Jewish communities in the Baltics fear creep of anti-Semitism

An elderly Latvian takes part in a ceremony to honor soldiers who fought in a Waffen SS unit during World War II, in Riga, Latvia, last year
An elderly Latvian takes part in a ceremony to honor soldiers who fought in a Waffen SS unit during World War II, in Riga, Latvia, last year

Jews in the Baltics fear a series of disturbing events in the three-nation region of Eastern Europe may be signaling a revival of the Holocaust-era hatred that once nearly wiped out their numbers

Across the countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Jewish leaders say their communities are feeling increasingly uncomfortable as anti-Semitism once again appears to be on the rise, reported Fox News.

An Estonian museum exhibition mocking the Holocaust, a stage musical celebrating the life of a notorious Latvian Nazi mass murderer and the repatriation of the remains of a Lithuanian leader  long linked to Nazis have all contributed to a climate of hate that has Jews on edge.

“We have to say that the support of Hitler and rewriting history to turn Hitler into a liberator of this area is not a western value,” Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz, founder of the DefendingHistory.com website, told FoxNews.com. “If you’re repatriating Nazi war criminals to be re-buried and honored as part of national history, that is not behavior compatible with western ethics and values.”

After complaints from Jewish groups, Lithuania’s much heralded Museum of the Genocide in the capital, Vilnius, only recently created a section acknowledging the annihilation of the once flourishing Lithuanian pre-war Jewish community of more than 200,000 that was very nearly wiped out, many at the hands of Lithuanians. March 11 marked 25 years of Lithuanian independence from the Soviet Union and a parade by far-right groups took place in Vilnius, prompting uneasiness on the part of Jews.

In Talinn, Estonia, a highly controversial Holocaust-themed exhibition caused outrage last month when, among its exhibits, was a picture showing the iconic Hollywood sign replaced by the word “Holocaust,” which some perceived as a suggestion the genocide was an entertainment event. Another sick exhibit recreated a gas chamber and had 20 naked actors pretending to be Jews playing tag, seemingly suggesting there was humor in the gas chambers experience. The exhibits were eventually withdrawn.

In October 2014 a Latvian musical ‘Cukurs, Herbert Cukurs’ premiered celebrating the life of the ‘Butcher of Riga,’ Herbert Cukurs, who was tracked down and killed by Israel’s Mossad intelligence service in Montevideo, Uruguay, more than 20 years after he fled Europe. He had overseen the murder of many thousands of Jews in his native Latvia where he had been a pre-war national hero. He was witnessed personally shooting more than 500.

 

Author: Paul Alster | More in the Fox News

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