OPINION | LITHUANIAN JEWISH AFFAIRS | CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS | COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED | GENOCIDE CENTER
by Andrius Kulikauskas
On March 27, 2019, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court ruled against Grant Gochin as to his complaint against the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center. He will have to pay the Center’s legal fees. The Genocide Center proceeded to triumphantly depict Jonas Noreika as a flawless hero, yet in places the contrary view is breaking through the one-sided, subservient reporting by most of the Lithuanian press.
The essence of Grant Gochin’s complaint was that the Center had been unobjective, incomplete, and abused its power in replying to his “Query Regarding Jonas Noreika’s Criminal Gang” and in refusing to change its certificate about Jonas Noreika. Holocaust perpetrator Captain Jonas Noreika is celebrated in Lithuania with honors, statues, plaques, and street names.
The Court ruled that “…the Court cannot take on the Center’s prescribed functions nor its powers…”
The Center’s main argument had been that Gochin had no material interest in the certificate about Jonas Noreika. This was most callous, given that Gochin counts 100 relatives as victims of the Holocaust, with quite a number of them in Šiauliai District, where Jonas Noreika was District Chief. Government agencies refer to the certificate as the basis for honoring Noreika.
DH’s eyewitness report with links to (scant) media coverage
The Court deemed instead that the issue at hand was not the certificate, but Gochin’s query. Was his query a question or a complaint? His query was a question, and as such, did not involve his material interest. Thus the narrow issue that remained was whether the Center, in providing answers to Gochin’s query, had been thorough, unbiased, and did not abuse power. The Court affirmed that the Center had indeed provided detailed answers to Gochin’s questions. For the Court, the answers themselves, on which the two sides had disagreed so profoundly, were entirely irrelevant.
This case showed that individuals such as Gochin could not oblige the Center to mind the truth. The Center deems its own truth by which it fashions national historic policy. The Center reports directly to the Seimas, Lithuania’s Parliament.
Consequently, only the Seimas can oversee the Center.