In recent incidents, two of Lithuania’s major Holocaust memorials were smeared with anti-Semitic graffiti, while expressing support for the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
The memorial at Ponar, which is the site of the mass murder of approximately 70,000 Jews, was smeared with the letters “V” and “Z” that had been inscribed on some of the memorials. This is the second such attack, the first of which was recorded on Friday.
“The Ponary massacre” took place between 1941 and 1944 near the railway station at Ponary (now Paneriai), a suburb of today’s Vilnius. About 100,000 Jews, Poles and Russians, were murdered by German SD and SS and their Lithuanian collaborators. Of those killed, about 70,000 were Jewish.
Following the recent incidents on March 31 and April 3, the Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed grave concern. The Center’s Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, noted that linking the local Jewish community with the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a completely false and very dangerous accusation, which can only inspire the spread of anti-Semitism and encourage attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions.
“To our knowledge, this is a new case, a second one since Friday. Representatives of our community took part in getting the memorial back to normal and all those terrible symbols were cleaned up,” BNS media outlet quoted Rūta Ribinskaitė, a representative of the Jewish community.