Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent an official protest to the Lithuanian authorities in the wake of a second investigation launched in Vilnius against a Jewish anti-Nazi partisan. In a strongly worded letter sent by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to the Lithuanian ambassador to Israel, the Center accused the Lithuanian judicial authorities of launching a campaign to discredit Jewish resistance fighters by falsely accusing them of war crimes in order to deflect attention from widespread Lithuanian participation in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust.
According to Zuroff:
“On May 5 and 13, 2008 plainclothes policemen came looking for Fania Brantsovsky, the librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, and Rachel Margolis in connection with an investigation against the former for supposed war crimes during World War II. The irony of such allegations is that on April 30, 2008 Fania Brantsovsky has just been honored by the American Embassy for “her struggles as a partisan fighting the Nazi occupiers.”
“If we add this investigation to the one currently being conducted by the Lithuanian authorities against former Yad Vashem Chairman and anti-Nazi partisan Dr. Yitzchak Arad, it is absolutely clear that a deliberate campaign is currently underway to discredit the brave Jewish heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance and help deflect attention from the infinitely more numerous crimes by Lithuanians against Jews during the Holocaust.
“I want to point out that we have every intention of exposing and responding to this malicious campaign against innocent heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance whose only “crime” was to fight against the occupiers of Lithuania who sought with the help of local collaborators to annihilate the Jewish people.”