24 August 2010
Jewish organizations in Lithuania have strongly condemned an apparent neo-Nazi attack in which a pig's head was left at the entrance of a synagogue in the city of Kaunas. "The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Religious Community of Lithuanian Jews judge this as Nazi provocation aimed at insulting the ethnic and religious feelings of Lithuanian Jews," the heads of the two organizations, Simonas Alperavicius and Chief Rabbi Chaim Burstein, said in a joint statement. The pig's head was found on Saturday outside a synagogue in Lithuania's second-largest city, Kaunas.
Simonas Gurevicius, executive director of the Lithuanian Jewish community, told the news agency AFP that the incident should be treated as an attack on all believers, not only Jews. "We hope that Lithuanian society will not be impassive, as this act of a few anti-Semitic vandals does not reflect the attitude of Lithuanian society.” Kaunas police have launched a formal investigation but there are no suspects so far, according to the ‘Baltic News Service’.
Lithuania was once home to a 220,000-strong Jewish community, and Vilnius was a cultural hub and world center for the study of the Torah, also known as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’. At the end of the 19th century, there were over 100 synagogues in Vilnius. During the Holocaust, 95 percent of Lithuania's Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators.
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