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PM Ingrida Šimonyte defines new watershed moment in Lithuanian thinking
Ingrida Šimonyte, Holocaust survivor, Irena Veisaite, Soviet styled-thinking,Aušrine Armonaite, Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, Lithuania, antisemitism, politics, 6/10/2021 - At a conference in the memory of Holocaust survivor, Irena Veisaite, Lithuania's Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte made a bold call for Lithuanians to embrace the past.

"I tend to believe that the maturity of society is also measurable as to whether it can accept from historians truth, which can at times be awkward or which can call for revisiting or rethinking of what has already been established, or it wants that the historians weave one or another collective narrative or mythology, where our side involves only heroes, victims or observers, at worst, but, God forbid, certainly not executioners or collaborators. History is nothing like an old Soviet television showing only ‘black and white’. To be able to discern the colours or the shades to that matter, we must, in the first place, get rid of the interpretive schemes of history imposed by totalitarian regimes, where an individual had no value unless he was part of one or another collective entity: a class, nation or race."

These were powerful words from a leader that aims to take Lithuania into a new era of reconciliation and prosperity.

"The maturity of society is also evidenced by our ability to listen and embrace different perspectives," said Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte, who has taken the helm on Lithuania's top deck, together with Aušrine Armonaite and Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen.

The Prime Minister's words and new found blueprint for Lithuania's future is expected to face resistance. Her challenge will be to win allies and take on the dogma of Soviet styled-thinking, which still lies hidden in the political cracks of Lithuania's old machinery.

Ironically, the recent human rights crisis in Belarus, will help her in this cause, As with all politicians, the Prime Minister will be judged by what she does, more than what she says.

Chairman of the Save Vilna coalition, Mr. Dov Fried expressed optimism by the content of the Prime Minister's speech. However, he said that he would like to see some concrete steps before calling it "monumentous."

Full Text of Speech by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte

Conference „A Divisive Past: The Soviet-German War and Narratives of Mass Violence in East Central Europe”

June 4, 2021, Vilnius

‘What helped me keep moving forward after I managed to miraculously survive the war, was my resolute desire to tell the world what really happened. However, it seemed that no one was willing to hear about the horrific experience that I and other people had to go through. And thus bringing up the subject was completely pointless’, said survivor of the Holocaust, Professor Irena Veisaite, in whose memory this conference is dedicated, in a book co-authored with historian Aurimas Švedas.


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