World War II is the most horrible chapter in the history of Lithuanian Jewry, world Jewry and indeed, the entire civilized world. The persecution and extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their willing, world-wide collaborators was a conspiracy against humanity, decency and morality. The above events had thrown all of mankind into the deepest abyss, morass and degradation.
Decent men might have expected that the heinous crimes perpetrated against the Jews would, once and for all, cure mankind of the scourge of anti-Semitism. But, lo and behold, far from curing the world, we are now witnessing a resurgence of this age old plague.
Pseudo-scientific literature has now surfaced, claiming that there never was a Holocaust. In face of the most devastating and detailed documentation in film, photos, official documents, speeches, exhumed bodies, exposed mass graves, people have the audacity to deny all the events that the Germans, themselves, with their natural painstaking love for detail and accuracy, have unashamedly recorded. But worse yet, millions of people support these theories and allegations knowing full well that they are lies! On top of that, most history books simply ignore the events and don’t mention them at all, as if they did not happen.
Not one word is mentioned about gas vans, gas chambers, crematoria and hundreds of concentration camps which mushroomed all over Europe. But all these attempts at whitewashing those ghastly crimes will not succeed. We, the survivors, the eyewitnesses of those bloody events will never rest. We have made it our life’s work to remind the world, lest it happen again! We will erect monuments, even if our enemies try to destroy them. We will build libraries and museums to collect and display the evidence. We will write essays and books giving eyewitness accounts and we will hold memorial ceremonies to keep the memory of our martyrs alive.
May this annual memorial, which we are holding here today, serve the purpose of requesting an answer from the world as to how such events could have happened in a presumably civilized world. We demand an answer to how the world intends to prevent such a calamity in the future. The blood of our martyrs is crying out of their mass graves demanding action.
Let us pledge, right now, that as long as even one survivor is still alive, these memorials will be held in the hope that one day mankind will see a better day where such memorials will no longer be required.
Pola Mishell, President
Jewish Lithuanian Club of Chicago