An offer by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to provide $10,000 rewards for information
about former Nazi collaborators in Lithuania has stirred
strong passions in the Lithuanian press.
The centre has accused Lithuania more than once of an inability
or unwillingness to try people suspected of collaboration with
The magazine Veidas takes offence, warning that the offer suggests
Lithuanians are consciously hiding Nazi collaborators, and
that only money would persuade them to reveal the names of
persons who took part in the genocide.
Obviously, this attitude hurts the pride of the Lithuanian
people and it could start polluting the atmosphere in Lithuanian-Jewish
relations and arousing mutual mistrust," the
One must not forget that... the Nazis also used similar means
to find Jews who were in hiding," Veidas
In countries as far afield as Britain and Australia, Lithuanians
have found themselves on trial, accused of helping the Nazis
round up and kill Jews during World War II.
There have only been two attempts to try war criminals in
Lithuania, both of which were called off on the grounds that
were too ill to stand trial.
The newspaper Kauno Diena warns that "any
lawyer would agree that a great deal of information received
in such cases is not only useless but also misleading".
Will people's evidence be reliable? Is it possible to remember
precisely enough things that happened 60 years ago? Moreover,
as people are now ready to go to court over a small plot of
land and families are torn apart by conflicts over property,
only God knows what they might start saying about each other
for $10,000," the
paper goes on.
It also notes that the head of the Jerusalem branch of the
Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr Efraim Zuroff, has admitted that
the likelihood of victims recognizing their oppressors is
The most valuable information may only be given by accomplices
of the criminals. These would then be the people to get the
reward, although accomplices should be tried in the same manner
as actual murderers," Kauno
News - Lithuania offended by Nazi hunters' reward