Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust
Ruta Vanagait, Efraim Zuroff
Chair: Donald Rayfield
An alliance between a noted Nazi hunter and the descendant of perpetrators resulted in the remarkable Our People: Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust. Simon Wiesenthal Centre director Efraim Zuroff has worked for years to bring war criminals to justice and to compel local authorities to reveal the truth. Lithuanian writer Rūta Vanagaitė was motivated by the discovery that relatives had played a role in the mass murder of Jews and that Lithuanian officials had tried to hide the complicity of local collaborators. They join author and translator Donald Rayfield in conversation.
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Ruta Vanagait is a well-known Lithuanian producer, journalist and author. Her third best-selling book, Our People, co-authored with Israeli historian and Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, deals with the complicity of Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes. The book has been translated into 5 languages and recently appeared in English In October 2017 all Vanagaite’s books (6 titles, 27 000 copies altogether) were removed from the book shelves in Lithuania after Ruta’s critical comment about one of national heroes. None of her books are available in Lithuanian book stores any more. In June 2020 Ruta self-published another book on Shoa in Lithuania written together with a top German historian Dr. Christoph Dieckmann. The book How Did It Happen? will come out in English in Spring 2021. After living in Israel for 3 years Ruta has recently returned to Lithuania.
Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the Center's Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs. For four decades, he has played a major role in facilitating the prosecution of many Nazi war criminals all over the world. He is the author of four books (translated into 15 languages) and numerous articles on Holocaust-related issues and their impact on the Jewish world. A recipient of many honors, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.
Donald Rayfield is Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London. In addition to his definitive biography of Chekhov (reissued in Faber Finds), his books include The Dream of Lhasa: The Life of Nikolay Przhevalsky (1839-88), Explorer of Central Asia and Stalin and His Hangmen. His 'superb new translation' (William Boyd - Guardian) of Gogol's Dead Souls was published in 2008.