The Jewish organizations in Lithuania criticize the decision of the government to fund the reburial of the former head of the interim government who led the country in 1941.
Juozas Ambrazyavichus Brayzaytis came to power after Nazi Germany took over the country, driving Soviet troops out of the country. He then immigrated to USA, where he died in 1974. Some accuse Brayzaytis of aiding Nazis.
The decision to fund transporting his remains to the country and organizing the funeral, planned to last for four days, caused an outrage in many people, BBC writes.
Brayzaytis was in charge of the government, the objective of which was to restore to sovereignty of Lithuania after the German army pushed back the forces of the Red army out of the country in 1941. Before then, the Soviet occupation lasted one year.
During Brayzaytis’ rule, the Jewish population of the country was hit by anti-Semite pogroms. He signed the order to organize the concentration camp for the Jews, and a ghetto was formed in Kaunass for local Jews.
The Right-Centric government of Lithuania believes that allocating 30 000 LTL (6 000 LVL) is lawful.
«Official government authorities should not support this event, because it discredits Lithuania in the eyes of the international community», – Chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania Simonas Alperavichyus says. – «The Jewish people suffered from the politics of the interim government, which aided the Nazis.»
«It is quite easy to blame Lithuania for praising Brayzaytis, who, by the way, was actively pursued by Nazis», – advisor to the Prime Minister of Lithuania Andrius Kubilius claims. He noted that the investigation, carried out by the U.S. immigration services in 1975, did not find any proof of his relation to the persecution of the Jews or of any cooperation with the Nazis. Kubilius noted that the funeral could become “another reminder of the Holocaust tragedy in Lithuania” and also give roots for «further reconciliation».
During the period of 1941 – 1944, up to 95% of the 200 000 Jews living in Lithuania were killed by the hands of Nazis and local collaborators. Today, 5 000 Jews live in Lithuania.