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The Crime of Surviving
By Dovid Katz

By arguing that Nazi and Soviet crimes are equal, Lithuania is airbrushing the Holocaust out of its history

Rachel Margolis may be the most tragic Holocaust survivor on the planet.

She has stiff competition, to be sure, but Margolis’s recent experiences are almost too surreal and painful to be believed. After the war—during which her parents and brother were murdered—Margolis decided to rebuild her life in her native city of Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. For more than 40 years, she taught biology at Vilnius University. After the Soviet Union collapsed and Lithuanian democracy permitted it, she helped found the city’s only Holocaust museum and became one of its stalwart presences, returning to Lithuania to lecture each summer even after relocating to Israel in the mid-1990s.

Now, at 88, Margolis is being defamed as a war criminal. Her crime? Surviving the Vilna ghetto to join the anti-Nazi resistance in the forests of Lithuania.

Margolis is one of a group of elderly survivors who have become pawns in a sinister game of Holocaust obfuscation by local authorities in the Baltic states—which, though they are among the smallest nations in Europe, had the highest rates of Holocaust genocide in Europe. A more complex phenomenon than Holocaust denial, obfuscation does not deny a single Jewish death at the hands of the Nazis. Instead, it uses as a starting point the idea that the Nazi genocide was not a unique event but rather a reaction to Soviet “genocide” (and antecedent to further Soviet genocide) in which the same elements of Lithuanian society that often sided with the Nazi invaders were persecuted and imprisoned by the Communist regime, whose officials included Jews.

The “double genocide” movement has gained the support of government and political parties in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe, which have invested substantial treasure to persuade the entire European Union to accept the equality of the Nazi Holocaust and Soviet crimes. Their biggest success has been the Prague Declaration [1], issued from a conference on “European Conscience and Communism” in June 2008, which demands that Europe “recognize Communism and Nazism as a common legacy”; that Communism be assessed “the same way Nazi crimes were assessed by the Nuremberg Tribunal”; that a single “day of remembrance of the victims of both Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes” be declared, thus effectively eliminating Holocaust Remembrance Day; and that European history textbooks be “overhauled” so that “children could learn and be warned about Communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the Nazi crimes.”

For the rest go to; http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/32432/the-crime-of-surviving/print/