Hook-Nosed Jew Image Embellishes Official Invitation to Lithuanian End-of-Winter Festival
Jews in Lithuania were outraged when the official invitation to an annual end-of-winter festival in the city of Naisiai included pictures of hook-nosed Jews, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the president of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, said that this kind of Nazi-reminiscent imagery has been increasing in the country.
“You can find it daily in the media,” she said.
Viki Lev, a Lithuanian immigrant to Israel, told Channel 2 that though the festival in question is supposed to be about driving off the winter, it has been characterized by an offensive portrayal of Jews. Some Lithuanians, she said, even claim that “the Jews are trying to steal our holiday.”
Lev added, “I wouldn’t want to raise a Jewish child in Lithuania today. I wouldn’t be able to explain to him what is happening. You can hear slogans there like, ‘Take a stick and beat a Jew.’”
Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon said, “We are slowly moving forward in the effort to take Jewish culture out of the darkness, but there is still a long way to go.”
Lithuania, historically home to a large and influential Jewish community — most of which was wiped out in the Holocaust, and the rest moved to Israel and North America — listed a mere 2,000 Jews in the country in 2005.
As the JTA reported last month, a new book on Lithuania’s role during the Holocaust has triggered a public debate in the country, prompting officials to promise to publish the names of those citizens complicit in the Nazi genocide. The best-seller, co-authored by Ruta Vanagaite and Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel director Efraim Zuroff, is called Musiskiai (“Our People”) and contains interviews with witnesses to atrocities perpetrated by Lithuanians against their Jewish neighbors during World War II.