Lithuanian lawmaker for the ruling party announced a draft bill to whitewash their complicity in Nazi crimes, declaring that neither Lithuania nor its leaders participated in the Holocaust.

Poland passed an outrageous Holocaust denial law that angered the United States and Israel last year and later removed parts that imposed jail terms on people who mention Poland’s active role in Nazi atrocities and make the use of phrases such as “Polish Death Camps” to refer to the Polish death camps, punishable.

The Polish legislation has encouraged other European nations like Lithuania—where Nazi complicity was both widespread and a major reason why about 95 percent of the country’s 250,000 Jews were wiped out—, to attempt to rewrite history and whitewash their own participation in the genocide.

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“The Lithuanian state did not participate in the Holocaust because it was occupied, just as the Lithuanian nation could not participate in the Holocaust because it was enslaved,” said the lawmaker, Arunas Gumuliauskas.

Thousands of Lithuanians volunteered to help implement the Final Solution, partially explaining why Lithuania had the highest murder rate of Jews in Europe (96.4 percent).

It is the only country in which collaboration in the mass murder of Jews by shooting was so widespread that a special term, žydsaudžiai (shooters of Jews), was coined for it.

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“The Lithuanians saw it worked for the Poles, so they also went ahead,” Rosa Bloch, a 91-year-old survivor of the Lithuanian Kovno ghetto said.

Amid rising far-right neo-Nazism across the continent, governments in multiple Eastern European countries now celebrate Nazi collaborators, including perpetrators of the Holocaust, as patriotic heroes.

Far-right Polish President Andrzej Duda said that he will boycott a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Polish death camp set for later this month in Israel.