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Lithuania's parliament took yet another step to rename the Genocide Museum located in the former KGB building in central Vilnius into the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights.
Genocide Victims Museum
Genocide Victims Museum
© DELFI / Augustas Didžgalvis

The name is envisaged in the new language of the Law on the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre, which has been unanimously approved for discussion earlier this week. The bill is still one ballot short of adoption.

Critics of the current name of the museum often said that Lithuania's accent on the crimes committed by the Soviet rule as genocide downplayed the Jewish genocide by Nazi Germany, which Lithuanian collaborators also played a part in.

Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė, director general of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, said the name of the museum did not match the content of the exposition.

"This is not a museum of victims only – it also presents other topics, including freedom fighters, dissidents, it tells about expressions and impact of the occupational regime. The concept of genocide has a narrower meaning," Burauskaite has told BNS.

During the discussions at the parliament earlier this week, the center's former employee, MP Arvydas Anušauskas, raised doubts about the discarding of the name "genocide".

"The proposed bill contains some details that had been discussed and that caused various considerations, for instance, renaming the Genocide Museum into the Museum of Occupation and Freedom Fights. By the content, it is mainly that. As to disappearance of the word 'genocide' from the context – I don't know, maybe the word could stay," said Anušauskas.

The museum is based in a building, which was built next to the central Lukiškių Square more than 100 years ago. The building, which has served as home to various Lithuanian institutions, mainly courts, is mostly known among Lithuanians as a former KGB building.

BNS
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