February 16 is Lithuanian independence day. Since 2008, an organization with openly pro-Nazi sympathies has used the date for its annual march through the city of Kaunas (Kovno). Efraim Zuroff writes:
Instead of celebrating Lithuania’s freedom from Soviet oppression, the Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth annually organizes a march through the center of the city which expresses enmity toward minorities and seeks to rewrite their country’s bloody Holocaust history by glorifying those who collaborated with the Nazis and actively participated in the mass murder of their Jewish fellow citizens.
The gathering place for the [march] is right across the street from the Lietukis garage, the site of a particularly appalling murder of dozens of Jewish men from Kaunas during the initial days of the Nazi occupation in late June 1941, which has become a symbol of the zealous participation of numerous Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes. . . .
Several hundred people participated in this march, with nary a word of protest from the official Jewish community or any of the embassies, including Israel. Perhaps it is the inertia engendered by repeated marches, perhaps it is a desire not to rock the boat, or a sense that in a country so busy rewriting the narrative of World War II and the Holocaust [in order] to hide the crimes of local collaborators and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes, what difference does a march like Monday’s really make? I beg to differ, however, since I believe that, despite Lithuania’s small size and population, the campaign that it has been pursuing so energetically has already reaped dangerous results, which ultimately threaten not only the country’s minorities but the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust as well. And both these issues represent a real and present danger.