Lithuania’s Role in the Holocaust
The article “Vilnius Celebrates its 700th Anniversary” (Oct. 5) understates the complicity of Lithuanians in carrying out the Holocaust.
An estimated 96% of Lithuania’s Jewish population – 212,000 out of 220,000 – were murdered during the Shoah, a higher proportion than in other countries. Many Jews were killed by their Lithuanian neighbors, rather than slain by German invaders.
Lithuanian collaborators were among Hitler’s most loyal henchmen in annihilating Jews. While Lithuanian accomplices lacked the authority to administer the Nazi mass-murder machine, they served as the domestic engine of extermination. In the assembly line of death, Lithuanian conspirators incited violence against Jews, captured the victims, marched the martyrs to jail, took the prisoners to the execution sites, dug the pits in which the Jews were entombed and fired many of the bullets that killed the men, women and children.
The article points out that 2023 marks the 700th anniversary of Vilnius along with signifying the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto. This year marks another historical milestone that merits mention. 2023 denotes the 33rd anniversary of Lithuania’s gaining independence from the Soviet Union.
Yet, despite the mass murder of 200,000 Jews perpetrated largely by Hitler’s Lithuanian collaborators, not a single Lithuanian has served a proportionate sentence in a Lithuanian jail for the Holocaust-related killing of a Jew since Lithuania became a free nation in 1990.
Lou Gerber, Falls Church, Va.
Fighting Israel’s Enemies
With respect to your Oct.12 editorial (“We Stand With Israel”), it is commendable that President Biden has raised his voice to stand firmly in Israel’s corner against the barbarism of Hamas. However, we should recognize that reliance on deterrence alone has failed miserably against Islamic extremists of all stripes bent on waging a suicidal war against their intended victims.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We are [now] at war” and, as General Douglas MacArthur famously declared, “In war, there is no substitute for victory.” This is especially so when facing a ruthless enemy that employs barbarous tactics on a par with those employed by Jew-hating Nazis during the Holocaust.
The true test of the Biden administration’s resolve, and indeed the true test of the West’s resolve to end radical Islam’s assault on Western civilization, will come when Israel determines that victory must include total defeat of all the radical Islamic forces arrayed against it including, Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Arab extremists in Judea and Samaria and the despotic rulers of Iran who train and fund all of them.
Netanyahu vowed, “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.” He promised that Israel’s response to Hamas will “change the Middle East,” hopefully by obliterating Israel’s savage enemies. The United States and all our Western allies must support this necessary endeavor.
Marc L. Caroff, Virginia Beach, Va.