Tag Archives: Jonas Noreika

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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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Prosecutors & Police 'Investigate' DH Author Evaldas Balčiūnas, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Seven Long Years with Jonas Noreika (“General Storm”)

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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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dr. Kulikauskas Issues Call to Lithuanian Society to Join Together in Dealing with Legacy of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika

Is Yad Vashem Legitimizing Vilnius “Genocide Center”?



OPINION  |  YAD VASHEM MANIPULATED  |  GENOCIDE CENTER

 Under Pressure of Israeli Foreign Ministry?

Vilnius Genocide Center: “Legitimized” by 19 Nov. Yad Vashem Conference in Jerusalem?

Its chief historian Dr. A. Bubnys is a major speaker; See DH review of his book on the Vilna Ghetto and report on Jewish community’s response to his publication on the Shavl (Šiauliai) Ghetto. Are pliant “Jewish academics” being flown in and wheeled out to provide cover for the newest chapters in Holocaust revisionism? These include East European state glorification of collaborators and denial of the outbreak of mass violence by the LAF and other “nationalist heroes” against Jewish neighbors before the onset of German administration in the last week of June 1941.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Dr. Rokhl (Rachel) Margolis (1921-2015), Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Yad Vashem Legitimizing Vilnius “Genocide Center”?

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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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, 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

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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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Collaborators Glorified, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Grant Gochin Exposes Noreika’s Criminal Gang

The World Celebrates Professor Greimas With No Regard for His Victims



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Greimas00

 

Renowned Lithuanian-French thinker Algirdas Julius Greimas (1917-1992) was more forthcoming than most about his dubious, or frankly, criminal behavior as a young man.

Greimas01

From his interviews we know that in 1940, he gave public speeches in support of Soviet annexation of Lithuania. And in 1941, he served as an editor for the newspaper Tėvynė in Šiauliai, which repeatedly called for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mažvydas National Library (Issues Arising), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The World Celebrates Professor Greimas With No Regard for His Victims

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

September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region



DEFENDING HISTORY WAS THERE

Annual Sept. 23 Official Commemoration Ceremony at the Ponár (Paneriai) Mass Murder Site Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

Historic Breakthrough as Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky Finally Calls for Removal of Street Names and Memorials for Holocaust Collaborators, Boldly Citing Juozas KrikštaponisJonas Noreika, and Kazys Škirpa; Sharp Contrast with Last Year’s Failed Event

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Lithuania's Jewish Community Issues, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region

Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?



O P I N I O N    /    C O L L A B O R A T O R S   G L O R I F I E D   /   G E N O C I D E    C E N T E R

by Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

“I am a former Lithuanian soldier myself and have a personal remark to make. Nobody will ever force me to wear the uniform of another country’s armed forces, because I am a Lithuanian patriot. I will not wear the uniform of Russia or of Mozambique.”

Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė

One of the main Lithuanian dailies Lietuvos žinios (Lithuanian News) reported in an article on 24 November 2015  that the council of the celebrated Sajūdis organization (famed for its role in resisting the USSR and helping to achieve Lithuanian independence), had now, in 2015, decided to apply to prosecutors to take legal action over an article that had appeared in the 13 October 2015 edition of Laisvas laikraštis (Free Newspaper).

Sajūdis “decided” that the author  had violated the law because he mentioned that Lithuanian postwar militants Vytautas Žemaitis, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra), Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas and others might have been personally involved in Holocaust atrocities. [Editor’s note: See articles by Evaldas Balčiūnas on the alleged Holocaust involvement of Žemaitis, Noreika, and Baltūsis -Žvejas.]

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Free Speech & Democracy, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Human Rights, Kristina Apanavičiūtė Sulikienė, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sweden | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Would the “Genocide Center” in Vilnius Manipulate History and Glorify Murderers?

The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

 

Who was Jonas Noreika?

Jonas Noreika (1910-1947), also known by his nom de guerre, General Vėtra, has been named by the current Lithuanian government as “an important member of the resistance” and an object of every sort of heroic commemoration.

In 1997 he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis, First Degree. The same year a memorial plaque was placed on the facade of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences Library in Vilnius.

Library of the Academy of Sciences in Vilnius. The red arrow marks the Noreika plaque.

Noreika plaque in central Vilnius

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Dr. Arūnas Bubnys and State Holocaust Revisionism in Lithuania, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Plungyán (Plungė), Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika, Symbology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Posthumous Remaking of a Holocaust Perpetrator in Lithuania: Why is Jonas Noreika a National Hero?

Critiques of the Red-Brown Commission



1998    2001-2007    2008-2011    2012-2013    2014-2015    2016   2017-2018    2019   2022


◊ 
SEE ALSO:

DH editor’s take

Video: Commission’s director about Fania Btantsovsky and other Jewish partisan heroes defamed by antisemitic prosecutors

Page on the Commission

Section on the Commission

Commission’s Own Website

2015 Appeal to conscience of members of the Commission

2015 Appeal by one of the last Vilnius Holocaust survivors

 


Holocaust Survivors expressed grave concerns about the Commission at its inception in 1998. As PDF. See also 1998 letter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.


From Karen Sutton’s The Massacre of the Jews of Lithuania. Lithuanian Collaboration in the Final Solution, 1941 – 1944 (published by Gefen, Jerusalem & NY 2008; excerpt from p. 211):

Sutton revised


From David Bankier’s  Expulsion and Extermination: Holocaust Testimonials from Provincial Lithuania (published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 2012; excerpt from page 204):

Bankier on red-brown commission


From Yitzhak Arad’s “The Holocaust in Lithuania, and its Obfuscation, in Lithuanian Sources” (2012):

Arad on Commission


 

2001-2007

Efraim Zuroff (Vilnius 2001)

Efraim Zuroff (Jerusalem 2005)

Efraim Zuroff (Jerusalem 2007)


2008-2013

Sir Martin Gilbert resigned in 2008:


Jewish Community of Lithuania and Uni0n of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners (Vilnius 2008). Letter contains the text:

‘The fact that the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” established by the President (chaired by E. Zingeris), did not publicly defend its own member Yitzhak Arad, or the other Jewish anti-Nazi partisans, is also surprising.’

Jewish Community of Lithuania and Uni0n of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners (Vilnius 2008)

Karen Sutton, professor of history at Touro College in New York, in her The Massacre of the Jews of Lithuania (see Recent Books → 2008; Background →  2008):

‘Despite a number of half-hearted measures and ill-conceived historical commissions, contemporary Lithuania has much soul-searching to do to come to terms with what happened [….]’ (p 209); ‘Both the historical commission and the lethargy of the Lithuanian Department of Justice on the issue of alleged war criminals have elicited an enormous outpouring of opposition from the Lithuanian Jewish survivor community and — “symmetrically” — tacit approval of the general non-Jewish population’ (p 211).

Yad Vashem (Jerusalem 2008)

Geoff Vasil (Vasiliauskas) (Vilnius 2008)

Valdas Vasiliauskas (Vilnius 2008);  English translation


Professor Dov Levin demanded removal of his name in 2008:


Avi Friedman (Jerusalem 2009)

Dovid Katz (Vilnius 2009a)

Dovid Katz (Vilnius 2009b)

Shimon Samuels (Paris 2009, presented at Warsaw); alternate link

Jonathan Freedland (London 2009)

Clemens Heni (Berlin 2009)PDF

Esther Goldberg (London 2010)

Dovid Katz (Vilnius 2010);  in Russian translation

Dovid Katz (Vilnius 2010b)

Dovid Katz (Vilnius 2010c)

Bildungswerk für Friedensarbeit e.V. (2011)

2011: Commission’s understanding of “Holocaust Studies”  revealed at the Lithuanian parliament in the speech of its executive director / director general.

Professor Konrad Kwiet resigned in 2011:


2012-2014

28 August 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Yad Vashem shocks Holocaust survivors by rejoining Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission”’.

31 August 2012.  Lietuvos rytas: ‘Taking an interest in Nazi and Soviet crimes is a response to Russian propaganda’.  English translation.  DefendingHistory.com comments.

3 September 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘English text of Joseph Melamed’s letter to Yad Vashem’.

3 September 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Joseph Melamed, head of Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors’ association, releases letter to director of Yad Vashem’.

3 September 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Holocaust survivors, based in Tel aviv, issue statement on renewal of red-brown commission’.

21 November 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘When the politicians run the conferences on — history’ by Evaldas Balčiūnas.

21 November 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Red-Brown circus in Lithuanian capital’.

26 December 2012.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Tell me I’m wrong’ by Geoff Vasil.

1 January 2013.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Instead of truth about the Holocaust — myths about saving Jews’  by Pinchos Fridberg.

15 January 2013.   The Algemeiner: ‘Instead of truth about the Holocaust — Myths about saving Jews’ by Pinchos Fridberg.

17 January 2013.  DefendingHistory.com: ‘Red-brown commission’s newest layer of obfuscation: Are names of members secret?

27 January 2013US Researcher is Persuaded that the Problem in Lithuania is called “Zuroff and Katz” …

21 February 2013.  Executive director of the red-brown commission calls prominent Vilnius Holocaust survivor a ‘liar’ on the commission’s website.

28 May 2013.  Executive director of the commission uses paper at Riga conference to personally attack Defending History editor.

21 June 2013.  One of the commission’s new members, the head of the research department art the Genocide Center, tries yet again, in a public interview, to whitewash th LAF murderers of June 1041. Geoff Vasil replies.

5 December 2013.  Commission ‘does’ Toronto.

 


2014-2015

2 March 2014.  Defending History’s English translation of the public correspondence between Vilnius Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg and Yivo director Dr. Jonathan Brent concerning the commission. Original appeared on 1 March in Yiddish in New York’s Forward (Forverts).

8 March 2014.  Olga Zabludoff comments on the misrepresentations by the commission’s representative on a panel discussion organized by Yivo in New York City in February 2014.

15 March 2014.  Defending History’s appeal to the conscience of the members of the commission.


2016

18 November 2016.  Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust (University of Haifa, Institute for Holocaust Research), vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 1–30: ‘Is East European “Double Genocide” revisionism reaching museums?’ by Dovid Katz.

22 November 2016.  ISGAP Flashpoint: ‘Antisemitism in the twenty-first century shtetl’ by Dovid Katz.


2017

December 2017. Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust (University of Haifa, Institute for Holocaust Research), vol. 31.3, pp. 285-295: “The Extraordinary Recent History of Holocaust Studies in Lithuania” by Dovid Katz.


2019

August 2019. Lithuania’s official Jewish Community reports that the executive director of the “red-brown commission” is under police investigation for corruption.


2022

April 2022. Red-Brown Commission seems to abandon any distancing from the far-right state-sponsored Genocide Center, whose director has long been a regular participant in far-right antisemitic events that often glorify local Holocaust collaborators as supposed heroes. See Evaldas Balčiūnas’s review of  a book by Genocide Center director A.Bubnys, published in Lithuanian only by the Commission, and its implications for the wider debate.

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