Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator

Vilnius Winter Mystery: When the Curtain Comes Down — Noreika or No Noreika?



 J. NOREIKA | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

  • Vilnius winter mystery: When the curtain comes down — Noreika or No Noreika? Have they gone over the top to bury the Noreika Question at Vilnius’s Library of Sciences? In freezing  midwinter days, a city, and concerned observers internationally, wonder whether the brutal Holocaust perpetrator’s glory plaque is gone forever as Vilnius comes to embrace Western sensibilities, or whether a powerful clique of far-right antisemitic Holocaust-revisionist officials, academics and operatives will again stand in the way of Lithuania’s progress. Across the river, visible to the right of the Noreika Plaque Curtain are the “two green buildings” erected right on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery earlier this century in a drive to obliterate the storied cemetery, a drive that has now grown to include refurbishment (instead of demolition) of  a hated Soviet ruin in its center. DefendingHistory.com photo by William Adan Pahl.

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New American Ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, Makes History Rapidly



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | NOREIKA SAGA | JUOZAS KRIKSTAPONIS  MONUMENTU.S.A.

America’s new ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, makes a dramatic entrance that will go down in history, citing  glorified Holocaust perpetrators Krikštaponis and Noreika by name, in first major interview:

“I will continue to speak out strongly against the glorification of individuals who are known and documented to have participated in the Holocaust. This is part of the definition of antisemitism.”

New US ambassador in Vilnius HE Kara McDonald

THE INTERVIEW ON BNS/LRT

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, United States, US State Dept Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on New American Ambassador in Vilnius, HE Kara McDonald, Makes History Rapidly

A Great European City’s 700th Birthday: Will They Now Take Down Vilnius Public-Space Honors for Holocaust Collaborators?


[LATEST UPDATE. PAGE PUBLISHED ON 1 JAN. 2023]

VILNIUS—The Defending History community celebrates the 700th birthday of Vílna (today’s beautiful Vilnius — capital of the democratic EU state Lithuania; in Yiddish — Vílne; Polish Wilno; Belarusian Vilna; German Wilna) in the spirit of love for a city whose hundreds of years of harmony brought such magnificent cultural achievements in an array of cultures and languages. One of them is its Jewish legacy. Briefest of examples: Thousands of books in Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish were published in the nineteenth century alone. The Gaon of Vilna and the founders of modern Yiddish scholarship walked these streets.

The universally revered founder of Vilnius, Grand Duke Gediminas (Gedymin) built his new capital in 1323 as a harmonious symphony of humanistic diversity, a legacy that pulsates even today on the city’s charming streets. He is surely looking down on his city aghast at these “monuments” (in effect) to Aryanist ethnic purity, via the glorification of “nationalist heroes” who joined the Holocaust to kill as many Jewish citizens as possible. The Gediminist spirit will emerge triumphant, wait and see…

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Kazys Škirpa, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Great European City’s 700th Birthday: Will They Now Take Down Vilnius Public-Space Honors for Holocaust Collaborators?

Yad Vashem Director Dani Dayan, Speaking in Lithuanian Parliament, Boldly Raises the Glorification of Holocaust Collaborators Noreika, Škirpa and Krikštaponis


[UPDATES TO 3 OCT. 2023]

OPINION | IT PAYS TO DEFEND HISTORY | YAD VASHEM AND LITHUANIA | ISRAEL SECTION | ISRAEL DEBATE CHRONICLE

by Dovid Katz

The modest but resolute Defending History community, in Vilnius and internationally, in unanimity today expressed heartfelt congratulations to Yad Vashem director Dani Dayan who broke dramatically, and publicly, with decades of what the last Lithuanian Holocaust survivors considered to be tragic betrayal and appeasement, often under presumed political pressure (see our report from earlier this week and Defending History’s section “Yad Vashem and Lithuania“).

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan (photo courtesy Yad Vashem)

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NATO Conference’s Noreika-Go-Round of Vilnius Monument to Brutal Holocaust Collaborator?


[updated, originally: 8 May 2023]


OPINION | J. NOREIKA | COLLABORATOR GLORIFICATION | VILNIUS: 700 YEARS CELEBRATION

by Mark Blumberg (Tel Aviv)



Lithuanian media has recently reported on the “temporary removal for repairs” of one of the numerous public-space state-sanctioned memorials glorifying local Holocaust collaborators in Vilnius, the nation’s capital. It is the notorious Noreika plaque, affixed to the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. It is situated a few minutes walk from Cathedral Square in the very heart of the EU member capital city that was once known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania for its extraordinary Jewish cultural and scholarly creativity.

Defending History

SUPPORTS UKRAINE!

The plaque, with its incorporated bas-relief sculpture glorifies Jonas Noreika, a brutal Hitler collaborator implicated in the incarceration, humiliation and genocide of many thousands of Jews in northwestern Lithuania during the Holocaust. Noreika is subject of the truth-telling book of the war criminal’s own granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti, Michael Kretzmer’s major new documentary film, J’Accuse! and over a decade of campaigning by the Defending History team based in Vilnius. In Lithuania, 96.4% of Jewish citizens perished in the Holocaust, in the top league, along with neighboring Latvia, of Holocaust era Europe.

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Defending History Monitors Annual Far-Right Vilnius March on 16 Feb. 2021



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FAR-RIGHT MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—This year the ultranationalist gathering on today’s February 16th national independence day took place in the Old Town, at the newly erected statute of Lithuanian author, scholar and patriot, Jonas Basanavičius, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of 1918. Beside the national tricolors, I saw two more types of flags for “Pro Patria” and “Nacionalinis susivienijimas” (National Unity). Pro Patria is known as an ultranationalist movement targeting youth and an outlet of homophobic, Holocaust revisionist and xenophobic materials and initiatives. The National Unity seems to be mostly the same group of people, aspiring perhaps somewhat more to national politics.

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Saving the Vilna Jewish Cemetery (and Removing the Noreika Plaques): Time for a Strong Cup of Coffee



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Julius Norwilla

The author’s silent and peaceful Protest of Snow of Feb. 2021. View from across the river reminds Vilna that this is the Lithuanian capital’s Old Jewish Cemetery. Photo: Bartosz Frątczak.

The Lithuanian state budget for 2021 is torn between the need to increase spending on vital areas during a time of significantly less income. For the pandemic year of 2021, the postponement of some half a million euros toward initial stages of the (shameful) convention center project in the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery has not, in fact, been a big issue. Nor is it the great “victory” for our movement to save the cemetery that it has been trumped up to be. Half a million euros is about one percent of the total real budget. First, the convention center (Sports Palace restoration) project has been classified as of national significance. Second, there has been no decision of any kind to move the convention center to a new morally clean venue, away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, as per the call of some 54,000 people in Ruta Bloshtein’s petition.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Saving the Vilna Jewish Cemetery (and Removing the Noreika Plaques): Time for a Strong Cup of Coffee

Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



GLORIFICATION OF HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS  |  JONAS NOREIKA  | DOUBLE GENOCIDE   |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES MANIPULATING HISTORY?  | ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—A former foreign minister and current MP, Audronius Ažubalis, today published, in partnership with a younger right-wing MP, a public appeal (on the main news portal Delfi.lt), to the current foreign minister to revoke his 2019 agreement with the Western consensus that Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika should not be the object of state-sponsored glorification in a NATO or EU member state.

Mr. Ažubalis, a stalwart of the right-wing Homeland Union and Christian Democratic party, has a long history “with the Jews and the Holocaust.” In 2010, all 21 members of the board of the Jewish Community of Lithuania signed an official protest at the then foreign minister’s antisemitic remarks. Then, in 2012, when eight bold Lithuanian parliamentarians (six MPs and two MEPs) signed the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD), in opposition to the 2008 Prague Declaration that is the “constitution” of the Double Genocide movement, the then foreign minister issued his infamous remark about the only difference between Hitler and Stalin being the length of their moustaches. He rapidly accused the eight Lithuanian parliamentarians (all Social Democrats) of being Putinist lackeys.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Calls on Present FM to Renounce View & Support State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Hundreds of Far-Right Marchers Chant “Škirpa and Noreika Are Our Heroes” in Vilnius Old Town on Independence Day



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—While local and international human rights organizations ignored the gifting of Vilnius Old Town to far-right marchers glorifying Holocaust collaborators, Defending History’s small team, comprising Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz and Julius Norwilla were on hand to monitor the event. The dusk-to-nighttime torchlit procession today started at the Gates of Dawn, with participation of Catholic officials, and made its way downhill through Castle Street, stopping to pay homage at the plaque to Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika, and continuing on to the final destination of the former Škirpa Street (renamed Tricolor Street, after a long campaign started a decade ago by Defending History). Kazys Škirpa, though in Berlin at the time of the Holocaust, was a theoretician of the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish population, and an effective inspirer and cheerleader of local participation in the genocide.

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Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OUR TAKE ON THE LATEST IN THE 7 YEAR OLD NOREIKA SAGA

VILNIUSLRT state television reported that an American religious Jewish school would held a polite protest outside the Lithuanian consulate in New York on Yom Hashoah, 2 May, to protest the Lithuanian government’s continued state-sponsored glorification of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika and others. The protest was carried out by students of the Rambam Mesivta High School, under the guidance of its renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. See Defending History’s report on the event.

Lithuanian Public Television’s Special Investigation of the controversy over Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika was supposed to air on Thursday May 2 at 7:30 PM (19:30), including an interview with Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. But the program did not air. Instead, the LRT website posted an “Open Letter Regarding the Increase of Tension in Society” signed by four leaders of  Lithuanian (ultra)nationalist organizations. The letter specifically attacks Chicago resident Silvia Foti, Noreika’s granddaughter, California resident Grant Gochin, and other critics of the glorification of Holocaust collaborators, while claiming that Noreika, Škirpa, Brazaitis, Krikštaponis and Kraujelis are national heroes. LRT.lt added a remark clarifying that, according to the Genocide Center, Krikštaponis participated in the mass murder of Jews. The article claims that criticism of glorification of Holocaust collaborators is the work of “Moscow.”

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Latest on State Honors for Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Hundreds of Rambam Mesivta High School Protest Peacefully at New York’s Lithuanian Consulate



NEW YORK CITY—Hundreds of Jewish high school students from the New York area, pupils at Rambam Mesivta High School, demonstrated peacefully and with dignity outside the Lithuanian Consulate in New York City yesterday, led by their renowned principal, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman. The day was Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, and the occasion was the Lithuanian government’s continued glorification of Jonas Noreika, a major Holocaust collaborator who participated in the destruction of thousands of the country’s citizens in 1941. The Noreika debate is now seven years old, and can be followed chronologically in Defending History (see most recent update).

Students chanted, “Your hero is a Nazi!”

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American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE POLICIES  |  THE NOREIKA SAGA  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS    |  LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Author Silvia Foti, the American granddaughter of the notorious Lithuanian Holocaust collaborator, Jonas Noreika, has been described as “exceptionally courageous” for publicly telling the truth about her grandfather, whom far-right elements in the Lithuanian government and its “history fixing agencies” continue to revere with street names, plaques and state-contrived history. That rewriting of history has a “higher purpose” — to downgrade the Holocaust and beyond whitewashing, to recast the local perpetrators as “heroes” (because they were “anti-Soviet,” a description that could match close to 100% of the East European Holocaust murderers). He is only one of a series of collaborators in the destruction of around 96% of Lithuanian Jewry (among the highest proportions in Holocaust-era Europe) who are regarded as “national heroes” in tandem with the vast, and lavishly state-financed, campaign to rewrite World War II as “two equal genocides,” thereby, according to some, seeking to  write the Holocaust out of history as unique event here — without denying a single death.

This week, Ms. Foti launched an international petition boldly entitled  “Remove all honors awarded to my grandfather Jonas Noreika.” In some ways, it is a follow-up to an earlier petition, launched some years ago by London-based Monica Lowenberg.

TO SIGN THE PETITION 

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on American Author Silvia Foti Launches Petition Asking Lithuanian Gov. to Abandon State Honors for her Grandfather, Collaborator J. Noreika

How I Feel about Street Names & Public Plaques for Alleged Holocaust Collaborators



OPINION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Roza Bieliauskienė

The twentieth century was drenched in upheavals, blood and tears. New states were founded, others were destroyed and above all, it cost so many people a huge price: to suffer broken lives and fates or to be senselessly killed. If not for the world wars, how much more would humankind have reached in science, art, literature, technology, economy and more.

 Over seventy years have passed since the end of the Holocaust, and, as in the legend of Till Eulenspiegel the ashes of our people‘s annihilation during the Holocaust is still in our hearts. We do not forget them, every year we come to Ponár (Paneriai), to the fortresses of Kaunas. In my case, also to the Pivonijos forest where in the period from July to September of 1941 so many of my relatives, all simple peaceful civilians, perished, they of the Reitenbort and Kahan families. We also visit other places of mass killings.

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Vilnius Plaque Glorifying Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika is Smashed by Stanislovas Tomas, Maverick Candidate for European Parliament



All on film, streamed live Monday morning 8 April 2019, from candidate’s bilingual statements through to his calling the police and their eventual arrival to make the arrest

VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

(plaque smashing at 14:30; English segments at 04:10; 22:40)

UPDATE OF 18 APRIL 2019: PLAQUE RESTORED BY MUNICIPALITY

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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, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, 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

Summer 2018 Discourse on Proposed Removal of Plaques & Street Names Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika



COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  BOLD LITHUANIAN CITIZENS SPEAK OUT  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS 

Lithuanian State Glorification of Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika Reaches New York Times

AFTER

Silvia Foti Boldly Confronts Legacy of her Grandfather, Jonas Noreika

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer 2018 Discourse on Proposed Removal of Plaques & Street Names Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrator Jonas Noreika

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, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, 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, Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, 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

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", Ins and Outs of the Central Vilnius Noreika Plaque Glorifying a Brutal Holocaust Collaborator, Kazys Škirpa, 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?