Michael Kretzmer

Why I am very, very rude to (some) Lithuanians

It’s Holocaust Season, folks! So pretty soon, count on it, we can expect the usual hypocrisy parade from Lithuanian ambassadors across the world. Last year the Israel gang appeared with candles and the customary “holocaust sad-faces” that I suspect they’re trained in. My FB response was as brief and vulgar as the situation demanded:  “Why don’t you all f**k off back to the death pits, you repulsive hypocrites’.  

This year I plan to be even ruder. 

This may surprise some people because normally I am the most polite of people. I do this, not because I am insane, or vengeful, or unhinged, or consumed with uncontainable rage and hatred. My rudeness and vulgarity is of course as performative as their holocaust sad-faces and I do it primarily because it seems logical to me that all holocaust deniers should be treated with the same contempt whether they have SS tattoos on their necks or the most manicured nails in Christendom, as I suspect Lithuanian diplomats have.

It’s also strategic. When I began making my film J’Accuse! I knew I would have to deal with the odious bureaucracies that make up the Lithuanian Holocaust Lie Machine. This includes all Lithuanian diplomats, most library and museum staff, all Genocide Centre propagandists,  the judiciary, many high school heads and most definitely the sparkling, smiley little elves who (I suspect) have been trained to befriend Jews wherever they appear, soak them in insincere schmaltz before wrapping them around their neat, little pink fingers. 

On my first (and only) visit to Lithuania I was totally suckered by their oily propaganda. Like many others I fell for the bland smiles and bullsh*t gentility. I totally bought it when they gushed about the ‘poor, dear, talented, musical, clever, missing (yes, missing!) Jews’. I was totally seduced by their honeyed campaign of hugs and handshakes and I believe that most of the wonderful, warm, forgiving, beautiful Jews on my tour were too. Because Lithuania does it so damned well! 

Lithuania totally controls the intellectual content of heritage tours like ours. In the daily rush of banquets, mayoral toasts, folk dances, school visits  and propaganda photo ops, the one thing we absolutely did not talk about was the very thing that needed to be discussed: the torture, rape, robbery and slaughter and the fact that to this day the Lithuanian government lies to protect the mass murderers. Even the brilliant Birzai Names Project, which reached its high point in the unveiling of a beautiful monument to the 2,400 murdered Jews became a Lithuanian propaganda victory, second item on the national news, no less. See! the news report inferred, see how grateful the Yids are for our magnanimity!

The Lithuanian denialists know our weak points and they exploit them to perfection: our compassion, our horror, our grief, our shame, our decency, our politeness and, worst of all, our desperate desire for closure and existential yearning to be regarded as HUMAN at last.  And we clever, stupid Jews lap it up like dogs before pools of vomit. 

Well, let me lay the facts before you now. The Lithuanian government manufactures lies to sanitise mass murderers in order to make them national heroes and deny their participation in the Holocaust. They have never prosecuted a single rapist, torturer or murderer (and there were thousands). They take no responsibility whatsoever for the deranged cruelty and violence of their people and insist, absurdly, that it is poor little  innocent Lithuania that was the true victim of both the Communist (ie Jewish) and Nazi genocides. This chutzpah is frankly breathtaking: the Lithuanian government behaves like the drunk rapist who murders his own parents then pleads for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan.

And often it appears they are winning. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the Lithuanian ambassador to Israel appears to be a season ticket holder at Yad Vashem. Every time I open FB there she is, complete with ‘sad face’, stinking the place up with her revisionist hypocrisy. Now of course I can’t know what she really thinks or feels. I cannot look into her heart or soul. But this really doesn’t matter: she is her government’s representative and the cold, hard facts speak for themselves. This woman represents a government riddled with antisemitism, an administration that leads the world in holocaust denialism and anyone who doubts this should read Silvia Foti’s book Storm in the Land of Rain, or watch my film J’Accuse!

And even more puzzlingly, Yad Vashem plays along. Not only do they give these holocaust deniers every access and respect, but they reciprocate with cute little visits to Vilnius and that nest of haters, the Lithuanian parliament. All of this inevitably supports the liars.

It saddens me grievously to have to ask this question: does Yad Vashem still value holocaust truth over lies? Because right now it seems to many that they are flirting with the liars, and spurning the truth tellers. 

This requires an explanation, now.

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 biker, a student of Torah, a Dad and Grandad... and a man determined to fight for justice in Lithuania.