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The unpublished biography, which Foti summarized in a bombshell Salon article in July, split her own family.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
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.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
This is a long story which extends over fifteen years. NATO first attempted to silence those citizens who were trying to discover the truth about the attacks of 11 September 2001. Then it turned on those who contested the oficial version of the «Arab Springs» and the war against Syria. One thing leading to another, it then attacked those who denounced the coup d’état in Ukraine. Now NATO is behind the accusations by a pseudo-NGO that the people who campaigned for Donald Trump are Russian agents.
The attacks of 11 September 2001 were followed by a permanent state of emergency and ...
Author’s note and UpdateThe following article was first published in September 2014 at the outset of the air campaign “against the ISIS”. In recent developments Russia has officially joined the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). What are the implications?Amply documented but rarely mentioned in news reports, the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan. What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting the ISIS, in reality it is protecting the ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon ...
I am a Lithuanian, but I leave abroad and I am not going back. At least now, at least until the Government does not pay attention to its people. According to some authoritative research institutes, during 2017 Lithuania population is again projected to decrease (by 45 677 people!) and reach 2 758 290 in the beginning of 2018. (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/lithuania-population/). As of 1 January 2017, the population of Lithuania was estimated to be 2 803 967 people. This is a decrease of 1.63 % (46 433 people) compared to population of 2 850 400 the year before. In other words, our ...
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia, they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab. Around the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Rai in northern Syria, they partnered with both Turkish soldiers and Syrian militias, while also embedding with Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Across the border in Iraq, still others joined the fight to liberate the city of Mosul. And in Afghanistan, they assisted indigenous forces in various missions, just as they have ...
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests.
A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as a country subject to “mafia-like structures of organised crime”. It accuses KLA commander and current ...
Author’s note: The following article focussing on the jihadist terrorist insurgency in Macedonia was first published by antiwar.com in July 2001, barely two months before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.Known and documented, since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest had become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress had revealed how the US administration – under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake – had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment ...
If Trump can defeat the oligarchy and save America, he can go down in history as Trump the Great.
Liberals, progressives, and the left-wing (to the extent that one still exists) are aligning with the corrupt oligarchy against president-elect Trump and the American people.
They are busy at work trying to generate hysteria over Trump’s “authoritarian personality and followers.” In other words, the message is: here come the fascists.
Liberals and progressives wailed and whined about “an all white male cabinet,” only to be made fools by Trump’s appointment of a black male and two women, one a minority and one a Trump ...
Fifty years ago today, in 1967, nearly 100,000 Americans marched on Washington, DC, to protest the Vietnam War. In those days there was a mandatory draft in place, and the risk was very real that a young man just out of high school could quickly wind up 13,000 miles away, fighting an unseen enemy in jungles that didn’t need tanks or B-52 bombers to inflict fear. Worse yet was the possibility of going MIA or coming home in a body bag — just another expendable statistic in the great fight against communism. But even many of those who made it ...
For decades Palestinians have lived on the edge of annihilation, their homeland steadily annexed until just a slither of the original remains. It’s a story that just won’t go away, even for those thousands of miles away, who try to cover their ears and eyes from the shame which has befallen the ruthless oppressor of this now tiny peninsular of land and its battle weary people.
In 1975, I worked on a kibbutz called Rosh Hanikra, in Northern Israel. It’s main income was derived from intensive commercial avocado pear production. There were maybe four hundred inhabitants. The social experiment known as ...
On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. Secretary of State – John Kerry calls for war crimes investigation of Russia’s and Assad governments for the destruction of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The western corporate mass media was a very quick, like, for instance, The New York Times, immediately and clearly to accuse the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of alleged war crimes in Syria – the same cliché used by the same propaganda machinery against the Serbs (Srebrenica case from 1995 or Kosovo War from 1999) during the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia (by the U.S. ...
The US President Donald Trump is no doubt a successful businessman who rules his country as if it is a huge enterprise. And this kind of management, to his mind, should lead to success. And very often it really works. As a wise leader he uses different tools to reach his goals. Thus, the most cunning one, which the US exploits in Europe – is indirect influence on the EU countries to gain the desired aim. The EU just becomes a tool in “capable hands” of the US.Let us give the simple example. Last week the Ministry of National Defence ...
Clinton/NATO Intervention In Balkans Revealed As Half-Witted DhimmitudeFebruary 26, 2007- San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Twelve years after the alleged Srebrenica massacre, the International Court of Justice [ICJ] has found that charges alleging that a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing by the Bosnian Serb government was used against the Bosnian Muslims are baseless, yet the court adamantly maintains a belief in the myth of Srebrenica, much in the way that Islamists worldwide hold on to the Jenin hoax because both serve to stoke anti-Western, anti-Israel sentiment.From the beginning it should have been clear that the Clinton administration's decision to ...
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
The Argentinian authorities are wondering about the massive purchase of land in Patagonia by a British billionaire, and the “holidays” that tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers are enjoying on his property.In the 19th century, the British government were undecided as to where they should settle Israel – either in what is now Uganda, in Argentina or in Palestine. In fact, Argentina was at that time controlled by the United Kingdom and, on the initiative of French baron Maurice de Hirsch, had become a land of refuge for Jews who were fleeing the pogroms in central Europe.In the 20th century, ...
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo ...
An eerily familiar sense of regional unease has crept over all the former republics of Yugoslavia.
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar echoed the Balkan zeitgeist when he warned at a press conference this week that:
“If the migrant crisis is not adequately controlled as agreed at the summit in Brussels there is a possibility of conflict situations between the states of the Western Balkans. It is possible that a small conflict would initiate a wider reaction because of the very difficult recent history (of the region), which is why it is very important that we solve this crisis together as no country can solve this problem by itself.”
It seems like everybody knows that ...
First published by GR in December 2006
War criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair were banned for life in April 2003 from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ. The ban was announced at the height of the illegal US-allied bombing and invasion of Iraq.
Below are the original 2003 press reports pertaining to that decision as well as a subsequent introductory note published by Global Research in December 2006.
“The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday [April 2003] of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, ...
The overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine in February 2014 was one of the most important geostrategic occurrences during the past century, because it led to the breakaway from Ukraine of the two regions — Crimea and Donbass — that had been the most opposed to the overthrow, and that had voted over 75% for the President who had been overthrown. And those two breakaways from Ukraine were then presented in the U.S.-allied “The West” as having resulted from ‘Russian aggression’, which then became punished, first by economic sanctions against Russia, and then by massive NATO military buildups ...
Interactive maps at several websites show that within three months there have been more than 500 voluntary transfers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate's (UOC-MP) parishes to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine recently created by Patriarch Bartholomew and president Poroshenko. The UOC-MP parishes total 12,000, so this is a significant value. However, according to the OHCHR Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine from 16 November 2018 to 15 February 2019, not all of these transfers were voluntary – in some cases they were undertaken by local authorities or far-right organizations, and those members of the UOC-MP ...
Islamic forces entered Europe from Asia and North Africa in order to enslave, convert, persecute and either completely destroy Christianity or to enforce dhimmitude. Before this process began you had the complete annihilation of Christianity in many parts of North Africa and in various parts of the Middle East it was one long sojourn into dhimmitude, pogroms and massacres.
Christianity survived in some areas, for example in Egypt, however, numbers succumbed after Arab colonial and Islamic discrimination took route. Therefore, a complete Islamic inquisition took root in Arabia (modern day Saudi Arabia) and just like the Sunni Islamic inquisition against Buddhism ...
The NATO Campaign Against Freedom of Expression
“Going After” the Islamic State: Guess Who is Behind the Caliphate Project?
Will Lithuanian Emigrants Return Back to Lithuania?
U.S. Special Operations Forces Deploy to 138 Nations, 70% of the World’s Countries
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War and the KLA’s Crimes
What We Still haven’t Learned from the Vietnam War
Crimes Against Humanity and the Israel-Palestine Conflict
The 2016 Aleppo Massacre: Are Putin and Assad the Only “War Criminals”?
Trump Buys Lithuania, EU cannot Stop It
Serbia Found not Guilty of Ethnic Cleansing
Warning! Neocons are Close to Starting a Nuclear War with Russia
What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?
The Myth of NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Kosovo (in 1999)
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair Banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
Kiev Euromaidan: Participants in 2014 Ukrainian Coup Confess
Conflicts among Churchgoers in Ukraine – Non-Peaceful Transfers to the OCU not Covered by Media and State
Western Policy Doing the Bidding of Islam in Kosovo: Destroying Orthodox Christianity