SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A petition blasted the Lithuanian government’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Lithuanian Provisional Government, which began “the barbaric campaign of humiliation, harm, plunder and murder” of Jews in 1941.
The 24 signatories to the petition, which was sent Thursday to Lithuanian parliamentarians, feature a group of eminent Jews from Europe, Israel, North America and Australia. They include professors, rabbis, journalists, authors, lawyers, representatives of Holocaust museums, Holocaust survivors and a British parliamentarian.
The petition slams the government’s engagement in a “double genocide” campaign that the petitioners believe “distorts, obfuscates and undermines” the Holocaust and “negates the lessons of history of both the Nazi and communist eras.”
June 23, 1941, it states, “marked the beginning of the end of more than six centuries of Jewish life in Lithuania and the brutal destruction by genocide of a people so culturally and religiously rich that they made the city Vilna renowned as the Jerusalem of Lithuania.”
The petitioners, all of Lithuanian descent, include the United Kingdom’s Lord Greville Janner; Rabbi Moses Birnbaum of New York; British broadcaster Michael Freedland; Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem; and Danny Ben-Moshe, an associate professor at Victoria University in Australia.