Holocaust in Lithuania in 1941—1944

Arūnas Bubnys
Holocaust in Lithuania in 1941—1944
Published:
2011
ISBN:
9786098037135
Number of pages:
608
Dimensions:
170 mm x 245 mm
Cover:
Hardback
Publisher:
Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras

The collection of articles entitled ‘Holocaust in Lithuania in 1941–1944’ compiled by Dr. Arūnas Bubnys is a concise portrayal of various aspects of the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania. The articles are grouped into five sections according to themes: ‘Major ghettos in Lithuania’, ‘Holocaust in provincial areas’, ‘Lithuanian police and the Holocaust’, ‘Property and cultural valuables of Jews’, and ‘Rescuing Jews’. This book reflects the contributions of numerous Lithuanian historians who studied the Holocaust over the past decade, and readers interested in this topic will find many useful insights in this single publication.

Excerpt

Another specific feature of the Holocaust in Lithuania is that the Nazis managed to involve a relatively large number of Lithuanian administrative agencies and the local population in the Holocaust. This fact can be partly explained by the fact that, unlike Western and Central European countries, Lithuania initially suffered the Soviet and then the Nazi occupation. Due to the harm caused during the Soviet occupation, a significant portion of the Lithuanian population, at least initially, became enemies of Bolshevism and supporters of Germany. The Nazi–Soviet war gave hope for an end to the Bolshevik occupation and restoration of the State of Lithuania. The anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis and the anti-Soviet Lithuanian underground movement made anti-Jewish sentiments and stereotypes even more popular (Bolshevism equals Jewish government etc.). Therefore, Hitler’s politics (including that in respect of the Jews) found more support in Lithuania than in Western Europe. The Jews, as ha

...

Another specific feature of the Holocaust in Lithuania is that the Nazis managed to involve a relatively large number of Lithuanian administrative agencies and the local population in the Holocaust. This fact can be partly explained by the fact that, unlike Western and Central European countries, Lithuania initially suffered the Soviet and then the Nazi occupation. Due to the harm caused during the Soviet occupation, a significant portion of the Lithuanian population, at least initially, became enemies of Bolshevism and supporters of Germany. The Nazi–Soviet war gave hope for an end to the Bolshevik occupation and restoration of the State of Lithuania. The anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis and the anti-Soviet Lithuanian underground movement made anti-Jewish sentiments and stereotypes even more popular (Bolshevism equals Jewish government etc.). Therefore, Hitler’s politics (including that in respect of the Jews) found more support in Lithuania than in Western Europe. The Jews, as has been the case many times in history, became a convenient target for revenge and attack, a sort of scapegoat for the disasters suffered by the Lithuanian nation. These factors boosted the extent of the Jewish catastrophe and helped the Nazis to implement the policy of genocide in Lithuania. The geopolitical situation on the eve of the Nazi–Soviet war provided favourable conditions for Lithuanian and Jewish animosity The Jews were afraid of the war, the attack of Nazi Germany and were aligning with the Soviets, whereas the Lithuanians waited for the war and believed that Germany would free Lithuania from the Soviet occupation and would allow Lithuanians to restore their country. Such expectations of Lithuanians were strengthened by the mass deportations of Lithuanian citizens to Siberia carried out on the eve of the war. The contribution of Lithuanians to the Holocaust, in the opinion of historian Valentinas Brandišauskas, was determined by the following reasons: 1) the presence of the criminal element); 2) revenge for some crimes of the Jews committed in the first year of the Soviet occupation; 3) opposite geopolitical interests of the Jewish and Lithuanians (the first ones were oriented to the Soviet Union, others – to Germany); 4) thriving anti-Semitism due to favourable conditions of the war and the Nazi occupation; and 5) strengthening of pro-Nazi and nationalistic sentiments before the war.[1] A combination of these factors led to the particularly tragic consequences of the Holocaust in Lithuania. The percentage of Lithuanian Jews killed (90–95 percent) is one of the greatest of all countries occupied by the Nazi Germany. Although the implementation of the Final Solution with respect to the Jews was organised and initiated by the Nazis, it would not have been implemented so fast and to such an extent without the active assistance of some part of the Lithuanian administration and the local population.



[1] V. Brandišauskas, Siekiai atkurti Lietuvos valstybingumą (1940 06–1941 09), Vilnius, 1996, p. 144. [V. Brandišauskas, Attempts to Restore the Statehood of Lithuania (June 1940–September 1941)]

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