Monday, February 6th | 15 Shevat 5783

March 3, 2013 3:56 pm

A Counter-Question for the Lithuanian Journalist Artūras Račas

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avatar by Pinchos Fridberg

Image from one of the previous years' neo-Nazi marches on the main boulevard of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. The "Lithuanian swastika" has the added lines meant to signify a medieval national symbol of the country, now merged with the swastika in the practice of contemporary Lithuanian neo-Nazis. Photo: Vidmantas Balkunas.

On December 13, 2012, the Russian-language published my article “Instead of the Truth About the Holocaust — Myths About Saving Jews.” It was republished by a number of periodicals, and appeared also in Lithuanian and English. The article has also been republished on the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish community.

In it, I described how in the platform of the European Forum “United Europe – United History,” held last November at the Lithuanian parliament, the deputy director of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania and organizer of educational programs, Ms. Ingrida VilkienÄ—, presented as fact a myth about a certain Lithuanian family who had supposedly saved 43 (forty-three!) Jews “in a huge bunker, dug with their own hands, for three years.”

Instead of an immediate public apology for having provided unreliable information at an international conference on this subject, thus closing the matter, the Commission started looking for a way to discredit me personally.

But what for? I only meticulously repeated the contents of Ms. VilkienÄ—’s speech. One can easily confirm this by listening to the mp3 file. The only thing I can really be “corrected” on is the understatement of the size of the bunker. In fact, it was not just huge, it was, in the deputy director’s speech to the international conference “huge-huge” (Lithuanian: didžiulį didžiulį!).

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I am convinced that further escalation of the issue in the press will cause irreparable damage to the image of Lithuania. And the blame for this will fall on those who are trying to defend the “honor of the regime” by any means.

There are unique documents in my possession, including four DVD discs with video recordings of all the Forum meetings. They make it easy to confirm the accuracy of all the quotes. The exact same discs were sent to the European Commission as a record of the event. Before writing the article, “Instead of the Truth …” I made a thorough investigation. As in a well-known Russian tale “The Turnip” (“the dog pulls the granddaughter, the granddaughter pulls the grandmother, the grandmother pulls the grandfather, grandfather pulls the turnip …”), I found the phone numbers and moved along the chain. I can confirm every word of mine.

I repeat for the last time: there never ever existed a Lithuanian family which “had saved 43 (forty-three!) Jews in a huge bunker, dug with their own hands, for three years.” This is what I said earlier. Only a court trial can determine whether there are traces of slander in my statement (as has been implied in some published responses). I bear no responsibility for the ensuing nonsense my statement provoked and the spam being sent around to the media.

On February 10th, two months after my article “Instead of the Truth …” was published — an open letter from a history teacher, Ms. Bucevičė, appeared. lt, accompanied by a commentary with a very characteristic title: “Most Charming Jewish ‘Professors,’ Your Anti-Semitism Has Already Driven Everyone Up the Wall: Dedicated to Pinchos Fridberg.” All the quotations here and below are translated from Lithuanian. The story of the letter’s publication is described in my article, “Chronicle of the Provocation in Pictures” (in English).

Let me quote the last paragraph of this article: “I cannot provide the photo for this comment, as the settings of my camera do not reproduce vulgar vocabulary.”

I would never stoop to reply to the author of the above mentioned opus, if I had not learned by accident that that blogger, Arturas Račas, was not just a journalist, but also the head of the Baltic News Service — BNS. This is why I simply have to cite the samples of his language.

About Efraim Zuroff Mr. Račas has this to say: “If Israel was really concerned about reconciliation and good relations, E. Zuroff must have been in jail alongside ‘Hezbollah’ terrorists long ago. For life, and without the right to pardon.”

About me: “Listen, dear Pinchos, who calls himself a ‘professor.’ My first question to you would be very simple: how many Jews did you save during the Holocaust? My guess would be as follows: zero. Therefore, my answer to the three questions posed by you (see “Instead of the Truth …”) is very simple: stick a gag in your mouth, get under the table, and shut up. Because you have no right to moralize and count the saved heads. ”

After such a proposal, the “professor” (the quotation marks belong to the author of the comment) comes up with a counter question: “How many Jews during the Holocaust did your grandfather save, Mr. Račas?”

PS: I always try to stick to the principle of the presumption of innocence. Therefore in my question the word “save” doesn’t have any quotation marks.

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