Violence in Sweden
Violence in Sweden Reuters

The mayor of a Lithuanian city invited residents to a party in honor of a local holiday - and included anti-Semitism on the invitation.

During the holiday, local residents "chase away" the winter, but Jewish residents of the town say the anti-Semitic undertones grow stronger every year, and include pictures of "stereotypical" Jews, similar to the ones from before World War II.

The leader of the Jewish community in Naisiai, Paina Kokliansy, harshly criticized the mayor and the city's Culture Committee Head, who published on the invitation pictures of people "dressed up" as Jews.

"Anti-Semitism isn't something which goes away," Kokliansy said. "You can find it all over the daily media, and in this party invitation, the city's leaders used picture from 1939 Facist propaganda."

Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon said, "We are slowly moving towards bringing the Jewish culture out of the darkness, but we still have a long journey ahead. Right now, Jews in Lithuania are represented in other ways - through grotesque masks at the 'Sharvutid' festival."

One Lithuanian who moved to Israel said, "All of Europe has a holiday in which they chase away the winter. But in Lithuania there are also lots of characters - witches, Satan, gypsies, and Jews. They show all the stereotypes, in a very insulting and anti-Semitic fashion.

"They used to say 'Jews want to steal the holiday.' It wasn't always like this. I wouldn't want to raise a child in Lithuania today, because I would not want to have to explain what's happening there.

"Sentences like, 'Let's take a stick and beat the Jew' are sentences you don't hear here in Israel."