ICAN Addresses the Lithuanian Govt Decision on the Krikštaponis Monument
August 20, 2023
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) responds to the recent decision by the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Centre (LGGRTC) – an official agency of the Lithuanian government – concerning the monument in Ukmergė dedicated to Holocaust criminal Juozas Krikštaponis.
LGGRTC has proposed a solution to the ongoing debate surrounding the monument, suggesting that the memorial stone remains in place but with the removal of the partisan’s bas-relief and inscriptions. A new commemorative plaque is proposed to be added, dedicated to all partisans of the Vytis Brigade. This monument has become the first focal point in the broader debate about the threat of state-sponsored Holocaust distortion.
“The recent decision by Lithuania’s Genocide Center reflects ICAN’s ability to effectively confront Holocaust distortion through policy-making and international diplomacy,” stated Dillon Hosier, ICAN CEO. “We recognize the steps taken but emphasize that much more needs to be done in Lithuania.”
ICAN’s Continued Advocacy in Lithuania:
- NATO 2023 Travel Advisory: Ahead of the NATO Summit 2023 in Vilnius, ICAN issued a travel advisory, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and respecting sensitive historical sites linked to the Holocaust.
- EU Ambassador Campaign: ICAN spearheaded a grassroots campaign urging the EU Ambassador to the United States to press Lithuania to enact measures countering Holocaust distortion.
- Ongoing Campaign for Commission Action: ICAN is actively running a campaign urging the newly formed commission to take decisive action, particularly in clear-cut cases like that of Jonas Noreika. We believe that addressing such cases will set a precedent for a more accurate representation of history.
- Washington DC Delegation: ICAN facilitated meetings between Members of Congress and a delegation led by Silvia Foti, author of “Storm in the Land of Rain,” and Holocaust education advocate Grant Gochin. These interactions aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of Holocaust distortion.
Holocaust distortion seeks to downplay, trivialize, or deny the extent of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust or to shift blame away from the true perpetrators. State-sponsored Holocaust distortion refers to endorsing or promoting such misrepresentations by official entities or governments. This form of distortion not only disrespects the memory of the victims but also poses a significant threat to historical truth and understanding.
It is important to acknowledge the work of Efraim Zuroff and Ruta Vanagaite, which has been pivotal in highlighting and addressing Holocaust distortion. Their relentless efforts have shed light on the intricacies of Holocaust denial and distortion, especially in regions where these issues are deeply entrenched. Their collaborative work, combining Zuroff’s extensive research and Vanagaite’s narrative, has been instrumental in raising global awareness. Their work and dedication serve as a beacon for organizations like ICAN, guiding our advocacy for historical accuracy and remembrance.
Further, ICAN acknowledges the recent law signed by the Lithuanian President, which establishes a commission dedicated to evaluating the removal of controversial statutes. This act demonstrates a first step to addressing the contentious issues surrounding historical monuments in Lithuania and their significance in the context of ongoing Holocaust distortion.
While ICAN recognizes that some progress has been made, we strongly urge the Lithuanian government to intensify its efforts in addressing state-sponsored Holocaust distortion. Specifically, we repeat our call for the immediate revocation of honors attributed to known Holocaust criminals like Jonas Noreika.
The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is dedicated to empowering Israeli immigrants and American allies to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education and civic action. Learn more at IsraelUSA.org.