Untold History of Lithuania: A Chicago Teacher Showed Her Grandfather was a Nazi Collaborator

Hits: 177

Barring unexpected delays, Silvia Foti is months away from fulfilling an old promise that’s become her life’s work: to write a biography of her late grandfather, who is a national hero in his native Lithuania.

Foti, a 60-year-old high school teacher from Chicago, made the pledge to her dying mother 18 years ago. She has spent a long time studying the life of her grandfather, Jonas Noreika, as well as acquiring the writing skills necessary for chronicling it and finding a publisher.

But rather than celebrating Noreika’s legacy as her mother requested, the biography that Foti wrote confirms and amplifies the findings of Holocaust scholars who for years have called for stripping Noreika of his honors.

The national hero, she and they insist, was a Nazi collaborator who helped murder thousands of Jews and steal their property.

The unpublished biography, which Foti summarized in a bombshell Salon article in July, split her own family. She said her father and his second wife asked Foti not to publish the book because it would “make Lithuania look bad.” And it would have distressed her mother if she were still alive — the author said this causes her “great pain.”

But the main significance of the book is the unprecedented attention it is bringing to Noreika’s alleged crimes in Lithuania, where a school has been named for him. Noreika died in 1947 while in the hands of the KGB. In 2000, former president Vytautas Landsbergis, the first head of state of independent Lithuania, attended the funeral of Noreika’s wife in Vilnius.

Last week, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius urged authorities to remove a memorial plaque to Noreika from the wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in central Vilnius – the first such call by a senior Lithuanian official on any of the country’s numerous monuments celebrating killers of Jews.

Following the Salon article and coverage of it in The New York Times, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius, who for years has ignored calls by Jewish groups to remove the plaque, asked the state-funded and -operated Genocide and Resistance Research Center to review Noreika’s status as a national hero.

In her book, Foti explores how her grandfather issued orders to round up and kill the Jews after his appointment in 1941 as head of Siauliai County under the German Nazi occupation. And she presents evidence that he personally moved into the home of a Jewish family after its members had been killed, presumably at his order.

Foti recalled being shocked when she first learned of these allegations in 2013 while visiting the school in Sukionių named for her grandfather. The principal told her that “he got a lot of grief from the Jews” over the name, but assured her it “was all Soviet lies.”

That remark put her on a path to unravel the history of Lithuanian Jewry’s murder and her grandfather’s complicity in it. At first she had “hoped to exonerate him,” Foti said. Yet a wealth of evidence convinced her that her grandfather was complicit and actually “taught his Lithuanian soldiers how to exterminate Jews efficiently: how to sequester them, march them into the woods, force them to dig their own graves and shove them into pits after shooting them,” as she wrote in the Salon article.

It was a devastating discovery for a woman who said she grew up “adoring” her late grandfather. At Christmas dinners, her tight-knit family would leave an empty chair and glass of wine for him to acknowledge the absence of the handsome man in framed portraits who probably was tortured to death by the KGB at the age of 37.

Foti said she hopes the book helps “Lithuania finally take a good look at its own role in the Holocaust and stop blaming the Germans for everything.”

She has had to pray and seek guidance from God throughout her work on the book, she said.

The debate about Noreika and other collaborators who sided with the Nazis when they were fighting Russia during World War II goes to the heart of Lithuania’s national narrative that it was and is a victim of Russia. Seen through that prism, collaborators like Noreika or Juozas Ambrazevicius, the leader of a local pro-Nazi government, sided with Germany only to achieve independence for Lithuania.

But that narrative ignores the level of complicity by ordinary Lithuanians — many of whom viewed Jews as agents of communism — in the near total annihilation of the approximately 220,000 Jews who lived in Lithuania before the Holocaust, according to Efraim Zuroff, the Eastern Europe director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Zuroff believes that the veneration of people like Noreika in some ways is rooted in a collective desire to whitewash Lithuanian complicity.

“You see this tendency across Eastern Europe,” he said, “but it’s strongest specifically in the countries with the highest amounts of genocide complicity.”

Lithuania is the only Nazi-occupied country noted by Israel’s Yad Vashem museum for its people’s “enthusiasm” for collaboration with Germany. And even when this enthusiasm “subsided … hostility towards Jews and denunciation persisted,” the museum says.

One example of this genocidal zeal occurred in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city. At the Lietukis Garage, pro-German Lithuanian nationalists killed more than 50 Jewish men in 1941 by beating, hosing and then murdering them with iron bars, according to the U.S.  Holocaust Memorial Museum. Some of the perpetrators then posed for pictures with the victims’ tortured bodies, providing some of the most memorable images of Nazi collaboration anywhere.

Foti’s research turned the plaque for Noreika into a symbol for the fight for recognition of that complicity. But the plaque is just one of numerous expressions of veneration for perpetrators.

Juozas Krikstaponis, a member of a death squad who killed thousands of Jews in Lithuania and Belarus, has a monument for him in the city of Ukmergė, 30 miles north of Vilnius.

The Nazi collaborator Kazys Skirpa, who represented his nation in Berlin during World War II, has a main street named after him in Kaunas, and his image features regularly in nationalist marches. An outspoken anti-Semite,  Skirpa “proposed to solve ‘the Jewish problem’ not by genocide but by the method of expulsion from Lithuania,” the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania asserted in 2015.

Against this background, the developments around Foti’s article have surprised veteran campaigners for Holocaust recognition in Lithuania.

Zuroff acknowledged that Jewish Holocaust scholars like himself are “easy to dismiss” in Lithuania as Russian agents or disgruntled enemies of the Lithuanian nation. Even ethnic Lithuanians who try to confront complicity quickly get labeled as traitors.

In 2015, Zuroff co-authored a landmark book with Ruta Vanagaite, a successful writer who is not Jewish, that chronicles their joint travels across many of the killing sites of Jews that dot Lithuania and their history. “Our People” also features Vanagaite’s discovery that two of her close relatives, her grandfather and uncle, were active in the persecution of Jews.

But Vanagaite’s publishing house last year dropped her as the mainstream media attempted to discredit her. Landsbergis, who was Lithuania’s first leader after communism, published an op-ed on the Delfi news site calling Vanagaite a “moral scumbag” and “Mrs. Dushanski” – a reference to the Jewish KGB officer Nachman Dushanski.

Vanagaite’s publishing house also recalled all of her books, only one of which was about the Holocaust. And the governing coalition in April introduced a bill banning the sale of books that “distort historical facts” in what was seen as direct reaction to some of her claims about World War II.

Whereas Vanagaite’s ties to Zuroff and liberal credentials made her vulnerable to smear campaigns, Foti “totally blindsided the Lithuanian government,” according to Grant Gochin, a Los Angeles-based financial adviser of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. Gochin is behind multiple lawsuits over his ancestral homeland’s veneration of war criminals, including Noreika.

“They can’t call Noreika’s daughter a Soviet agent, they can’t defend against her,” he said.

In this respect Foti, who also favors the removal of the plaque honoring her grandfather and other honors, landed a rare victory for Zuroff, Vanagaite and Gochin’s side. She also highlighted their fight to the outside world.

But the officials who said they favored steps to remove Noreika as a national hero were “clearly paying lip service,” Gochin said, “or it would’ve happened long ago.”

As long as Lithuanians are taught to revere people like Noreika, Gochin said, “the fight for historical accuracy is being lost.”

“Genocide,” he said, “needs to be acknowledged where it happened.”


Originally published on 2018-10-04

Author: Cnaan Liphshiz

Source: JTA – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
NATO’s Fascist Wedge in Ukraine
The latest advert for Ukraine’s armed forces depicts chiselled military hunks over a caption: “THEY WILL PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENTS — Ukrainian Army: protecting the borders of civilisation.” In reality, Russia was Ukraine’s largest single investor in the first six months of 2018, comprising 34.6 per cent of total foreign direct investment. Advertising slogans for Ukraine’s army targeted at English-speaking investors are a sign of increasing desperation within ruling circles. Recent public reports of the mafia running Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port, were linked via the Paradise Papers in a BBC investigation to money laundering in London’s property market by Alexander “The Don” Angert and ...
READ MORE
The US Independence Day
The 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States of America and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for America, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately American racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception ...
READ MORE
Tiananmen: The Empire’s Big Lie
Early in 1989, China was stirring. A decade of groundbreaking reforms inspired by Deng Xiaoping had brought the moribund economy to life and freed the nation from the ideological shackles imposed by radical Maoists during the cataclysmic Cultural Revolution. Almost everything seemed possible, as Deng proteges Hu Yaobang and then Zhao Ziyang led policymaking on a day-to-day basis. But the changes sweeping China had its dark undersides. Large-scale economic reforms also meant expanded corruption opportunities, which many officials exploited. And Chinese who “got rich first,” under the Dengist dispensation, opened a rapidly expanding wealth gap with fellow citizens. Discontent simmered dangerously. The ...
READ MORE
Russophobia Vulgaris: A la Lietuva
The historical Western policy of „Russophobia Vulgaris“, which is currently promulgated by the British Cabinet of Theresa May, is nothing new. It was originally started by the British Empire in the XIX century, followed up by the US after the WWII and now, as Russia it getting notably reinforced, is escalated in the form of the “New Cold War”. The Russian exodus from the West (diplomatic only yet), presented as a punishment for Russia’s alleged nerve gas poisoning of a former Russian/MI6 double-agent reminds us of the baiting of Jews in the Middle Age for alleged ‘poisoning of wells‘. We have ...
READ MORE
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The opposition in Montenegro unanimously decided to boycott the local elections in Niksic, scheduled for March 12. This decision was made in protest against the political trial against the deputies from the Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knežević. DF, Democratic Montenegro, Demos, civil movement URA, the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party refused to participate in the elections after the Mandic and Knežević were deprived of parliamentary immunity. Andrija Mandic said that the prosecution was launched in order to weaken the Democratic Front. He added that he wants to raise the question about the legitimacy of the removal ...
READ MORE
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
We are witnessing a presidential election of epic farce. The Republican Party nominates the caricature of a tinpot dictator. The Democratic National Committee is a caricature too, of comic opera: exposed in collusion with a favored candidate it anoints a felon, shown to be such but unindicted. We are witnessing the collapse of democratic presidential politics. It is a derelict process, complex, absurdly long, insanely expensive, tedious, inconsistent and now chaotic. Professional football is a public extravaganza, its six-month season culminating in the tangible climax of the Superbowl. It is dwarfed in spectacle however by the same suspense and dramatic finale of ...
READ MORE
The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report. The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged. The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence. What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA. Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence. The ...
READ MORE
The Two Most Dangerous Warmongers in Political Office Today
They work in concert to carefully lay the foundations and propaganda for war, for between them they hope to dominate the world with their egocentric madness for power and influence. One is a former real estate developer and the other an expansionist occupier of foreign land. Both have access to nuclear and chemical/biological weapons of mass destruction.  They use the most powerful economic and political sanctions available in today’s US-dominated world to aggressively cripple those nation states they wish to either command or destroy and will unilaterally threaten and intimidate all those who oppose them, with financial, economic and military sanctions. They ...
READ MORE
Memorial Day is Based on a Lie
Today, Memorial Day, Americans across the land will hear the same message: that U.S. soldiers who have died in America’s foreign wars and foreign interventions have done so in the defense of our rights and freedoms. It is a message that will be heard in sporting events, memorial services, airports, churches, and everywhere else that Memorial Day is being commemorated. There is one big thing wrong, however. It’s a lie. None of those soldiers died protecting our rights and freedoms. That’s because our rights and freedoms were never being threatened by the enemy forces that killed those soldiers. Let’s work our way ...
READ MORE
Manchester Terror Act on May 22nd, 2017: Photo Evidence Not Presented on the Mainstream Global Mass-Media (Euronews, CNN, DW, BBC, ABC…)
See photo evidence here: Manchester terror act on 2017-05-22 Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. © “Free Media Group” 2017
READ MORE
The U.S. Pushed North Korea to Build Nukes?
Let’s say you know someone who wears funny blue suits and doesn’t share your views on politics. So you decide to stick this person in a cage and put him on a diet of bread and water until he agrees to change his wardrobe and adjust his thinking. And when he sits quietly on the cage-floor with his hands folded, you ignore him altogether and deal with other matters. But when he stomps his feet in anger or violently shakes the cage, you throw cold water on him or poke him in the back with a sharp stick. How long do ...
READ MORE
Europe’s “Little Guantanamo”: Why the U.S. Wants Serbia to Give Up Kosovo
The U.S. military base in Kosovo was constructed in 1999 without consulting with the government of Serbia and is the largest U.S. military base built outside of the U.S. since the Vietnam War. The site was apparently used for extraordinary renditions and has been referred to as a “little Guantanamo”. This is a very little known fact as NATO, the U.S., the European Union and the West are in the process of forcing Serbia to effectively give up Kosovo, and indicates the real motive for the West’s support of the Kosovo Liberation Army which it had deemed a terrorist organization ...
READ MORE
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” — William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Generally, we avoid using the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person pointing out parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ...
READ MORE
Airstrikes Without Justice
To describe the US attack on Syria as a serious development is to be guilty of understatement. Without any recourse to international law or the United Nations, the Trump administration has embarked on an act of international aggression against yet another sovereign state in the Middle East, confirming that neocons have reasserted their dominance over US foreign policy in Washington. It is an act of aggression that ends any prospect of détente between Washington and Moscow in the foreseeable future, considerably increasing tensions between Russia and the US not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe, where NATO ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump is an International Law Breaker
Donald Trump‘s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie. In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened: The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at ...
READ MORE
“Responsibility To Protect” (R2P) was not Valid in Kosovo and isn’t Valid in Ukraine
The same arguments used to justify a western ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Kosovo in 1999 could be used to support a Russian intervention in Ukraine. This article originally appeared at Irrussianality Yesterday, I gave a talk on ‘The Folly of Military Intervention’ at McGill University. Afterwards, one of the students asked me a question about parallels between the wars in Kosovo in 1999 and Ukraine in 2014/15. As I answered, I found myself thinking about the scale of the humanitarian crises in both cases and what this means for supporters of so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’. In 1999, NATO aircraft bombed Yugoslavia for three months. The aim, ...
READ MORE
Former Kosovar Jihadist Recounts Syrian Odyssey
Ridvan Haqifi (left) and Lavdrim Muhaxheri (right), two ISIS Kosovo Albanian commanders. | Photo: ISIS propaganda videoAlbert Berisha, a former Kosovar jihadist who travelled to fight in Syria, appeared before a Pristina court on Monday to recount his version of the story and maintain his innocence.Berisha, who graduated in political sciences from the University of Pristina and holds a Masters degree from the University of Tirana, was arrested in 2014 and is charged with participating in terrorist organisations. This crime is punishable with a minimum of five years in prison.Berisha said he went to Syria from October 6 to 20, ...
READ MORE
Top 10 Dirty Secrets of Vatican
Throughout its long history, the Catholic Church has been rocked by scandals ranging from the dissolution of the Knights Templar to Galileo’s trial to Mother Theresa’s questionable donors. Over the course of the 20th century, many more scandals have come to light—no matter how much the Church would like to keep them secret. 10. The Duplessis Orphans In the 1930s and 1940s, a conservative revolution ushered in an era in Quebec now known as “The Great Darkness.” Led by Premier Maurice Duplessis, the period was characterized by unprecedented corruption and repression, much of which involved the Catholic Church. After Duplessis received the ...
READ MORE
Yalta, 1945: The Impact on Yugoslavia
What was the impact of the 1945 Yalta Conference on Yugoslavia? The key result of the conference for Yugoslavia was that it endorsed and ratified the 1944 agreement between Josip Broz Tito and Ivan Subasic. The end result was that the American, British, and Soviet governments installed a dictatorship in Yugoslavia. The Allied task was the illusory and chimerical objective of uniting the prewar, monarchist Yugoslav Government-in-Exile based in London headed by Peter II Karadjordjevich with Tito’s de facto anti-monarchist, Soviet-style, Communist government in Belgrade. This was the major issue that was discussed at plenary meetings and foreign ministers sessions at ...
READ MORE
Seal in lobby at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, USA
Introduction: The Missing LinkWhy did the US support the separatist and terrorist so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK in Shqip), which sought to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo based on ethnicity? Why did the US sponsor a criminal and illegal separatist movement that sought to ethnically cleanse non-Albanians and create an independent state of Kosova? Why was the US supporting and sponsoring the re-establishment of a fascist-Nazi Greater Albania that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini had initially created?When did the US begin to play a role in Kosovo? Did the US role in Kosovo begin with the arming ...
READ MORE
NATO’s Fascist Wedge in Ukraine
The US Independence Day
Tiananmen: The Empire’s Big Lie
Russophobia Vulgaris: A la Lietuva
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War
The Two Most Dangerous Warmongers in Political Office Today
Memorial Day is Based on a Lie
Manchester Terror Act on May 22nd, 2017: Photo Evidence Not Presented on the Mainstream Global Mass-Media (Euronews, CNN, DW, BBC, ABC…)
The U.S. Pushed North Korea to Build Nukes?
Europe’s “Little Guantanamo”: Why the U.S. Wants Serbia to Give Up Kosovo
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
Airstrikes Without Justice
Donald Trump is an International Law Breaker
“Responsibility To Protect” (R2P) was not Valid in Kosovo and isn’t Valid in Ukraine
Former Kosovar Jihadist Recounts Syrian Odyssey
Top 10 Dirty Secrets of Vatican
Yalta, 1945: The Impact on Yugoslavia
The CIA and a Greater Albania: The Origins of the US Role in the Balkans
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu