Skeleton in the closet is an idiom used to describe an undisclosed fact about someone which, if revealed, would have a negative impact on perceptions of the person; such as having a corpse concealed in your home long enough for it to decompose into bones.

That idiom is widely used iskeleton in the closetn PR industry, especially during communication audit, when situation SWOT is being produced. Skeleton might be a real yet undisclosed weakness or potentially dangerous outcome (threat) of some major forces. In both ways the information would start the process, which could evolve into a substantial crisis situation.

Lithuanian skeleton

During 1941 most (90-95 percent) of Lithuanian jews (due to various studies – 160-190 thousand persons in total before the end of WWII) were murdered in an organized extermination process, orchestrated by Germans and frequently implemented by local Lithuanians.

As today the process to identify and put to the trial participants of the process is far from finished. Moreover, it is almost stalled and it has become almost impossible to finish it due to high public resistance. Soviet propaganda frequently associated Nazzi collaborators and post-WWII freedom fighters. Without a transparent investigation process the border line between freedom fighters and support for the Nazzi regime remains unclear.

Uncertainity about the level of misconduct of later (post-WWII) freedom fighter puts a shade on all of them making it impossible to differentiate and judge accordingly.

The skeleton process, which weakens international image of Lithuania:

  • Lithuanian heroes of post-WWII resistance are intermixed with those involved in extermination of local Jews population.
  • International investigation processes are usually portrayed in Lithuania as Russian interference and incentive to achieve defamation of Lithuanian freedom fighters.
  • Meanwhile international community cannot understant, why the search for Nazzi collaborators is stalled and has no clear finish line.
  • The process remains in a “paused” status, when Lithuanian side treats all related questions as a threat against freedom fighters and it’s independence in general. At the same time such a position is incompatible with a clear understanding of the process in question, all true freedom figthers are put into the shade of those, who were simply hiding from the trial for murdering jews.

Cleaning up & prevention

The only way out is to start a thorough investigation, identify those potentially participating, put those still alive into the trial. There will be no excuse or comfort for those murders. But future generations would be freed of accusations on covering mass extermination of local neighbours.