Nazi hunter: Europe must confront ‘urgent problem of Holocaust distortion’

Ahead of “Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day” on Thursday, Dr. Efraim Zuroff tells World Israel News that Holocaust distortion is growing at an alarming pace.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

Dr. Efraim Zuroff has been on a lifetime quest to portray the historic truth about the Holocaust, and bring Nazi war criminals to justice. In an interview ahead of Israel’s “Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day” on Thursday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for Eastern Europe told World Israel News, “There is a burning, urgent problem and that is the surge of Holocaust distortion in eastern Europe.”

“The new law in Poland making it a crime to blame Poland for Nazi war crimes is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a growing narrative to hide or minimize the role of collaborators, including denial of their participation in mass murder. It’s a huge problem in Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland and Croatia. They are all trying to hide the role of its citizens in murdering Jews,” said Zuroff.

According to Zuroff there is also a troubling tendency to equate the evils of Nazism in Germany with Communism until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Zuroff explained, “They want to promote the lie of the equivalency of Nazi and Communist crimes. In a choice between portrayal as victims or perpetrators, they want to be considered as victims. Even more worrisome is this idea that Communism is just as evil as Nazism. In their revisionist narrative, many Jews were communists; Jews were also among the perpetrators of genocide. In the end, if all are guilty, then none are guilty. This has been a growing trend for 25 years but now the Polish law has brought the issue to the fore.”

“Israel had generally decided to ignore the issue and focus on improving relations with eastern Europe. Now Israel was forced to be involved and is confronting Poland. This is an opportunity to try to turn back the page and insist on the truth,” Zuroff said.

Zuroff is most concerned about Lithuania. He recently co-authored a book with best-selling Lithuanian author Ruta Vanagate called Our People, which concludes that the vast majority of the 212,000 Jews murdered in Lithuania during the Holocaust were murdered by Lithuanians and not Germans. The book documents the involvement of all aspects of society including the government and churches in Lithuania in support of the Lithuanian murder squads. According to Zuroff, the Lithuanian parliament is now considering a ban on his book and other Holocaust books that cast Lithuanians in a bad light.