Dov Levin: Historian gives back award received in 1993 from Lithuania





In 1993, half a century after he took to the Lithuanian countryside to fight the Nazi invaders and their local collaborators, Dov Levin received a letter of recognition from Lithuania's first president after independence, Algirdas Brazauskas, for his courage in facing the Nazi menace.

"That was back when they liked Jews," the octogenarian professor emeritus of East European Jewish history joked on Sunday, hours after formally returning the award in a letter to the current Lithuanian president, Valdas Adamkus.

Giving back the award after 15 years wasn't easy. "I wish I didn't have to do it," he said, but insisted "it's the least I can do for my good friend."

Levin's good friend is Dr. Yitzhak Arad, "an excellent partisan" who took part in the resistance to the Nazi occupation before leaving for Israel in 1945 and joining the Palmah.

A retired IDF brigadier-general, the 82-year-old Arad served as chairman of Yad Vashem for over two decades and was a lecturer in Jewish history at Tel Aviv University.

Last year, Lithuanian prosecutors received a complaint from right-wing activists citing Arad's memoir depiction of a reprisal attack on a Lithuanian village.

The prosecutors are now investigating whether the attack he participated in may have been a war crime, since he fought against the Nazis in a Soviet-organized resistance.

The Lithuanian prosecution even submitted a request to Israel's Justice Ministry to investigate Arad, a request the government does not appear to have taken seriously.



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