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.
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, recent documentary films, 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.