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July 2, 2015 2:21 pm

Lithuanian Officials Skip Local Commemoration of Kaunas Pogrom, Lietūkis Garage Massacre

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Dozens attended the 74th commemoration of the Kaunus massacre, but no local officials bothered to show up. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

Dozens attended the 74th commemoration of the Kaunus massacre, but no local officials bothered to show up. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

A somber memorial was held last week to mark the 74th anniversary of the Lietūkis Garage massacre and the Kaunas pogrom in Lithuania, in which thousands of Jews were killed in just a few days.

The ceremony was held in a courtyard in the center of the city last Friday and attended by Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon as well as staff from the recently inaugurated Israeli Embassy in Vilnius, which opened its doors in March.

But no Lithuanian officials bothered to attend the commemoration, despite the fact that it was Lithuanian volunteers who by eyewitness accounts largely committed the slaughter.

“For me, a native of Kaunas (Kovno), it is obvious that the Lietūkis Garage massacre is the blackest page in the entire history of my native city and country as well,” wrote Julius Norwilla, a local who attended the ceremony. “But where are the discussions about its significance? Instead of discussion, it is increasingly a sort of public secret, the details of which are made available only for experts of our newest history.”

The Lietūkis Garage massacre was carried out by local Lithuanian “patriots” wearing the white armbands of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), who “butchered dozens of Jewish passers-by at a garage on Kaunas’s Vytautas Avenue, using a variety of execution methods, including clubbing to death with crowbars, and particularly, forcing water from high-pressure hoses into bodily orifices of the victims until they burst. A growing crowd, including women holding up their young children to get the best views, cheered them on.”

Norwilla described a memorial plaque at the site as “shy and slight” and shrouded in pine branches. He said well under 100 people attended the ceremony on Friday.

“There were no official representatives of the Lithuanian government, despite its many and expensive efforts to project an international sense of seriousness about commemoration of the Holocaust and a supposed determination to finally tell the whole truth about the local participation,” he wrote.

“Ambassador Amir Maimon had a very clear message, and if I am not mistaken, he was the only speaker to make the point that the people who carried out the massacre were citizens of Kaunas. He went on to acknowledge some recent improvements to the site by the Kaunas municipality to honor the memory of the innocent victims, also citizens of Kaunas,” wrote Norwilla.

The pogrom was encouraged by Nazi officers during the first few days of the Nazi occupation in Lithuania. It was launched on June 25, 1941. According to eyewitness accounts, Lithuanian volunteers were mostly behind the slaughter of the city’s Jews, whose community in the area dated back as far as 1410. According to Nazi records, some 1,500 Jews were killed that night alone, and another 2,300 over the next few days.

Around 95% of Lithuanian Jewry was wiped out during the Holocaust.

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  • Lithuania as all eastern European countries,are in denial,of their complicity regarding the Holooust,their leaders did not show up,shame on them. It’s up to us,to publicise and let the world and all descent people know the gruesome history,and the fact that the perpetrators decadents are not better, by ignoring or denying or trivialising,it’s wors. Wright to newspaper editors,some may decide to print.

  • sandra borr

    And to those who implore Jews to leave Israel and return to Poland, Lithuania,etc. I ask, Why would any Jew do so? As if they had any reason to return…or any community to rejoin. Around 95% of Lithuanian Jewry was wiped out during the Holocaust. And to those who deny the holocaust ever happened.. I say that I bless my relatives who saw no future in remaining and who left Lithuania before 1900. And now I understand why they never looked back. They never recalled the “old country” fondly. They came here with nothing, but they flourished here. They cherished the USA. Thank you to my Jewish grandparents and their families who left none of theirs behind. Living well is the best revenge.

  • The European continent facing the onslaught of Islam, which is the proper punishment for the Holocaust. Almost every country participated in it with a few exceptions. Amongst the worst where the Lithuanians, if it’s possible they were more brutal than the SS and Gestapo together.

  • zadimel

    Where are the remaining comments?

  • As I just wrote on the BBC site mentioning the death of Sir Nicholas Winton, the countries of Europe as well as The United States of America should still be begging forgiveness from the Jewish People, but they are colluding with Iran to commit a 2nd Holocaust.

  • Raymond Gork

    I am a little curious as to why the world’s mainstream press doesn’t pick up on the story of the Baltic nations’ complicity in the Holocaust. The Guardian seems to keep very silent,as does the BBC, but they’re all too ready to pontificate on the “crimes” of the Israelis, and “Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians”. Very strange, indeed.

  • Dani

    Why do we have diplomatic relations with such an insensitive nation?

  • zadimel

    Where are the nine comments?

  • zadimel

    Lithuanian hatred for the Jew for being a Jew has not waned. They used the excuse in 1941 of the Nazi occupation. There is no excuse today except for their continuing extreme enmity and prejudice.

  • Robert Davis

    To my thinking lithuania is an excellent candidate for a miniature nuke attack wiping out the whole of this wretched lithuanian population.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Never, never, again.

    And yet Zionist extremism still tries to push Jewish communities into supporting the Right – in America a very extreme Right

    Those who do not learn from history…

    Lest We Forget – and lest we EVER make such a mistake again!

    The fight agains racism and Fascism always begins in our own communities – Jewish and Gentile

    No Paseran – They shall not pass. No compromises – No shaking hands with Conservative extremism – No believing the forked tongue of their propaganda with its empty promises that play on our own weakness, racism, and prejudice


    • zadimel

      As one who has supported the Jewish State based upon our Bible, the continuous presence of Jews in the land for nearly 4000 years(perhaps closer to 3300 years expressed in some quarters), and commentaries of scholars for the past 2500 years, I find your expression of “Zionist extremism” to be hardly worthy of comment. Yet your lack of understanding of Jewish history,which could be based on reading anti-Jewish propaganda commonly found in German sources of the 1930s, or even in some modern European literature, may have contributed to your opinions regarding the historical connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.

    • Marco

      Dare I say that this has to be either the most ignorant comment regarding todays Anti Semitism or a deliberate ( typical ) distortion by a member of the new left. Being a former intelligence officer my steel trap mind tells me that Mr.Clovelly is not a US Citizen. So Dear Sir, be advised that here in the US ( or America as you Brits or Aussies etc. like to say ) It is the LEFT.. Meaning your friends sir,, The New Democrats .. Perhaps even our current inept President that are Anti Israel and Anti Semitic. Among them is a fair number of self loathing and ” Court Jews ” It is the Right, The Conservatives, The Christian Evangelicals that seriously and passionately defend the state of Israel.
      I served in the US Military for 30 years and never once was discriminated against for my Jewishness. I have lived in the South for most of that time and still due now at age 74. The fact is the only Anti Israel or Anti Semitic ( same difference ) remarks and policy has come from our own ultra left president and the leftist media. In fact with the exception of FOX , virtually all of the other networks vilify Israel at every opportunity.

      • Ken

        Spoken like a true partisan.

    • zadimel

      Your so-called “Zionist extremism” is an allegation that seems to be beyond any reasonable rationale. In the face of 67 years of attempts to annihilate the Jewish State by its Middle Eastern neighbors, I am curious to have you explain why Zionism -the national liberation movement of the Jewish people – should not advocate a rejoining with their brethren in Israel.

  • sifter

    Another reason the Baltic’s should rot under the Russian heel

  • nelson marans

    Extensive collaboration by anti-semites in many European nations during World War II has been mainly overlooked. Without the many times active cooperation of the civilian population of these countries with the German Nazis, the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust would have been substantially less

  • Fred

    The complicity of Lithuania & other Europeans in the murder of Jews is glaring, yet, the denials & indifference is just as obvious as the above article shows. Europe as a whole has not come to terms with itself & currently is encouraged by the new NAZI Muslim ( colonist ) to pursue the same path as the followers of Hitler. So little has changed.

  • 10


  • Chris Rettenmoser

    I just hope for Putin to COME…

  • No Lithuanian officials came to the ceremony because every one of them is a virulent antisemite. Antisemitism is foundational to Lithuanian DNA.

    • Marco

      Unquestionably so.. Estonia and Latvia are not that far behind. Interestingly , although Poland has that perceived history and I am sure there are pockets of Jew haters there ( as there is everywhere ) Poland is a friend of Israel and a zero compared to the Latvian States ten points. . Why Israel has an Embassy in Latvia is beyond me . Maybe they have a surplus of Ambassadors.