The JC Leader: Dark histories...role reversal

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, March 31 2017

March 31, 2017 10:54

Dark histories

This week we report how Lithuania’s Genocide and Resistance Centre has been accused of distorting the country’s wartime treatment of its Jewish population. Two weeks ago we revealed that Ukraine’s Special Representative for preventing and combating antisemitism has been accused of bending the history of the Holocaust. And every year we report on marches in Latvia and Lithuania that honour Nazis and their collaborators.

The postwar Communist history of the Baltics and Eastern Europe certainly adds a complicating dimension to their concepts of liberation and oppression. But there are certain absolutes — one of which is the role of the Nazis and their collaborators. The Lithuanian centre, for example, depicts two wartime leaders, Jonas Noreika and Kazys Skrps, as heroes. But Noreika took part in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews, ordering their shooting, and Skrpa led a provisional government under which more than 5,000 Jews were murdered.

It is a depressing thought that, over 70 years after the war, there are some nations in Europe that have not even come close to dealing with their own dark histories.

Role reversal

Imagine there was a Jewish politician who attacked a university for being a “Muslim outpost”. Imagine her words had been condemned by the Home Affairs Select Committee for smacking of “outright racism”.

Imagine further that she was then awarded a Good Citizenship prize by a leading Jewish communal body.

You hardly need to imagine the reaction. Nor do you have to imagine any of it — just to reverse the roles, because that is how Malia Bouattia has been honoured. It is almost as if antisemitic words carry no penalty.

March 31, 2017 10:54

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