Lithuania’s Hunt for Jewish “War Criminals” Who Fought the Nazis

In 1998, Lithuania established a commission to investigate local collaboration with the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, who successively occupied the country during World War II. But rather than searching out the numerous Lithuanians who aided the SS in murdering Jews, the commission turned against one of its own participants—the eminent Israeli Holocaust historian Yitzhak Arad, who fought the Germans as part of a pro-Soviet partisan unit. Daniel Brook writes:

On April 22, 2006, Respublika, an openly anti-Semitic newspaper that is one of Lithuania’s highest-circulation dailies, published a story headlined, “The Expert with Blood on His Hands.” The article used passages of Arad’s memoir, The Partisan, published in English in 1979, to smear him. In the Respublika article, what Arad’s memoir terms a 1944 “mopping-up operation” against “armed Lithuanians” after the Nazi withdrawal becomes an “ethnic cleansing of Lithuanians” that was part of a larger “Soviet genocide.” Arad, who was a teenager during the Holocaust, is referred to as an “NKVD storm trooper.”

The anti-Communist convictions that are evident throughout Arad’s book—his recounting of how Stalin crushed the organized Jewish community of Lithuania during the annexation of 1940 [and] his description of his hometown’s market turned scraggly and abandoned in the fallout from disastrous Communist economic policies—go unmentioned. As for the defection of this supposedly rabid Communist from Soviet Lithuania, the article seems genuinely puzzled: “It is not evident why, but right after the war Y. Arad decided to run to the West.”

Read more at Slate

More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Lithuania, Nazis, Resistance, Soviet Union

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas