Once Again, Neo-Nazis Publicly March through the Streets of Lithuania

Feb. 20 2015

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.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Eastern Europe, Holocaust, Lithuania, neo-Nazis, Politics & Current Affairs

On Thanksgiving, Remember the Exodus from Egypt

Nov. 27 2020

When asked to design a Great Seal of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses at the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, while Thomas Jefferson suggested the children of Israel in the wilderness after departing Egypt. These proposals, writes Ed Simon, tapped into a venerable American tradition:

The Puritans from whom Franklin descended had been comparing their own arrival in the New World with the story of Exodus for more than a century. They were inheritors of a profoundly Judaic vision, melding the stories of the Hebrew scripture with their own narratives and experiences. . . .

For the Puritans, Exodus was arguably a model for understanding their own lives and history in a manner more all-encompassing and totalizing than for any other historical religious group, with the obvious exception of the Jews. . . . American Puritans and pilgrims like John Mather, John Winthrop, John Cotton, . . . and many others placed the Exodus at the center of their vision, seeing their own fleeing from an oppressive England and a Europe wracked by the Thirty Years’ War to an American “Errand Into the Wilderness” as a modern version of the Israelites’ escape into Canaan. . . . [Thus the] Exodus . . . has become indispensable in comprehending the wider American experience. Through the Puritans, the story of Exodus became a motivating script for all manner of American stories. . . .

We read its significance and prophetic power in accounts of slaves who escaped the cruelty of antebellum plantation servitude, and who crossed the Ohio River as if it were the Sea of Reeds. . . . We see it in photographs of the oppressed escaping pogroms and persecution in the Old World, and in the stories of later generations of refugees. Exodus is an indispensably Jewish story, but what more appropriate day than Thanksgiving, this most American and Puritan (and “Jewish”?) of holidays, to consider the role that that particular biblical narrative has had in defining America’s civil religion?

Read more at Tablet

More about: American founding, American Religion, Exodus, History & Ideas, Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson