Lithuanian Government Engaging in ‘Holocaust Denial,’ Says Author of Book Exposing Her Grandfather’s Past as Nazi Collaborator
An American journalist whose latest book is an emotional account of her grandfather’s role in the Holocaust of Lithuanian Jews under Nazi occupation has accused the current government of Lithuania of engaging in “Holocaust denial and revisionism.”
Author Silvia Foti was speaking at an event in Los Angeles on Sunday to mark the publication of her book, “The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather Was A War Criminal.” Originally intended as a tribute to her grandfather, Jonas Noreika — a Lithuanian independence advocate and army general who has been lionized in post-Soviet Lithuania — the book details Foti’s discovery that her “flesh and blood ‘hero’ was a Jew-killer … even I could no longer believe the lie.”
Among the revelations in Foti’s book is Noreika’s approval of the killing of 2,000 Jews in north-western Lithuania in 1941 along with the appearance of his signature on over 100 documents concerning the deportation of Jews to Nazi concentration camps. However, he was declared a national hero when Lithuania secured independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.
In 2015, a Lithuanian court dismissed a case brought by Grant Gochin — a California-based descendant of a Lithuanian Jewish family ravaged during the Holocaust who has worked closely with Foti — against the state-run “Genocide and Resistance Research Center” (GRRC) over a report claiming that Noreika was innocent of the killing of Lithuanian Jews.
“For the 220,000 Jews murdered in Lithuania, for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust…shouldn’t we try to make the truth known?” Foti asked during a short speech at the event on Sunday, hosted by the Israel-American Civic Action Network (ICAN).
Lithuania’s official efforts to rehabilitate the reputations of nationalist leaders who collaborated with the Nazis has attracted strong criticism from Holocaust scholars in Israel and around the world. In 2019, both the Lithuanian government and the GRRC were urged by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to “acknowledge and condemn the activities of Jonas Noreika during the German occupation of Lithuania.”