“Surreal” Nov. 29th Vilnius Public Debate on Street Named for Nazi Collaborator


In Vilnius, City Council Holds “Surreal” Public Debate on 29 Nov. 2016 on Street Name Honoring a Nazi Collaborator; But Will the Mayor (Who Did Not Attend) Ever Speak Out with Moral Clarity?

Keynote speaker was Mark Adam Harold, the British born city councillor who “courageously and dramatically” proposed renaming the street that currently honors Nazi collaborator K. Škirpa.

Vilnius City Councillor Mark Adam Harold listening during a torrent of abuse as audience members made their way to the microphone during the discussion period. PHOTO: JULIUS NORWILLA.


The one young Lithuanian Jew in attendance, acclaimed opera soloist Rafailas Karpis, provided bold, proud and elegantly conciliatory pushback to a certain odious, fascist-adoring element in the hall.

Vilnius opera soloist Rafailas Karpis takes the podium. PHOTO: JULIUS NORWILLA.

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas documents the ethnic-cleansing legacy of Kazys Škirpa (in DH, in 2015)


 City councillor Harold’s April 2016 proposal to rename the streetPre-event details of the evening, held at Old Town Hall, were on official city website (but not mentioned on their English events page…). Other pre-event coverage includes Roberta Tracevičiūtė’s article in LZ with quote from V. Landsbergis; Dovid Katz’s FB page.

Official Lithuanian Jewish Community chairperson Faina Kukliansky sent a written statement to the event. Tomas VenclovaSergey Kanovich’s speech (in LT). Journalist (and Lithuanian Declaration of Independence signatory) Rimvydas ValatkaGeoff Vasil’s report (in LZB.lt). Councillor Harold’s 2 Dec. reply to critics (15min.lt). Speeches supporting the street name include Vidmantas Valiušaitis; Meanwhile, municipality of Nazi collaborator’s native town puts up new memorial…

British-origin Vilnius City Council member Mark Adam Harold, proposer of the street’s name change, addressing the gathering

DH page on public honors for collaborators. DH section. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s appeal to his nation to stop glorifying Nazi collaborators. Balčiūnas section.

But where is Prof. Timothy Snyder now? His own book notes that Škirpa “spurred mobs to murder” Jewish civilians. As recipient of government’s Gold Star, Prof. Snyder is in a strong position to take a moral stand.

Two thought experiments: (1) Would there be a public debate on a street name whose hero was found to have deported innocent people to Soviet Siberia? (2) On a street name in Atlanta, Georgia, whose hero was found to be a proponent of white-supremacist ethnic cleansing policies?


This entry was posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius. Bookmark the permalink.
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