Lithuania is investigating a former chairman of Yad Vashem on suspicion that he murdered civilians during the Holocaust.
Yitzhak Arad, a noted historian and partisan fighter who served 21 years as the chairman of Israel’s national Holocaust museum, is suspected by Lithuanian prosecutors of being involved in the wartime killing of Lithuanian civilians. The issue came to light when Lithuanian authorities sought to question Arad, a request Israel has refused.
On Wednesday, the current chairman of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev, delivered a written protest of the matter to visiting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas. Shalev urged the minister to bring the matter to a speedy resolution.
“It is clear that initiating criminal proceedings into Dr. Arad’s involvement in Lithuanian partisan activity during World War II is tantamount to a call for an investigation into all partisan activity,” Shalev wrote. “Any attempt to equate those actions with illegal activities, thereby defining them as criminal, is a dangerous perversion of the events that occurred in Lithuania during the war.”