State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Who was Jonas Noreika?

Jonas Noreika (1910-1947), also known by his nom de guerre, General Vėtra, has been named by the current Lithuanian government as “an important member of the resistance” and an object of every sort of heroic commemoration.

In 1997 he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis, First Degree. The same year a memorial plaque was placed on the facade of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Library in Vilnius.

Library of the Academy of Sciences in Vilnius. The red arrow marks the Noreika plaque.

The Noreika plaque

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Glorification of Local Holocaust Perpetrators in Lithuania



Note: This page, last updated on 18 April 2012, covers some of the more recent and/or still-standing state-sponsored events and memorials honoring the LAF and other Holocaust perpetrators as “heroes” of Lithuania.

See also the COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED section

SPRING-SUMMER 2012 UPDATE:

STATE HONORS FOR THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PRIME MINISTER


Vilnius: In an EU capital, in 2011, state-sponsored adulation of the local collaborators and participants in the Holocaust; key event is addressed by a former head of state, on the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion

PARLIAMENT-SUPPORTED DOCUMENTARY FILM GLORIFIES 1941 ‘LITHUANIAN ACTIVIST FRONT’ (LAF) FASCIST MURDERERS & COLLABORATIONIST PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT (PG) ON 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OUTBREAK OF THE LITHUANIAN HOLOCAUST

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Unauthenticated Document Purports to be Police Complaint Against Lithuanian Citizen for Writing about Nazi Collaborators



O P I N I O N

VILNIUSDefending History is making attempts to determine the authenticity of an unverified document (translation here) which purports to be from Lithuanian police issuing notification of a “pre-trial investigation” against a Lithuanian citizen for having written an article referring to alleged Nazi collaborators. More on the topic is available in Defending History in the Collaborators Glorified section, the works of Evaldas Balčiūnas (including an article on the Mr. Noreika = “General Vetra” mentioned in the purported police complaint), the 2012 Brazaitis saga, and the page on street names and university shrines dedicated to Nazi collaborators.

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Is the Vilnius Police Criminal Division Harassing a Veteran Holocaust Researcher?


A bemused Vilnius film director finds a letter from the police department’s criminal investigations unit concerning his work in Holocaust Studies. Saulius Beržinis is founder and director of the Independent Holocaust Archive of Lithuania, housed in a bucolic setting on the outskirts of Vilnius.

VILNIUS—Defending History confirmed today that renowned documentary film maker and Holocaust researcher Saulius Beržinis, founding director of the Independent Holocaust Archive of Lithuania (IHAL), has been the latest recipient of a letter from police on account of his work documenting the alleged Nazi collaboration of various Lithuanian “1941 freedom fighters” who allegedly collaborated with the Nazi regime and in the murder of their civilian Jewish-citizen neighbors in the days, weeks and months following 22 June 1941. The letter demands he turn over a “list” of criminals which it was never his, nor the Archives’ intention, to produce or comment upon. Over the years, the Holocaust specialist has won the confidence of groups worldwide for his willingness to seek out and tell the unvarnished truth, among them the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

The March 19th letter to IHAL’s director, letterheaded “Vilnius District Senior Police Commission, Vilnius City First Police Commission, Police Criminal Division” is reproduced below (followed by translation into English).

Saulius Beržinis has been collecting testimonies on the Holocaust for a quarter of a  century. He is known internationally for his singular achievement of  interviewing on camera actual admitted killers (some are in the film Lovely Faces of the Killers, 2002), and his extensive documentation work with survivors and witnesses. He has partnered over the years with BBC, The United States Holocaust Museum, the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum of Lithuania, Yad Vashem, and other international bodies, in addition to dozens of Holocaust survivors. His Holocaust documentaries include Farewell Jerusalem of Lithuania (1994), Yudel’s Unwritten Diary (2004), The Road to Treblinka (1997). Most recently, his film on the Holocaust in Jurbarkas (Yúrberik) became controversial for daring to name the killers of the town’s Jewish citizens in 1941 (see reviews by Milan Chersonski and Geoff Vasil).

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Film, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Saulius Beržinis, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Is the Vilnius Police Criminal Division Harassing a Veteran Holocaust Researcher?

DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Investigated by Lithuanian Police



Summons Issued

Statement by Evaldas BalčiūnasDH section on Free Speech

stamp in Balciunas harassment case May 2014

He is author of a series of bold articles about state sanitization and glorification of Holocaust perpetrators and collaborators

Newest investigation follows recent police and prosecutorial harassment of Giedrius Grabauskas and Saulius Beržinis

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Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police



My name is Evaldas Balčiūnas and I write for Defending History, in addition to various Lithuanian web journals. On May 14, 2014, I was contacted by local Lithuanian police investigator Reda Šimkutė by telephone at a number which is not registered in my name. She said she needed to “carry out inquiries” about me.

I asked her what the nature of the matter was. She refused to answer, so I suggested she follow normal procedure and send me what they call “an invitation” (in other words a summons) to come to an interrogation at the police department.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, EU, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Statement of Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas on Summons from Police

Defending History’s Evaldas Balčiūnas Again Disturbed by Police at his Workplace



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

For background on the summons the author received from the police, in consequence of his articles on the Holocaust in Defending History and other publications, please see earlier reports here and here. This comment has been translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil, and the final version approved by the author.

Today, Friday, July 4th, 2014, a woman phoned me at my place of work, introduced herself as a police officer, and asked if my name is Evaldas.

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DH Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas is Again Harassed by Police in Lithuania



by Evaldas Balčiūnas

For background on the summons the author received from the police, in consequence of his articles on the Holocaust in Defending History and other publications, please see earlier reports here and here. This comment has been translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil, and the final version approved by the author.

Evaldas-Balciunas-on-Vilniaus-gatve narrowed

Evaldas Balčiūnas

Yesterday, on July 8, 2014, I was the subject of much telephone attention from the police. This time it was from Šiauliai. They called, they got angry when I told them not to give my address out to whoever may answer first. They asked strange things. A female voice was asking what the door code was, while a male voice was interested in whether I was home at the time…

If anything was missing from this vision of absurdity, it was a warning over giving false testimony, and the question of where I keep my house keys and money… In order to ease the tension somewhat, I called the general emergency number, 112, and complained of telephone scam artists impersonating the police. They took my report, but less than an hour later kindlycalled back to inform me that it was really police officers who had called. It seems these sorts of scam artists have a license from the state to practice this sort of thing. I attempted to tell the man who called that the police are not allowed to present me a summons, accuse me of something or even question me by telephone, so why don’t they follow the normal and accustomed practice and actually send a summons to my officially registered private residential address?

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Our Staff Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Interrogated for Articles Opposing Glorification of Nazi Collaborators and Current Neo-Nazism



M E M O I R   /   O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Note: This memoir continues the narrative started in the author’s earlier accounts of 22 May 2014, of 4 July, and of 9 July. See also our report of 22 May with image and translation of the actual summons. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s articles on Holocaust collaborators who are glorified in state-funded public settings can be found (in reverse chronological order) in the DH sections Evaldas Balčiūnas and Collaborators Glorified. See also sections on Free Speech and Human Rights. Other Lithuanian citizens disturbed by police for opposing state honors for Holocaust collaborators include Saulius Beržinis, Aleksandras Bosas, and Giedrius Grabauskas. This memoir was translated by Geoff Vasil and the final version approved by the author.


My wife told me that the police who delivered the summons on the afternoon of July 8th 2014 carried a large A4 format photograph of me. The police had serious plans… If I hadn’t told my wife to accept the summons, I might have been subject to an operation to locate or even arrest me. It was possible to laugh, but I needed to find transportation. I didn’t want to take my car. There and back entailed five hours of driving. It would be exhausting, and the experience could be expected to throw me off balance during the interrogation.

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Dovid Katz’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



 

O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The following is the written version of Dovid Katz’s presentation at the International Conference on Holocaust Education organized by Rūta Vanagaitė as part of a Europe for Citizens project, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. Conference program. Conference’s final press release. Project website.

Politics, Policy, and Lithuanian Holocaust Discourse

 

Good afternoon. Sincerest thanks to everyone who made today possible, above all to dear Rūta Vanagaitė for successfully bringing together folks from many sides of today’s issues here in Vilnius for the first time in the twenty-first century, in the fine spirit of openness and tolerance that is particularly important, now, when politics and current events can easily deflate freedom of opinion on history, the progress of civil discourse, and the dignity of education.

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Defending History Team at Vilnius County Court to Support Evaldas Balčiūnas



VILNIUS—At yet another frivolous-case hearing this morning, four supporters of Defending History author Evaldas Balčiūnas turned out to provide moral support. Balčiūnas is a major critic of public shrines, street names and monuments that honor Holocaust perpetrators, as well as an active opponent of neo-Nazi marches and activities, especially those with tacit support from elements of government.

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Evaldas Balčiūnas at Vilnius County Court Next Monday 15 June 2015


VILNIUS THIS MONDAY:

FRIENDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, FREE SPEECH AND DEFENDING HISTORY INVITED TO COME OBSERVE  /  SUPPORT OUR WRITER

Evaldas Balčiūnas

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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?

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

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

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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Noreika Debate Crowned by Jewish Student Protest



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.

BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE

IN DRAMATIC REVERSAL ON GENOCIDE CENTER, LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY CHAIRPERSON FAINA KUKLIANSKY BLASTS CENTER FOR WHITEWASHING THE HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR. IN A HISTORIC STATEMENT (BRINGING HER INTO BROAD AGREEMENT WITH DH’S LONGSTANDING CRITIQUE) SHE ASKS WHAT KIND OF “HOLOCAUST EDUCATION” CAN PROCEED IN SUCH A CONTEXT.

JEWISH STUDENT LEADER AMIT BELAITĖ SPEAKS OUT WITH SINGULAR COURAGE

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Wiesenthal Center “Shocked at Whitewash of Lithuanian Holocaust Perpetrator”



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community for what it termed a “brazen whitewash of the Holocaust crimes of one of the perpetrators of the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.”

REPORT IN THE JERUSALEM POST

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No Surprise: Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Whitewashes Yet Another Nazi Collaborator



But many in Vilnius shocked as official Jewish Community website posts the statement with no response or comment (in English translation as well as the original Lithuanian); But mishap could be editor’s error. Simon Wiesenthal Center responds. Report in the Jerusalem Post.  Community’s leadership replies.

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Faina Kukliansky, Chair of Lithuanian Jewish Community, Issues Sharp Response to Latest Genocide Center Whitewash of a Local Holocaust Perpetrator



VILNIUS—The website of the Jewish Community of Lithuania today posted a powerful response by chairperson Faina Kukliansky to the statement released earlier in the week by the national state-funded “Genocide Center.” That statement attempted to whitewash the infamous Holocaust perpetrator and Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, and itself came as a response to a petition and series of articles last summer calling for removal of one of the public shrines to Noreika in the center of this city, the nation’s capital.

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