Searching for the Truth about the Mass Murder of Lithuanian Jews
December 13, Noon, Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This talk is based on Efraim Zuroff's and Rūta Vanagaitė's book, Our People. Our People exposes the significant role in implementing the Final Solution played by local political leaders and the prewar Lithuanian administration that remained in place during the Nazi occupation. It also tackles the sensitive issue of the motivation of thousands of ordinary Lithuanians who were complicit in the murder of their Jewish neighbors. At the heart of the book, these are the issues that Rūta and Efraim discuss, debate, and analyze as they crisscross the country to visit dozens of Holocaust mass murder sites in Lithuania and neighboring Belarus. This book follows them on their remarkable journey as they search for neglected graves, interview eyewitnesses, and uncover hints of the rich life that had existed in hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Lithuania.
Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center's Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs. For four decades, he has played a major role in facilitating the prosecution of many Nazi war criminals all over the world. He is the author of four books (translated into 15 languages) and numerous articles on Holocaust-related issues and their impact on the Jewish world. A recipient of many honors, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.
Ruta Vanagaite is a Lithuanian journalist and author. Her third best-selling book, “Our People” co-authored with Israeli historian and Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, deals with the complicity of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes. The book was published in Lithuania in 2016 and created a national scandal. In October 2017 all Vanagaite’s books (6 titles, 27 000 copies altogether) were removed from the book shelves in Lithuania after Ruta’s critical comment about one of national heroes. None of her books are available in Lithuanian book stores any more. She is currently living in Israel. Ruta has written second part of the book “Our People” (“How did it happen?” with renown German historian Dr. Christoph Dieckmann. Awards: 1993: “Woman of the year”, Lithuania; 2016: “Medal of valor”. Annual award by Simon Wiesenthal Center; 2018: “Golden Hope”. Annual award by European Jewish Congress; 2018: Rabbi Moshe Rosen prize. Annual award by Conference of European Rabbis.