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American clothing: Walmart, Amazon and Lithuania

Lithuania got roiled when American retail giants sold Soviet-themed shirts -- but has no problem lionizing a local Nazi
Illustrative: A red T-shirt with the acronym and symbol of the former Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
Illustrative: A red T-shirt with the acronym and symbol of the former Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

A recent disagreement between the Lithuanian Government and the American retailer Walmart has been resolved. The disagreement focused on Walmart’s website which sold clothing bearing Soviet symbols; Lithuanians rightly took offense and objected. Lithuanians raised their ire to a Ministerial level and the Lithuanian Ambassador in Washington DC became involved and expressed his outrage clearly. Walmart confirmed that these clothes were inappropriate and removed them from their website.

On September 17, a Lithuanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson validated Walmart’s “High Ethical Standards” in removing these clothes from sale. She continued: “Symbols ― be it Nazi or Soviet ― that are associated with mass murder of millions of innocent people should not find place on the platforms of respected companies,”.

American consumers will no longer be able to purchase these shirts from Walmart – a noble victory for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington DC, and Lithuanian international diplomacy! Lithuanians were so joyous in their victory over Walmart, that newspaper articles were written and announcements made by the Ministry.

During local celebrations in Vilnius earlier this year, Lithuanians honored their national heroes. The photograph below shows Lithuanians with a banner that reads: “We know our nation’s heroes”. Among those pictured on the banner are luminaries Jonas Noreika, whose own Granddaughter estimates is responsible for the murder of at least 14,000 Jews; Kazys Skirpa who initially called for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania; Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejys who led a Lithuanian battalion which guarded the Majdanek concentration camp where tens of thousands of Jews were murdered; and others. Fortunately, no Americans wearing inappropriate clothing from Walmart intruded on these Lithuanian celebrants.

While Lithuania has no issue with honoring Nazis and murderers of Jews, American garments are evidently of a such a significant concern for Lithuanians that they raised their moral opposition to the highest levels of the Lithuanian government.

At 10am on January 15, 2019, the Lithuanian Government will present their case in the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court on the importance of continuing to honor Jonas Noreika as one of their nations greatest heroes, while denying his role in the Holocaust.

In 2015, the Mayor of Lithuania’s capital City Vilnius, Remigijus Simasius, ordered artistic statues reflecting Soviet ideology to be removed from his city. He stated: “The statues represent a lie. Their heroic portrayal of the Soviet people – that is all a lie … The statues are a mockery of the real people who had to live during the Soviet period.” The Mayor removed these statues but adamantly refuses to remove specific monuments honoring Holocaust perpetrators. His “ethics” are limited. He does however regularly solicit Jews to invest in his city. Simasius neglects to inform his Jewish prospects of the complicity of Lithuanians in the Holocaust and the deliberate program to honor the murderers of their families. His duplicity takes impudence to new heights.

Monuments abound in Lithuania for criminals. Streets in Vilnius and Kaunas are named for Škirpa, who created the myth that Jews oppressed Lithuanians, that Lithuanians were avenging themselves, and it was just and honorable to plunder Jewish property. The Lithuanian Presidency has showered persecutors of Jews with national honors. Recipients of these State honors include achievers Naujokaitis who memorized messages of ethnic cleansing of Jews and Vėlavičius who distributed message of ethnic cleansing. Leaders such as Prapuolenis, Damušis, and Narutis who sanctioned “the revoking of hospitality to the Jewish ethnic minority” are Presidential honorees. National heroes Mackevičius and Damušis were Ministers of Lithuania’s Provisional Government, which drafted, debated and approved a “Statute for the Jews’ Situation”, sanctioning Lithuania’s ghettos for Jews. Especially gallant for Lithuania were leaders within genocidal organizations: Dženkaitis (Voldemarists), Pucevičius (LNP), Vilutis (LAF Telsiai). The Presidential honors flow to those who committed great deeds for the nation. A nation chooses her best to present as examples to the youth of the country, apparently these perpetrators are Lithuania’s finest.

Most recently, on July 6, 2018, Lithuanian President Grybauskaite awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis to Jonas Vytautas Česnakavičius-Valas, who trained as a partisan in Germany at the SD training camp FAK-203, led by the most heinous Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators.

Other examples to the nations youth of characteristics to emulate are Valiulis (Karolis Drunga) and Vokietaitis who were leaders within the LLKS, which sought an independent, racist Lithuania within an Aryan alliance with Nazi Germany. How does the European Union consider these displays in light of European sentiments of inclusivity and human rights?

There are far too many national honorees who perpetrated crimes against Jews for the Lithuanian Government to claim these honors are accidental. The murderous deeds of these honorees have been proven to government officials multiple times yet these honors have not been revoked. This illustrates that to Lithuanians; murdering Jews is acceptable.

The Lithuanian government objects to Soviet symbols and does not want them on the platforms of American companies. After Lithuania’s extraordinary diplomatic coup against Walmart, the Lithuanian Ambassador is now focusing on Amazon.

Lithuania’s duplicity knows no bounds in demanding American consumers bow to their sensibilities, while they adamantly refuse to revoke national honors for Nazis. The nation which had the highest murder rate of Jews in all of Europe now shifts attention to American clothing, to deflect from the truth.

I am a Lithuanian citizen, I too am offended by displays of Soviet symbols and am pleased that the very highest levels of our Lithuanian national government cares passionately about the clothing choices of Americans. Perhaps one day, Lithuania will also apply even the most minimal of ethical standards to our own deceitful national narrative. Until then, Americans, please do not wear clothing that we deem inappropriate.

About the Author
Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo, and as Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. In March 2018, he was appointed as the Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which restored over fifty abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries. Gochin is the author of “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”, published in 2013. His book documents his family history of oppression in Lithuania. He is presently working on a project to expose the current Holocaust revisionism within the Lithuanian government. He is Chief of the Village of Babade in Togo, an honor granted for his philanthropic work. Professionally, Gochin is a Certified Financial Planner and practices as a Wealth Advisor in California, where he lives with his family. Gochin blogs at Times of Israel at: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/grant-arthur-gochin/ Website: www.ggochin.wordpress.com
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