A historian lionized by far right groups in Lithuania for glorifying collaborators with the occupying Nazis during World War II is set become the new director of the country’s state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center (LGGRTC).
Dr. Arūnas Bubnys was nominated for the post on Wednesday by Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, the Speaker of Lithuania’s parliament, the Seimas.
According to the biography of Bubnys on the LGGRTC’s website, the “most important trends of his work” focus upon “anti-Nazi resistance in Lithuania in 1941–1944, the Polish underground in Lithuania in WWII, and holocaust (sic) in Lithuania.”
However, experts on the slaughter of nearly 200,000 Jews in Lithuania — the overwhelming majority — during the Nazi Holocaust decried the appointment of Bubnys, charging him with glorifying the pro-German puppet regime that ruled following the Nazi invasion of 1941, as well as deliberately minimizing the role played by Lithuanian collaborators during the Holocaust.
“For years Dr. Bubnys has participated in the glorification of the outbreak of the Lithuanian Holocaust on 23 June 1941,” observed the website Defending History, which closely monitors the politically-charged environment around the study of the Holocaust in Lithuania and other eastern European countries.
In June 2020, Bubnys addressed a public meeting in which he effusively praised Jonas Noreika, a Lithuanian independence advocate and military general who participated in the mass murder of Jews in the summer of 1941, and Kazys Škirpa, a founder of the wartime-era Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) whose writings advocated the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish citizens. The two men are among the many anti-Soviet, nationalist politicians of that period whose reputations have been rehabilitated by the Lithuanian government over the previous 20 years.
According to Defending History, Bubnys “has also glorified the Nazi puppet ‘provisional government’ of the summer of 1941, and has consistently downgraded local Holocaust collaboration while seeking wherever possible to blame the ‘Jewish police’ for the horrors of the Vilna, Kovno, and Shavl (Šiauliai) ghettos, in the period after the murder of the Jewish residents of all of the hundreds of smaller communities [in Lithuania] in the second half of 1941.”
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Author: Algemeiner Staff
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