Lithuanians are starting to face the Holocaust more openly, which facilitates friendlier relations with Israel, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Monday after an event honouring Jewish victims World War Two massacre in Molėtai.
Memorial march in Molėtai
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

"Our official relations with Israel have improved considerably, they are now warm after all the visits and our ability to look at ourselves with more open eyes is very important, another very important thing is that we are not afraid of painful moments in our history," Grybauskaitė told journalists.

"They are very painful but it's our history, we all have to endure it and we have to work hard to be able to see our future together with the Jewish nation and with the Jews who remain in Lithuania, with all of our citizens and fellow nationals because they are our people and it is our shared history," said the president.

Israel's Ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon said he appreciated the president's visit to honour the memory of victims of the Holocaust. In his words, it is important or all of Lithuania.

After visiting the Jewish massacre site and holding a minute's silence in memory of the Holocaust victims, she laid a pebble at the mass gravesite as a token of remembrance, according to the Jewish tradition.

Some 2,000 Jews were killed on August 29, 1941, in Molėtai during the Nazi occupation. At the time, it was almost one third of the town's population.

During World War Two, Nazis, often assisted by their local Lithuanian collaborators, annihilated 90% of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish population of about 208,000.

Nearly 900 Lithuanians have been recognized Righteous Among Nations for risking their lives during the war to save Jews from death.

Memorial march in Molėtai
Memorial march in Molėtai
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič
Memorial march in Molėtai
Memorial march in Molėtai
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič


BNS
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