In his welcoming address to the participants of the seminar, the Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said that the "Jewish community has always been a distinctive integral part of our common history with its influence on economic, social and cultural development of Europe, including Lithuania."
The president is of the opinion that "the task of present-day historians is to identify and to assess all that had happened in Europe, in Lithuania, and how this had affected all its citizens."
"This is in effect the opportunity for the younger generation to learn the truth and to discover history without 'hush-ups' and ambiguities," the president's address reads.
The head of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, Emanuelis Zingeris, voiced his regrets opening the forum on April 2 by saying that, as in some other countries, radical forces were emerging in Lithuania presenting a danger to the development of a civic society.
The Lithuanian Ambassador-at-large and coordinator of the liaison with the World Jewish community, Alfonsas Eidintas, said that only "in the last decade we slowly embarked on examining the history of our times and the Holocaust."
In his welcoming address to the international forum, the Israeli ambassador for UNESCO and the European Council, Arie Gabay, voiced his satisfaction that the forum was held in Vilnius, the city which had a world-famous Jewish community and which later had suffered the most painful losses under Nazi occupation.
Representatives from the EC programs and Israel, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Malta and Lithuania were to make reports at the seven-day forum in Vilnius.