Shalom Life | March 11, 2015

Hundreds of Lithuanian Neo-Nazis March at Jewish Execution Site

“This march is particularly offensive because it is taking place where locals and Nazis murdered more than 10,000 Jews in one day”

By: Daniel Koren

Published: February 17th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: Far-right nationalists march in Russia


On Monday, some 500 far-right extremists donning swastikas and other such Third Reich apparel marched through Kaunas, Lithuania.

The city is the country's second largest city, just sixty miles of its capital, Vilnius, and was also the site of one of the largest massacres of Jews to occur during the Holocaust.

The Nazi enthusiasts made their way through the city to commemorate the eighth annual such event, organized by the Lithuanian Nationalist Youth Union, as February 16th happens to be of two Independence Days for Lithuanians. But the site through which the fascists marched is also significant to the international Jewish community; in October, 1941, some 10,000 Jews were slaughtered in a single day in Kaunas at the hands of both Nazis and locals.

It was the most brutal massacre to have ever occurred in the Baltic states during the Holocaust.

As the ultra-right marchers made their way to a local park, some 20 protesters from the local Jewish community, as well as members of anti-fascist groups, intercepted them, countering in silent demonstration.

“This march is particularly offensive because it is taking place where locals and Nazis murdered more than 10,000 Jews in one day,” said U.S.-born Jewish scholar Dovid Katz, who was in attendance. Katz settled in Vilnius some 16 years ago, and has since led several protests against such Nazis and extremists in the Baltic States.

The fascist marchers, however, chanted "out with Katz" as they circled the counter-protesters, making obscene gestures at him, and condemning Efraim Zuroff - known Nazi hunter and Israeli director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Several marchers were also holding signs that accused Israel of being a racist and "apartheid" state.

According to an organizer of the march who belongs to the Youth Union, Tomas Skorupsis, their march, despite brandishing Nazi propaganda and swastikas, was not "anti-Semitic.

“There are many Lithuanians who find it hard to forgive Jews who, during Communism, killed nationalist freedom fighters. But I think we should leave it in the past and look ahead,” he said.

During the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of Jews who lived in the Baltic nations lost their lives.

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