On the facade of the Zubov Palace in Šiauliai, Lithuania, there is a commemorative plaque which reads:
“In 1941 during the days of the
june uprising in the basement of
this building the headquarters of the
Insurgents of the city of Šiauliai operated.”
This text is a direct translation. “june uprising” is not capitalized but “Insurgents” is. Why this is so, is incomprehensible. Why the fictions on this monument need to be manipulated and remembered, is equally beyond understanding.
On the other side of the street is a police station. Nefarious organizations were also housed in that building. The NKVD, the Gestapo, the MGB and KGB – none of these are memorialized with similar engraved lies. Right next to the headquarters of the “insurgents” basement, the Lithuanian Activist Front (the insurgents’ organization) had their own prison.
The Šiauliai politicians who erected the commemorative plaque, apparently have a different interpretation of the “June Uprising”. Their “analysis” is not truthful.
Truth is complicated by different “memories” created by different interest groups (none of whom are interested in actual truth). Should Lithuanians identify the pogroms and the violence targeted against Jews, carried out by Lithuanians, before the Nazis arrived, as an “uprising”? Because, this is what their “uprising” was. Lithuanian “insurgents” were shooting Soviets in the back as they fled from oncoming Nazis, and they were murdering Jews. What “uprising”?.
One example of the “Uprising” is conveyed by a Jewish Survivor, Shrage. He vividly remembers when a Jew named Luria was murdered. Luria was with his young daughter. They were in the center of the city at the main square (formerly Freedom Square, as well as Market and Victory Square, now called Resurrection Square). Soviet soldiers demanded Luria point the direction of Riga, Latvia. Lithuanians then beat Luria and his daughter to death. This was before Nazis entered the area. This was their “uprising”.
The “insurgents” tell more palatable anecdotes of the “uprising”. In the first issue of “Tėvynė” [Homeland] published in Lithuania on July 6, 1941, they record that Nazis entered the city at 6:00 P.M. on June 26. Then, units of the first insurgent partisans left their headquarters and spread through the streets. They were not well armed, but they were determined to fight for independence and their culture.
In fact, Nazis arrived in Šiauliai from the direction of Panevėžys at 5:00 P.M. on June 26, 1941.
Smoothing out rough edges, changing times and circumstances is not inconsequential. This “insurgency” and “uprising” was a tableau doggedly planned to shift blame elsewhere while claiming credit for the positive action by a handful of others.
Lithuania was a Nazi ally. They gleefully welcomed the Nazi invasion. Lithuania became “the country formerly known as” in Nazi-occupied Europe, and tens of thousands of Jews were murdered in Šiauliai during the Holocaust. These murders were mostly at the enthusiastic hands of Lithuanian volunteers, pseudo-soldiers, partisans, patriots, insurgents, lunatics and criminals.
Approximately 26,000 POWs (Prisoners of War) died in Šiauliai due to disease, starvation and Nazi violence. These are also War Crimes. Surviving POWs were hitched to open carts like livestock and forced to carry the bodies of the dead POWs through the city streets.
Member of the Šiauliai Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) headquarters general staff, Algirdas Julius Greimas, has left us his testimony about how the headquarters contributed to these crimes. Greimas states forthrightly that there was no uprising in Šiauliai. He began commanding a unit of LAF insurgent white arm-banders on the second day of the Nazi occupation:
“The next morning when I heard the ‘partisans’ were assembling at the former female teachers seminary, I hurried over there. A lot of people were gathering. As a reserve officer, I immediately became the commander of the unit and I undertook various activities, for example, I used the seminary’s seal to issue permission to the head of the bakery there to open the bakery, so the city would have bread, and so on. In the afternoon so many men had assembled that they made me head of platoon (about 200 people). The people were unarmed, of course.
“An order came unexpectedly from the German kommandatura: apprehend and present 100 (or was it more?) Jews for cleaning the streets. Surprise, some sort of uncomfortable feeling, that something wasn’t right: I passed on the order and didn’t come the next day for any more ‘liberating” (see here).
Thus, the insurgency’s headquarters only began operating after the Nazis arrived, and was, from its inception – subordinate to the Nazi machine of oppression.
Leiba Lipshitz (a Jew) who lived in Šiauliai at that time recalls: “on June 28, 1941, two days having passed since the Germans entered the city, the arrest of Jewish men began, and lasted more than a week. … During the first weeks of the occupation about 1,200 men were arrested and shot“.
It’s ridiculous to assume that these events, and the role played by the headquarters staff of the insurgents, are worthy of commemoration. On the contrary, it’s their victims who must be remembered, and the truth told.
Lithuania continues to denigrate the victims of fascism. Later this month, June 2023, the murderers will be honored and worshiped yet again, and Lithuanian politicians will again sing their mendacious praises. The commemorative plaque on the outer wall of the Zubov Palace in Šiauliai will continue to mock the blood-soaked columns of Jews being sent to slaughter. The statue to Algirdas Julius Greimas, the man who passed on the order to arrest Jews, will continue to look out over the city from its perch in the center. Lithuanians will joyously celebrate Greimas as they march victoriously on the street Šiauliai named in his glory.
The Lithuanian government has forgotten, or is trying hard to forget, that Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally, and that the Nuremberg trials rendered judgment on at least some perpetrators for war crimes, crimes against humanity and for genocide.
Lithuania’s “memory” is a tattered fiction. When they lie so compulsively and so comprehensively about their history, why would any foreign government give Lithuania any credibility on any other subject? Lithuania identifies their value system through their revision and lies; they cannot be held to the standard of any normal European civilization.
This article was co-authored by Grant Gochin and Dr. Melody Ziff.
Research assistance by Evaldas Balčiūnas.
 (quote from “Šiaulių getas: kalinių sąrašai“ [Šiauliai Ghetto: List of Prisoners], Vilnius 2002, Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum)