ICAN Applauds Yad Vashem Chairman’s Call to End State-Sponsored Holocaust Distortion

ICAN Applauds Yad Vashem Chairman’s Call to End State-Sponsored Holocaust Distortion

September 21, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) strongly supports remarks made during a recent address by Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan to the Lithuanian Parliament. Dayan’s statements mark a pivotal moment in the ongoing fight against state-sponsored Holocaust distortion and highlight the imperative for accurate and respectful historical remembrance.

“We should show zero-tolerance towards antisemitism, including in this chamber. That zero-tolerance policy must apply also towards glorification of war criminals associated with the massacre of Jews. Such names as Noreika, Skirpa, and Krikštaponis do not add to the honor of your nation, nor to its adherence of international norms of appropriate national remembrance.” – Excerpt from Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan’s Speech.

Dayan’s mention of Jonas Noreika in his address is particularly noteworthy as it points to ICAN’s close collaboration with Silvia Foti, the granddaughter of Noreika. Silvia Foti has been instrumental in revealing the complex history of her grandfather’s actions during the Holocaust, and in this endeavor, she has directly engaged with Grant Gochin, a descendant of one of her grandfather’s victims. Their groundbreaking research challenges the glorification of figures like Noreika and directly supports ICAN’s advocacy efforts to combat state-sponsored Holocaust distortion.

ICAN’s Continued Advocacy in Combating Holocaust Distortion:

  • Policy Engagement: ICAN actively collaborates with international bodies and officials to address issues of Holocaust distortion through policy-making and diplomacy.
  • Educational Initiatives: We are committed to raising awareness about the dangers of Holocaust distortion through educational programs and campaigns.
  • Multi-Channel Communication: Utilizing various platforms, ICAN disseminates information and engages with the public to counter Holocaust distortion effectively.
  • 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.

“Lithuanian history during the Holocaust indeed contained admirable rescuers. I myself, together with the Prime Minister, bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on several of those heroes and heroines, here in Vilnius last year, through their descendants.

But Lithuanian history during the Holocaust also included vile perpetrators. And of course, many bystanders. All of them must be remembered – accurately, proportionally and in context.

That is precisely why the ongoing efforts to promote accurate Holocaust research, documentation, education, and commemoration are so essential. In this respect, Yad Vashem pledges to continue working together with Lithuania to accelerate the process and make it more comprehensive.” – Excerpt from Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan’s Speech.

We commend the work of Yad Vashem, Chairman Dayan, and the many other organizations and individuals who have been pivotal in highlighting and addressing Holocaust distortion. A very special mention goes to Ruta Vanagaite and Efraim Zuroff, whose relentless efforts have shed light on the intricacies of Holocaust denial and distortion. Their work serves as a beacon for organizations like ICAN, guiding our advocacy for historical accuracy and remembrance.

While ICAN recognizes that some progress has been made, we strongly urge all stakeholders, including governments at all levels, to intensify their efforts in addressing state-sponsored Holocaust distortion. 

Call to Action: Update Holocaust Education Curricula

As we reflect on the importance of accurate historical remembrance, ICAN strongly encourages educational institutions to update their Holocaust education curricula. It is crucial to include information about contemporary issues such as state-sponsored Holocaust denial and distortion. By doing so, we can equip future generations with the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to recognize and combat these forms of misinformation, thereby honoring the memory of the Holocaust victims and ensuring that history is not repeated.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.