Debates on the Postwar “Forest Brothers”

Sad Day for Chicago (& Lithuania): Monument for Alleged Nazi Collaborator, an Icon of Lithuania’s Far Right, Unveiled on May 4 in Chicago by Visiting Foreign Minister


[LATEST UPDATE]

A Tale of Three Cities

New Britain.  Chicago.  Vilnius.

UPDATE OF JUNE 1: Head of Jewish Agency calls for  monument in Chicago to Nazi collaborator to be removed “as soon as possible”

It was turned down by the New Britain, Connecticut City Council one year ago

THE RAMANAUSKAS SAGA

Other reports in: Algemeiner; BBCIndependent; Simon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

On Ramanauskas’s Holocaust-era role see courageous, pioneering articles of Lithuanian ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas in 20142017 and his latest that has just appeared.

 For years after starting his series of articles “Why does the state commemorate murderers?” Balčiūnas was hounded by prosecutors and police (scroll to May 2014).

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA. BEYOND THE HISTORY: WHY A MONUMENT TO A PRIME ICON OF TODAY’S NEO-NAZIS IN EASTERN EUROPE?

a major icon for neo-Nazi parades…

From left to right on the neo-Nazis’ “We know our national heroes” banner (torchlit neo-Nazi parade of Feb. 2018): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis

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More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Five years ago, I wrote about the alleged connections of Adolfas Ramanauskas to the persecution of Jews in Druskininkai. Following publication of the Lithuanian version, the English version appeared here in Defending History in 2014. The connections are based in the first instance on Ramanauskas’s own memoirs, published in post-Soviet independent Lithuania, where he boasts that he served as leader of “the rebels’ squad” during the precise days and weeks of June and July 1941 when these “rebels” of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were in fact unleashing humiliation, plunder, violence and indeed murder against Jewish neighbors (the Soviet army was escaping Hitler’s invasion, not these white-armbanded LAFers). Following upon Ramanauskas’s own memoir and boast came research into the actual police records of the summer of 1941, as well as the postwar Soviet war crimes trials’ transcripts.

When writing that first article in 2014, my goal was not to find or prove something directly compromising. I was simply disturbed by the obvious collision of this heroic myth and its historical circumstances. It was part of my series of articles in Defending History, starting in 2012, that was launched by my essay “Why does the State Commemorate Murderers?”.

LATEST MEDIA:

AlgemeinerBBCIndependentSimon Wiesenthal CenterTelegraph.

RAMANAUSKAS: A FIVE YEAR SAGA

But then, in late 2017, the Seimas (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania declared 2018 to be the Year of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Indignant at the uncritical worship, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s department of East European affairs, brought a copy of my article to the members of the Seimas and was condemned without them even attempting to read it. During that period, I published a second, follow-up article focused on the moral issues.

Successful resistance to the plans of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania to erect a monument to Ramanauskas in his native city of New Britain, Conn., were enabled exactly by the facts mentioned in the 2014 piece (that saga can be followed in Defending History). One year ago, the City Council of New Britain “just said No.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on More Evidence: Did Adolfas Ramanauskas’s Lead a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Some Orders Issued by Jonas Noreika during the Destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish Citizens



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  HISTORY  |  DOCUMENTS

VILNIUS—As the date (15 January) nears  of  what some have dubbed the Holocaust trial of the 21st century, an increasing number of observers request more information on the alleged Holocaust collaborator at the center of it all, Jonas Noreika (1910–1947). His case was brought to the English-reading world by Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012 (as part of a series on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified with state funding). Mr. Balčiūnas was “rewarded” with years of legal harassment from police and prosecutors over his objections to state honors for Holocaust collaborators (see the Balciunas section, scroll down to May 2014 for start of the legal proceedings; while enjoying a modern freewheeling democracy on nearly all issues, Lithuania’s residents have run into troubles when challenging state policy on the Holocaust.).

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Some Orders Issued by Jonas Noreika during the Destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish Citizens

Can Pope Francis, in Vilnius, Heal the Blind at Lukiškės Square?



OPINION  | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH AFFAIRS   |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS HONORED  |  BLAMING THE VICTIMS

 

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Pope Francis’s two-day visit to Lithuania this weekend includes a symbolic stop at the Vilna Ghetto on his second day, September 23, at roughly 4 PM at Rūdininkai Square. On that day, 75 years ago, Nazi Germans liquidated the Vilna Ghetto, murdering some of its Jews in Paneriai Forest (Ponár), and moving the rest to concentration camps in Latvia, Estonia and Germany. Since 1994, it has been the National Day of Commemoration of the Genocide of Lithuania’s Jews. Now it will surely be linked in the Lithuanian psyche with this visit by Pope Francis, and perhaps some day, Saint Francis.

Pope Francis in the Lithuanian capital

However, his visit is also a chance for him to make plain to the children of God our lack of empathy for Lithuania’s Jews. A very short detour to the “Vilnius Sports Palace” — and a heavenly nod by the Pope — would let us tear down that “Soviet temple”, resurrect the holy Jewish cemetery beneath it, and enjoy a symbol of Litvak and Lithuanian friendship forever. This brings to mind the detour Jesus made in Jericho, when two blind men called out, “Lord, have mercy on us, you son of David!” And Jesus halted the crowd.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Andrius Kulikauskas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Can Pope Francis, in Vilnius, Heal the Blind at Lukiškės Square?

Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



 NEW BRITAIN’S PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LEADER OF A 1941 HITLERIST MILITIAGLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  USA  |  LITHUANIA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  | ANTISEMITISM & BIAS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—At the suggestion of a number of our readers in Connecticut and neighboring states, Defending History has contacted the office of the Hon. Erin E. Stewart, mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, to ask if her team was aware of the alleged pro-Nazi and Holocaust collaborator background of a Lithuanian militant, Adolfas Ramanauskas (“Vanagas”) who became a major leader of the anti-Soviet resistance in the years after the war. We urge the mayor to reconsider plans for him to be glorified in New Britain, Connecticut this year. It would make much more sense to honor Lithuania’s 100th anniversary of its inspirational 1918 independence in a way that is dignified and can be celebrated by all the peoples of Lithuania, at home and in its far-flung diaspora.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

New NATO Film Unwittingly Glorifies Holocaust Collaborators


OPINION


by Dovid Katz

Our take? NATO needs to stand for Western values. Putin’s shameful “Zapad 17” military exercise demo, in  regions bordering the eastern democratic lands of NATO and the EU — including the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — is intended to intimidate their peaceful populations and to provoke regional unease. Not to mention the very real danger that various of the troops will find one way or another “to stay in the region after the exercises are over” in a very tired old Soviet spirit of things. These military exercises need to be exposed for what they are, and countered with stalwart determination. NATO’s commitment to its members must remain sacrosanct and permanent, while remaining true to the ideals for which, ultimately, it exists.

That makes it all the more critical for the North Atlantic alliance (and the EU) not to succumb to regional far-right, ultranationalist, chauvinist, Holocaust-revisionist, and antisemitic forces in the course of the proceedings.

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Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES

VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST (ONLY JEWISH) VETERANS OF THE ANTI-NAZI PARTISANS; RENEWED 2017 CAMPAIGN AGAINST FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY

 

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day

Spring 2017 Battle Over Public Honors in Vilnius for Holocaust Collaborators


[last update]

Škirpa and Noreika

17 Organizations in Lithuania Sign Petition in Favor of Central Vilnius Street Name Glorifying Holocaust Promoter K. Škirpa

Among the 17 who signed is Sąjūdis (Vilnius & Kaunas), whose honorary national chairman is Prof. V. Landsbergis, and whose national council includes MP Emanuelis Zingeris. Will Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius in his reply stand up for what’s right?

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Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator



VILNIUS—Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky, a prominent lawyer here in the Lithuanian capital, today released on the community’s official website the text of her letter to the mayor of Vilnius calling for the removal of a plaque honoring the notorious Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. The letter follows her bold speech at the 23 September Ponár (Paneriai) memorial which likewise called on government officials to remove honors for Holocaust perpetrators, citing three prominent collaborators by name.

There was immediate speculation on which human rights, Jewish and Israeli organizations, here and internationally, would react with rapid public expressions of support for the chairperson’s letter. The charismatic young mayor of Vilnius has a colorful record on Jewish issues, which Defending History has been following for years, starting with his earlier stint as justice minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community Calls on Mayor of Vilnius to Remove Plaque Honoring a Holocaust Collaborator

Background to Faina Kukliansky’s Bold Letter to Vilnius Mayor on City Plaque Honoring Holocaust Participator Jonas Noreika


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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Background to Faina Kukliansky’s Bold Letter to Vilnius Mayor on City Plaque Honoring Holocaust Participator Jonas Noreika

Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery



Sept. 2016 Discourse over “Historic Soul” of Central Vilnius

Will Vilnius Mayor & Lithuania’s PM & President Issue Morally Clear Statements on Two Sites Visible from Grand Dukes’ Medieval Hill?

THERE ARE FIVE JEWISH FORMS OF THE FABLED CITY’S NAME: ווילנא, ווילנע, ווילנה, וילנה, ווילניוס

(1) Changing the name of a city center street that glorifies a Nazi collaborator who enthusiastically supported the removal of his country’s Jewish citizens?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Att. Mr. Mayor of Vilnius: Streets Named for Hitler’s Local Partners, and Plans for Congress Center on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery

Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D   /   G E N O C I D E    C E N T E R

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

“I am a former Lithuanian soldier myself and have a personal remark to make. Nobody will ever force me to wear the uniform of another country’s armed forces, because I am a Lithuanian patriot. I will not wear the uniform of Russia or of Mozambique.”

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One of the main Lithuanian dailies Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News) reported in an article on 24 November 2015  that the council of the celebrated Sajūdis organization (famed for its role in resisting the USSR and helping to achieve Lithuanian independence), had now, in 2015, decided to apply to prosecutors to take legal action over an article that had appeared in the 13 October 2015 edition of Laisvas laikraštis (Free Newspaper).

Sajūdis “decided” that the author  had violated the law because he mentioned that Lithuanian postwar militants Vytautas Žemaitis, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra), Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas and others might have been personally involved in Holocaust atrocities. [Editor’s note: See articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas on the alleged Holocaust involvement of Žemaitis, Noreika, and Baltūsis -Žvejas.]

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Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator


[from the day’s front page]

But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no comment (in English translation with “God’s honest truth” headline (PDF) following the initial Lithuanian report; But mishap could be editor’s error or work of local “mischief maker”. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post. Jewish Community leadership then replied to critics.

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Strange Debate Over State-Sponsored Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



Vytautas Landsbergis, Hero of Lithuanian Independence, Shocks Many with “Defense” of Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika

Icon of freedom struggle now attacks journalist Rimvydas Valatka (who supported a petition last summer for removal of a Vilnius shrine to the Nazi collaborator) and Defending History regular Evaldas Balčiūnas (for asking why Lithuania honors such Nazist figures). Balčiūnas’s rapid reply. Earlier DH appraisal of Landsbergis’s 21st century positions.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Strange Debate Over State-Sponsored Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Summer’s Strange Media Circus



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In the midst of this past summer’s heatwave here in Lithuania, Delfi.lt, one of the most popular news portals in the land, exploded with discussions on commemorations and memorials for Nazi collaborators in our country. Rimvydas Valatka, a  columnist for the portal and  signatory of the Declaration of Independence, started it all with his article of 26 July. The “current events background” was the recent removal of the controversial Soviet-era statues of soldiers on Vilnius’s Green Bridge. Valatka, a veteran of Lithuanian journalism with the rarefied street-cred of a Declaration of Independence signatory, appealed for removal of the memorial plaque for Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika (“Generolas Vėtra”) from a central Vilnius library building, and wrote about a petition for its removal signed by a group of intellectuals and public figures, and addressed to the mayor of Vilnius as well as to the director of the relevant library (Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences), where the plaque hangs prominently in the heart of Lithuania’s capital.


The stone honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika tops the lot on the facade of the Genocide Museum on Gedimino Boulevard in the Lithuanian capital, a stone’s throw from the nation’s parliament. When are we going to stop glorifying those who helped annihilate Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust? When is this going to come down?


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Posted in Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Public Shrines to a Holocaust Collaborator and a “Secret” Petition: A Summer’s Strange Media Circus

Summer 2015 Debate on Removing Vilnius Public Honors for Nazi Collaborators



Balčiūnas,  Gochin,  Kanovich,  and Valatka:  Asking for Vilnius to Take Down Plaques and Street Names that Honor Holocaust Collaborators

But petition to mayor from group of intellectuals stays “secret”

And some local media regards the discussion itself as “a Russian plot”…

SEE DEFENDING HISTORY PAGE AND SECTION ON HONORS FOR PERPETRATORS

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Summer 2015 Debate on Removing Vilnius Public Honors for Nazi Collaborators

But Will New Vilnius Mayor Remove City’s Shrines to Holocaust Perpetrators?



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Vilnius’s new mayor, the honorable Remigijus Šimašius, continues to express profound respect for his city’s Jewish heritage of many centuries’ standing. His dapper style, originality and flamboyance have impressed many. But some raise questions about the choices he makes about which issues to address or ignore. Julius Norwilla’srecent comment contrasts the mayor’s “instant metal sign” marking gravestones found in the walls of an electric sub-station, marked as a symptom of Soviet barbarism, with his public silence — hopefully soon to be broken! — about plans to build a $25,000,000 convention and entertainment complex smack in the middle of the city’s oldest Jewish cemetery. Hopefully, the mayor will respond to the appeal to authorities from his constituent Professor Pinchos Fridberg, one of his city’s last living Vilnius-born Holocaust survivors (one of about three left from an interwar population of 60,000 Jews that stood ar around 80,000 just before the Holocaust), as well as to the other public appeals to date, that have come from faithful Jewish and Christian sources alike.

New Section on Mayor Šimašius and Jewish Issues over the Years

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , | Comments Off on But Will New Vilnius Mayor Remove City’s Shrines to Holocaust Perpetrators?

New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S    G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

When I wrote several years ago (Lithuanian; English) about the monument erected to Juozas Barzda at Iešnalis Lake, I thought it must have been some sort of misunderstanding.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Comments Off on New Memorial, on State Land in Western Lithuania, Honors Alleged Murderer of Thousands of Civilians

Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Adolfas Ramanauskas Vanagas was a well-known post-war partisan commander. Here’s what the Center for the Study of the Genocide of the Residents of Lithuania has to say about him on their website:

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Evaldas Balčiūnas, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, New Britain, Connecticut: Plans to Glorify Alleged Nazi Collaborator?, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Footprints of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the Mass Murder of the Jews of Druskininkai

Sergijus Staniškis Litas: Who’s Hiding the 1941 Gaps in His Biography — and Why?



O P I N I O N   /   P O L I T I C S  O F  M E M O R Y   /   C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original by Geoff Vasil.


Today Sergijus Staniškis Litas is presented as a noble partisan commander who concentrated his unusual skills on battling the occupiers. At least that’s how the writers of the Lithuanian Center for the Study of Genocide and Resistance present him on their webpage at http://www.genocid.lt/datos/stanisk.htm.

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