Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today called upon the Lithuanian authorities to make every possible effort to apprehend and punish the individuals who last night vandalized the site of the “Ninth Fort,” one of the most important sites of Holocaust mass murder in general, and in Lithuania, in particular. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center expressed grave pain and indignation that a place which currently commemorates, and during World War II had been the site of, such horrific Holocaust crimes in which tens of thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators, was vandalized with swastikas and inscriptions calling for the expulsion of Jews, and memorial plaques were forcibly removed from their places.
According to Zuroff:
“The disgusting desecration of one of the most important sites of the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry is a clear message of implacable hatred for the Jews living in Lithuania and an insult to the memory of the innocent Jewish victims brutally annihilated by the German and Austrian Nazis and their Lithuanian helpers, who carried out most of the killing at this site of infamy. It is high time that Lithuanian students and children will be taught the truth about the role of their countrymen in the mass murder of Lithuanian Jewry and many thousands of Jews outside the country, and that the government stop trying to minimize local collaboration with the Nazis and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Holocaust crimes.”