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January 5, 2012 11:35 am

EU Ambassador To Afghanistan Refers To Nazi Rule As ‘Respite’

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Vygaudas UÅ¡ackas. Photo by Johannes Jansson.

On Monday The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office released a statement in which its director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, calls for an apology from the European Union’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Vygaudas UÅ¡ackas, for insensitive and misleading remarks on the Lithuanian Holocaust in a Wall Street Journal article, published on December 6th 2011.

In the piece entitled “My Long, Strange Journey to Afghanistan,” UÅ¡ackas categorized the Nazi occupation of Lithuania during which over 96% of the country’s Jewish community was murdered, in many cases by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators, as “a respite from the Communists while the Nazis were in control.” A letter of protest by Jack Zwanziger of Chicago appeared in the WSJ on December 14th 2011.

A link to the press release from the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office is on their website.

UÅ¡ackas was previously criticized when he was Lithuania’s ambassador to London, after he attempted to deflect the 2008 scandal over Lithuanian police having come to look for two elderly women Holocaust survivors in the absence of any specific charges or suspicions. The Economist referred to the incident as a state effort to ‘blame the victims’.

Later, as Lithuania’s foreign minister, he was invited to give a speech at the Global Forum on Antisemitism in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post subsequently reported, that at the forum,  he failed to deal with any of the outstanding issues of Lithuanian antisemitism.

UÅ¡ackas did not respond to the Algemeiner’s request for comment.

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  • Robert Smith

    ”however, it seems odd that most jewish writers cannot recognize the fact that other individuals and other nations have suffered and endured similar tragedies”.

    It’s not ”odd”. Its disgraceful and sickening. The constant pushing of Jewish suffering over and above the suffering of anyone else is infuriating.

  • Alan Bacanskas

    Everyone in the world (besides Ahmadinijan) recognizes the great tragedy of the Holocaust and the suffering that was endured by the Jewish people, however, it seems odd
    that most jewish writers cannot recognize the fact that
    other individuals and other nations have suffered and endured similar tragedies. The Baltic nations, as well as Russians themselves, can attest to the inhuman cruelty of the Stalinist regime.

  • Donatas Januta


    Somehow my comment got jumbled. Let me send it to you again:

    The prominent Israeli historian, Dov Levin, himself a Holocaust survivor, who has written extensively about the Holocaust in Eastern Europe including Lithuania, in his exhaustive stucy “The Lesser of Two Evils”, concluded that the Soviets and Nazis were both evil, but that as far as Jews were concerned, the Soviets were the lesser evil. UÅ¡ackas, consistent with Dov Levin’s study, merely stated that for gentiles in LIthuania it was the Soviets who were the greater evil of the two. By asking, in effect, that UÅ¡ackas take back what he said, Efraim Zuroff seeks to deny the historical fact of Lithuanians’ tragedy under the Soviets.