From: Grant Arthur Gochin
Date: December 3, 2015
Re: Open letter to Ambassador Degutis
On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, you addressed the Vilnius Rotary Club. You claimed that no country in EU has done as much for the Jewish Community as Lithuania, especially in the past 7-8 years. You mentioned heritage preservation, restitution of communal property and “Lithuanian citizenship restoration” to Litvaks.
Restitution: Returning of stolen property is exactly that – please do not claim this as doing anything for Jews. Lithuania has not restituted private property, in fact, Lithuania has expended much effort in not restituting private property. Two cases close to my heart are the cases of Rosian Zerner and Joel Elkes. Lithuania’s conduct is not worthy of praise, rather, only condemnation.
“Lithuanian citizenship restoration” to Litvaks. – we know very well that this is not true. My own five legal actions against the Lithuanian Government speak to the Government and legal misconduct when it comes to Litvak citizenship. It was only AFTER restitution was settled, that the Migration Department began to address truth, which by itself contradicts your claim of restitution. There are no laws specifying citizenship for Litvaks. We know from my own cases that MD treats Jewish applicants differently than ethnic Lithuanians, it was specified in their letters when I was required to respond if I held Israeli citizenship. Asking only about Israeli citizenship makes clear that “Zydu” is stamped on my file. We know full well the level of corruption in the Migration Department – a first, positive step might be the re-examination of all Litvak citizenship cases that have previously been dishonestly and ideologically declined. You claiming any current “special treatment” for Litvaks in citizenship is not positive “special treatment”.
On the matter of Lithuania doing anything for the Jewish Community, I refer to President Grybauskaite’s re-affirmation of honors for Noreika. I also refer to the recent bigoted statement issued by the Genocide Center. There has been no retraction of that statement by the Genocide Center, no apology, and no firings. The report on Noreika issued by the Genocide Center contradicted your own Government Commission’s findings, and flies in the face of settled international law on war crimes. The statement by the Genocide Center absolving Skirpa will stand as a mark of shame for Lithuania for generations to come.
The re-affirmation of Noreika’s honors follow the 2012 honoring of the perpetrator Brazaitis. Repeated honoring of Holocaust Perpetrators contradict your perception of a positive view on the Jewish Community.
Your comparison of Lithuania to other European countries doing anything for Jewish Communities is incorrect. I refer you to legislation in both Spain and Portugal restoring citizenship to those expelled Jews. Was Lithuania to offer citizenship in the same fashion to all Litvaks worldwide, that would be laudatory and a true act of reconciliation.
When the Genocide Center and Migration Department are staffed with bigoted ideologues, yes, there is “Special Treatment”.
Your representations to the Rotary Club were incorrect and warrant a public retraction.