Never Again?

Never Again!” This defiant cry has become our post-Holocaust go-to slogan of survival and I have absolutely no doubt that this time we mean it.
But what does it actually mean? Having been forced into the corrupting waters of the Lithuanian holocaust I have had to give this matter some thought.
Pivotally, of course, ‘Never Again!’ means that from now on we fight back. We are no longer weak. We are no longer fearful. Genocidalists and Amelek, beware!
But what else? What other injuries to the Jewish People come into ‘Never Again!’ territory? I would suggest one other thing; the junior partner of Genocide, its bellringer and enabler, the de-humanisation of the Jew.
In Lithuania they were world leaders in dehumanising Jews. No messing around. One day we were human, and the next day we were not.
How else would it be possible to binge-rape screaming children to death? Or have drinking games involving old Jewish men being forced to dance with heavy logs around blazing fires into which they would eventually fall? Or tieing rabbi’s beards to horses and dragging them to their deaths as public entertainment? Or chopping children up? Or starving entire communities in their synagogues in the town centre? Or smashing babies’ skulls against trees?
Many of the above atrocities happened in the small Lithuanian town of Plunge in 1941. The man in charge was Jonas Noreika and he is a public hero in Lithuania today. To defend this contemptuous gesture the Lithuanian government fabricates evidence in his favour via its notorious Genocide Centre and makes a huge diplomatic effort across the Litvak world to tell the Jews how much they love and miss them and how much they’d like to stick a gaudy bauble around their necks just to show how much they love and miss them. Frankly I don’t know which is more nauseating: the defence of a mass murderer, the baubles or the chilling fact that, until now, their strategy appears to be winning.
But those days are over. This important debate has axiomatically shifted and this time the Lithuanian government will not get away with its pathetic deceptions. Why? Because of a brave Lithuanian woman called Silvia Foti.
Silvia is Noreika’s granddaughter and one of the heroes of my film J’Accuse! Her recent brilliant book Storm in the Land of Rain blows away Lithuania’s shabby defences. She not only exposes the antisemitic paranoia at the highest levels of the Lithuanian government but also reveals how it was the Genocide Centre (or The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre, to give it its full, gloriously Orwellian title) that took the judicially-aided decision to make the mass murderer Jonas Noreika into a hero.
I know the Lithuanian government knows the facts. That Noreika was in charge of the Jews at this terrible time. That he signed the orders for their imprisonment and deportation. That he lived opposite the synagogue in which they were dying of thirst and hunger. That he personally stole goods (including nightwear!) from Jewish victims. That he authored Lithuania’s own ‘little’ Main Kampf just a few years earlier. That he celebrated the slaughter just two weeks after the killings.
They know all this, but they JUST. DON’T. CARE. And they are counting on the fact that the Jewish and non-Jewish world don’t care that much either. And that in no time at all, everyone will forget.
In my film J’Accuse! I give the dehumanised victims back their voice. And this is what they would surely say, isn’t it?
‘They are once again honouring our murderer, the man who robbed us of our humanity, turned us into slaves, and murdered us. They are doing it now. Openly. Wantonly.’
Never Again?

About the Author
Bulawayo born, a former travel writer for the Sunday Times and director/producer for the BBC and other once important media organisations, a keeper of chickens and grower of fruit and veg, a student of Torah, a Husband, Dad and Grandad of the greatest kid that was ever born...and a man determined to fight for justice in Lithuania.
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