Lithuanian president cancels trip to Holocaust forum in Israel, to go to Auschwitz instead

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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will not participate in the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Jerusalem and will instead pay his respects in Poland at a ceremony organized by President Andrzej Duda in the location of the former German death camp.

“I am traveling to a symbolic place to pay my respects to millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust during the Second World War. I will also offer my respects to the 200,000 Jews who were our countrymen,” Nauseda announced.

The Lithuanian Presidential Palace explained that the ceremony organized in Poland on Jan. 27 by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is under the patronage of Duda and is devoted to those who had survived the Holocaust in Auschwitz.

The most important guests at the event in Poland will be former Auschwitz prisoners and Holocaust survivors. Apart from Nauseda, the head of the Lithuanian Sejm, Viktoras Pranckietis, will also participate.

Prancketis will also represent Lithuania in Jerusalem on Jan. 23 during the 5th World Holocaust Forum in Yad Vashem, which was organized by the Russian oligarch and current head of the European Jewish Congress, Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor.

The leaders of approximately 46 countries are meant to participate in the event organized by Kantor, including the German, Russian and French heads of state.

Lithuanian portal Delfi noted that the first person to decide not to travel to Israel was President Duda due to the fact that the organizers of the Forum in Israel refused him a speaking slot.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meant to hold a speech during the Forum, and he has recently claimed that Poland is responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War and its citizens had participated in the persecution of Jews.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid will also not participate in the Forum organized by Kantor, who is associated with the Kremlin. Latvians will be represented by the head of their parliament, Inara Murniece.

The Auschwitz camp saw the largest loss of life of European Jews

The Nazis established the Auschwitz camp in 1940 to imprison Poles. After 1942, it became the largest death camp for European Jews, leading to the death of 1.1 million people in Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners-of-war, and people of other nationalities.

The prisoners in Auschwitz were freed by Soviet Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945.

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