B’nai B’rith Australia New Zealand (ANZ) is honouring documentary filmmaker Saulius Berzinis with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the body of research, study and documentation of Lithuania’s Jewish population during the Holocaust.
Berzinis’ commitment to revealing the truth about the atrocities committed against Lithuania’s Jewish community in the days before Nazi occupation, as well as the identities of the Lithuanian perpetrators, has been invaluable in preserving the integrity and accuracy of European history.
“We are deeply honoured to recognise Mr Berzinis for his extraordinary efforts in preserving the memory and legacy of Lithuanian Jewry and uncovering the whole truth about its annihilation,” said president of B’nai B’rith ANZ Benny Monheit.
“His work stands as a testament to the resilience and strength of those who endured unimaginable suffering during the Holocaust.”
Less than five per cent of Lithuanian Jews survived the Holocaust, with few making their way to Australia,
Professor Andrew Markus from Monash University said, “I checked the 2021 Census – of those alive at that date, less than 150 (out of a Jewish enumerated population of 100,000) were born in Lithuania, and of these, less than 20 arrived before 1960. The largest number, a total close to 90, came between 1971 and 2000 – many of these could have been from South Africa.”
Berzinis added, “In spite of the low number of Lithuanians in Australia, this Holocaust issue resonates with people here. We could not stop the Holocaust, but we can at least try to stop the attempted distortion of what really happened in Lithuania and other European countries just before many of us were born.”
B’nai B’rith ANZ also expressed concern that Berzinis’ latest work, Petrified Time – on the atrocities committed in Sheduva, Lithuania – has been decommissioned and blocked from international release. The film contains crucial interviews with the last remaining Lithuanian eyewitnesses and plays a key role in preserving essential information and historical accuracy for the sake of future generations. B’nai B’rith ANZ calls for the unbanning of the film and urges Lithuanian authorities to facilitate its international dissemination in the name of historical truth.