VILNIUS - Recently the Turto Bankas a Lithuanian government bank and the Vilnius City Council announced that they would be building a conference center on the location of the old Jewish cemetery in Snipiskes, Vilnius, in 2022. Leaders, the White House, U.S. senators, congressman and multiple denominational spiritual leaders have rallied to condemn the plan.
On May 19, 2020 the Beverly Hills City Council in California passed a resolution condemning the anti-Semitic governance of the Lithuanian government, their failure to recognize that Lithuania collaborated with the Nazis in sending Jews to the concentration camps. The full resolution can be read here.
European Union states, world leaders and corporations were aghast. The possibility that Lithuania had worked with Nazi Germany to systematically murder 95% of their own Jewish citizens and neighbors, was difficult to comprehend.
However, those doubts were obliterated when the Lithuanian government confirmed they were proceeding with the construction of a conference centre on the property of the old cemetery in Vilnius. It was Lithuania’s defining moment of truth, when finally it was clear that Lithuania’s systemic anti-Semitic behavior is alive and well. The rooster had come home to roost.
Lithuania is a sovereign nation that is a member of the European Union and party to NATO. However, this is a country where billions of U.S. taxpayers money are propping up a system that is morally flawed, a country which cannot reconcile or come to terms with its war crimes of the past.
Regrettably, Lithuania’s attempt to conduct wholesale desecration on a 500-year old cemetery, is merely an extension of a behavioral trend. This disgraceful destruction of a Jewish burial ground, is the government’s racist endeavor to erase the memory of prewar Jewish life. After sending Jews to the Nazi death camps, stripping them of their property and material possessions, this latest act of defilement by the government represents the last robbery of Jewish victims.
To add insult to injury, the government candy-coated its announcement by stating that it will work with a Jewish interest group to ensure that there is no desecration of the graves and that Jewish heritage will be preserved. This is a lie. No interest group has the authority to negotiate the act of desecration on a cemetery. Defiling a cemetery is not an option which is on the negotiating table. Construction of a conference center on the cemetery (irrespective of whether skeletal remains are disturbed) by definition, makes that very act "desecration". See "A Proposal: The Alternative to Cemetery Desecration."
Even when Jews were being herded like cattle to local Lithuanian killing grounds such as the Panerai mass murder and to the concentration camps, to be murdered in the gas chambers en masse, they were euphemistically told that they were being transported to a working camp, with better living conditions.
The plan for a conference center on a Jewish cemetery is Lithuania’s train to the death camps. The only difference is, this train carries passengers that are already dead.
About Jonus Norkus:
Jonus Norkus is an activist who battles against human rights violations and cemetery desecration.