Lithuania Holocaust memorial vandalised

The attack on the Ninth Fort memorial in Lithuania this week, the site of one of the Holocaust's biggest single massacres, has been condemned by the Lithuanian government.

At the site near the city of Kaunas, where almost 5,000 Jews were brought by train and executed in 1941, vandals drew swastikas on memorial plates and stole a granite marker bearing the Star of David.

An adviser to the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Virgis Valentinavicius, called the incident a "neo-Nazi provocation", adding: "It causes disgust and resentment that this was committed in the year Lithuania marks the Year of Holocaust. It's blasphemous, and such antisemitic manifestations are intolerable.

"Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius hopes law enforcement institutions will find the guilty and they will be punished."

It is a clear message of the implacable hatred in Lithuania for Jews

Emanuelis Zingeris, chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, also condemned the attack, adding that he hoped "Lithuanian society will do the same".

Efraim Zuroff, Israel Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, however, expressed his fear that Lithuania has still far to go to rid itself of its deeply-ingrained antisemitism.

He said: "This disgusting desecration of one of the most important sites of mass-murder in Lithuania is a clear message of the implacable hatred in Lithuania for Jews. It is high time Lithuanian students and children were taught about the role of their countrymen in the genocide of Lithuanian Jewry."

    Last updated: 4:04pm, April 28 2011