State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Court will Read Out Noreika Verdict Wednesday 27th at 1 PM in Historic Holocaust History Trial



VILNIUS—On March 27, Wednesday, at 1 PM here in Vilnius, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court will be reading its verdict on  the case filed by California resident Grant Gochin calling on  the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center, widely known as the Genocide Center, to revise its evaluation of Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika as a hero who is worthy of state honors. Hundreds of documents have been produced demonstrating beyond all doubt his participation in the Lithuanian Holocaust (see sample document). One of the case’s sensations was the powerful and historic statement condemning Noreik’a crimes produced by his granddaughter, the American educator and author Silvia Foti.

The public and the press are welcome to attend the conclusion of this historic trial at Žygimantų Street 2 in central Vilnius.

BACKGROUND

DH’s take. Report on 15 Jan. hearing. Report on 5 March hearing. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s 2012 article that brought Noreika to the attention of the English speaking world. Balčiūnas’s DH section.

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The Strange Holocaust Trial in the Lithuanian Capital



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Last Tuesday, 5 March 2019, a Vilnius court sat in judgment over an appeal to the state-sponsored “Genocide Center” by Grant Arthur Gochin, a financial advisor in California who is of Litvak heritage and was himself born in South Africa (he did not come in for the trial but was represented by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and academic specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas). The request in effect asked the Genocide Center (formally “The Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania” or LGGRTC) to revisit their refusal to re-examine the historical certificate they issued whitewashing Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika. In support, the plaintiff submitted a big stack of documents from Lithuania’s own archives, and claimed that the Center’s conclusions ignore or misinterpret a whole series of documents and that they are biased in their justification of Noreika and taking into account only “positive aspects” of his activities. The Center explained away some documents signed by Noreika by using other documents that were signed by the German administration much later, but failed to properly name the criteria according to which some witnesses and documents are deemed important and others are rejected. Gochin’s lawyer noted that responsibility for crimes to humanity is not canceled out by the fact that the perpetrator held office and was following orders.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Comments Off on The Strange Holocaust Trial in the Lithuanian Capital

Run-Up to Vilnius Trial on March 5th



EVENTS  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

 

California Financial Planner Takes Lithuania’s State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” to Court on March 5th for Enabling Gov. Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

   Proceedings are open to the public (Tuesday March 5th, 10 AM at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in central Vilnius). Media to date includes the BBC World ServiceChicago TribuneJTA. The plaintiff is California wealth advisor Grant Arthur Gochin whose family lost around 100 relatives in the Holocaust in the area where Noreika operated. He will be represented in Vilnius by attorney Rokas Rudzinskas and specialist Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, author of the Query that launched the case. He has a compelling letter of support from Noreika’s granddaughter, American educator and author Silvia Foti. See Ms. Foti’s remarkable 2018 essay in Salon, and the recent takes by Grant Gochin, Dovid Katz, Andrius Kulikauskas, and Efraim Zuroff.

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Lithuania Braces for Global Interest in Holocaust Perpetrator Noreika



OPINION  | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

by Andrius Kulikauskas

On February 14, BBC World Service Outlook presented a 23 minute conversation with Silvia Foti and Grant Gochin about Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika. Silvia Foti, born in Chicago, is the granddaughter of Noreika, and Grant Gochin, born in South Africa, and resident in California, is related to a hundred of his victims in the Šiauliai region. The radio show, “The truth about my ‘hero’ grandfather”, reached about 75 million listeners, a well-informed 1% of humanity.

Global interest is growing as Lithuania’s Genocide Center chooses to defend in court its refusal to reconsider its estimation of Jonas Noreika. In a similar spirit, on February 5, the State Security Department together with the Defense Ministry’s Intelligence and Counterintelligence Department warned in their 2019 National Threat Assessment Report to the Seimas: “Russian officials and subordinate propagandists seek to shape the attitude that only Nazi collaborators and Holocaust-complicit criminals supported the resistance against the Soviet occupation. To compromise the Lithuanian resistance the Kremlin cynically manipulates the Holocaust tragedy to achieve the goals of its history policy.”

See also: Defending History’s take. Evaldas Balčiūnas’s series of articles which brought this issue to the English speaking world starting in 2012. Prof. Pinchos Fridberg’s position that the Noreika issue cannot be about one single plaque in the sea of national glorification. DH’s section on Collaborators Glorified. Illustrations of a number of street names and state plaques that glorify alleged Holocaust collaborators. 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Holocaust collaborator prime minister. More. DH Editor’s academic papers on the wider historical and intellectual background.

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Noreika Trial Adjourned to March 5th after State-Sponsored “Genocide Center” Tells Panel of Judges it Needs Time to Study the Papers (that it has been familiar with for decades)



OPINION  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

Defending History was there. See Background and DH’s take on the trial.

THE PLAINTIFFS’ TABLE: Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas, longtime contributing writer at DH (left) represented absent American plaintiff Grant Gochin at the hearing on state honors for Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika, whose case was first brought to the English speaking world in 2012  by Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was also in attendance.  At right is attorney Rokas Rudzinskas. PHOTO © Defending History 2019.

VILNIUS—As the long-awaited trial opened this morning, the Genocide Center’s official and two lawyers explained to the three-judge panel that they need a lot of time to study so many documents, including some less-than-perfect printouts, hence an adjournment would be required. The next hearing was set for 5 March. In fact, the Genocide Center has for many  years been familiar with the documents demonstrating Jonas Noreika’s brutal Holocaust collaboration (and has for years tried to say that they prove “only” ethnic cleansing, expulsion, isolation and ghettoization, humiliation, and plunder of all the region’s citizens who were Jewish).

Just seven people came to observe (three of them from DH’s team, nobody from abroad). There was no local media coverage as of now. US, UK, Israeli embassies sent no observers. Efforts to “muzzle the whole thing” seem to have been effective.

Update of 19 Jan: media blackout at the national and local level here has continued unbroken as of today (except for “Putin-propagandist” pseudo-media)

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Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s “PR” Includes Disparagement of Rimvydas Valatka and Evaldas Balčiūnas over their Opposition to State Glorification of a Holocaust Collaborator



OPINION  | FREE SPEECH AND DEMOCRACY  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Editor’s note: The following Letter to Colleagues shared by Dr. Kulikauskas is followed by his own follow-up letter in Lithuanian to the office to which he was directed.

Dear Colleagues,

A colleague alerts us to the following anonymous presentation by the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry’s Strategic Communications Department and Public Relations’ Planning and Analysis Division on “The War for Hearts and Minds”, “Karas dėl širdžių ir protų”

This Department

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Holocaust History Trial Slated for 15 January in Vilnius


[LAST UPDATE]

OPINION  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE MUSEUM  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

As trials of alleged criminals come to an end, is the era of ‘history on trial’ getting underway?

OUR TAKE

Holocaust perpetrator: glorified in marble on the central boulevard of an EU capital?

On January 15th, 2019, at 10 AM, a momentous historic court case will unfold in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled to start at the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in the heart of the capital. Challenged by a call for removal of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika from the pantheon of national heroes (including street names, memorials and an inscribed stone block on the capital’s central boulevard), the state-sponsored “Genocide Center”, a bastion of far-right extremism that, in the opinion of many, does grave damage to the image of modern democratic Lithuania, will be defending Noreika using the hard-earned tax euros of the nation’s noble citizens. See the remarkable 2018 Salon magazine essay by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti; DH report by Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas on the action brought by Grant Gochin. Documents include the original query (15 June), Genocide Center’s response (19 July), Mr. Gochin’s legal complaint (10 August) and the Genocide Center’s response (1 Oct.).

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My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: Seven years ago,  journalist, researcher and ethicist Evaldas Balčiūnas, who was born, raised and continues to live in Lithuania, began his remarkable series of articles on state “heroes” who were alleged Holocaust collaborators (or perpetrators) with his 2012 essay on Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”), published in Lithuanian and the same year, in English in Defending History. As a result, Mr.  Balčiūnas (bal-CHOO-nass) was subjected to years of legal harassment and persecution by prosecutors, police, and assorted far-right “plaintiffs” (please scroll down to 22 May 2014 in the Balčiūnas section to follow the saga). The Defending History community is proud to have stood by Evaldas at each of the kangaroo trial hearings in Vilnius, and is delighted that all these years later, talented American campaigners with wherewithal have taken up the cause to major good effect, and have now brought the Noreika matter to the Vilnius courts (see report on 15th January  hearing). We hope that our American friends and colleagues will see their way clear to fully crediting Evaldas Balčiūnas’s work (and noting its consequences for him) on the various new websites and blogs established, including, for starters, the excellent online Captain Jonas Noreika Museum.

The first time I heard of Jonas Noreika was back in 1993. I was chatting with Petras Dargis in the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked, here in Šiauliai, northwestern Lithuania, when a man of short stature came in. He started to scold one of the reporters for his article on Jonas Noreika. These were the times — right after the Soviet system’s collapse — when various colleagues and friends were going through the deepest corners of their memory, looking for all sorts of bits and pieces of their past struggles and sufferings.

This was particularly the case when that which was perceived by some as “their battles” or perhaps even their “glorious episodes” amounted to extraordinary suffering for others. First, Noreika’s comrades came to the editorial office and told of glorious episodes of the (so-called) Uprising of June 1941, incarceration in Stutthof, and the post-war legend of General Vėtra (Noreika’s famous nom-de-guerre which translates: General Storm). The journalist published the story, referring to respectable historical sources.

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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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Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUSDr. Andrius Kulikauskas today released an appeal, in the Lithuanian language, that calls on fellow Lithuanian citizens to come together in opposing the ongoing national glorification of Holocaust collaborator J. Noreika in a spirit of historic integrity that would also lead to the inevitable conclusion that the controversial historical personage was in effect a Holocaust criminal. For some background on recent developments in the Noreika saga, set to culminate in a historic trial here in the Lithuanian capital on 15 January, see recent articles in DH’s Collaborators Glorified section.

The trial scheduled for 15 Jan. 2019. Sample Noreika document.

The Noreika case was first brought to the attention of the English speaking world by DH’s correspondent Evaldas Balčiūnas in 2012, as part of his series on “national heroes” who were Holocaust collaborators. As a result of those articles, Mr. Balčiūnas was subjected to years of prosecutorial harassment (scroll down to 2014 in his DH section). More recently, the 2018 bold article by Noreika’s granddaughter, American author and educator Silvia Foti in Salon resulted in New York Times coverage last September, that itself followed up on the paper’s March 2018 article on Holocaust related issues in Lithuania.

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Vilnius “Genocide Center” Defends Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator



“BELIEVE IT OR NOT”

Lithuania’s State Sponsored “Genocide Center” Goes to Court to Defend Legacy of Notorious Holocaust Collaborator

The Question: Does a vibrant and successful EU/NATO democracy really need expensive far-right history “fixing” units that adore Nazi collaborators,  stifle free debate of history and ethics, promote ultranationalism, and do untold damage to the country?

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Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Ends Up with DH Editor in Hit Job by Neo-Nazi Blogger



How did Lithuania’s Foreign Minister End Up Together with Defending History’s Editor in Hit Job by Nation’s Top Neo-Nazi Blogger?

“By doing the right thing, and calling for the removal of a central Vilnius plaque that honors a brutal Nazi collaborator”

LATEST ADDITION TO THE SERIES “OUR EDITOR IN THE NEO-NAZI IMAGINATION”

See also selection of the racist, homophobic, and misogynist output of a Baltic nation’s far-right blogger who is said to be an official in the Economy Ministry

 

There are ome strange twists in the 21st century history of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika (who continues to be honored by street names, plaques, engraved stones and more).

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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?

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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Grant Gochin Exposes Noreika’s Criminal Gang



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Lithuanian citizen Grant Gochin, a Litvak born in South Africa and living in California, has relentlessly challenged Lithuania’s Genocide Center to tell the truth about Jonas Noreika, whom the Center maintains can be considered an anti-Soviet and anti-Nazi hero despite his role as a Holocaust perpetrator. Gochin’s 40 page Query Regarding Jonas Noreika’s criminal gang, submitted on June 15, 2018, is available in a PDF file which includes the Lithuanian original (pages 49-89), the English translation (pages 1-45), and an extensive list of source materials (pages 90-100). Jonas  Noreika’s granddaughter Silvia Foti also contributed a letter in support of Grant’s query (pages 47-48). The Genocide Center has posted its 18 page response in Lithuanian. On its website it warns that “G.A.G Gochin’s ‘investigation’ of J. Noreika, without providing substantial proof, possibly violating the Republic of Lithuania’s Constitution and the Republic of Lithuania’s Criminal Code, accuses many individuals […]”.

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“Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

Eyewitness Report by Defending History Staff with photos by Julius Norwilla. His photo gallery available here.

 

Lead banner reads: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE. This year’s “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941.

For more on the six figures depicted on the lead banner, follow the links for (from left):  Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and  Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.

It started off as a sanitized version of neo-Nazi culture made to look like just “mainstream nationalist.” But by the time the event reached its peak, it featured hundreds of people carrying torches through some of the oldest streets of Vilnius Old Town, while worshiping a banner featuring six alleged Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Holocaust per se, thereby symbolically expressing some kind of glee at the successful ethnic cleansing which these “heroes” supported. The Catholic Church gave the events a de facto  blessing. The two open voices of morally clear protest were of the Jewish activist Daniel Lupshitz and the Catholic professor Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Defending History’s Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz monitored the event.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas), Dovid Katz, Events, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on “Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit

Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In a 2012 article in Defending History, I asked why Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika is made into a “national hero” here in Lithuania, one honored by street names and public plaques. Since then protests have come, among others, from a somewhat obscured  petition by Lithuanian intellectuals,  an appeal from journalist and Declaration of Independence signatory Rimvydas Valatka, Lithuania’s official Jewish community, Grant Gochin, a South African born author resident in the United States, and others. These appeals, all from 2015, were crowned by a rare protest by Jewish students at a Noreika shrine in central Vilnius (see Defending History’s guide for English readers to the links in the 2015 debate).

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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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Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’



22 July 2016 Defending History Eyewitness Report

VERDICT IN: EVALDAS BALČIŪNAS NOT GUILTY (AFTER 4 YEARS OF HARASSMENT AND A DOZEN 450 KM ROUND TRIPS FROM HOME — BUT COURT ALLOWS FAR RIGHT “PLAINTIFF” 20 DAYS TO APPEAL)

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Posted in Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , | Comments Off on Defending History Writer Evaldas Balčiūnas Is Found ‘Not Guilty’