I meant to post this yesterday, Day 7 of International Holocaust Remembrance Week. But the New York Times published my op-ed “No More Lies” yesterday, and it was a bit overwhelming.
On the day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, I review this seventh document signed by my grandfather Jonas Noreika.
It is a short note of just three lines written on October 6, 1941—four days after the massacre of more than 2,000 Jews in Žagarė. The date of the slaughter was October 2, 1941—which happened to be Yom Kippur. Jewish bodies were dumped into a mass death pit in Naryshkin Park. Children and babies were thrown into the pit while still alive, and were suffocated to death.
This order requires Jewish property must be confiscated and sent directly to Žagarė High School’s main office. The furniture was meant to make life easier and more comfortable for high school employees. This order illustrates that it had to be written by a local official who knew that the furnishings at the high school were less than optimal.
As a High School teacher, working in a city, I am aware that there needs to be furniture in schools. However, could any rational person sit on furniture plundered from murdered neighbors, and not be utterly repulsed? Clearly, those using the furnishing did not care, nor were they repulsed.
This is yet another document signed by my Grandfather in the chain of events that guaranteed the genocide of 96.4 percent of Jews (more than 200,000) in Lithuania.
October 6, 1941 417
To the Zagare City Mayor,
I charge you to give necessary furniture for the Zagare’s high school main office from the remaining Jewish property.
Storm Door Blog
In 2013, during my visit to Lithuania while researching my book, I asked the Director of the Genocide Center simply and plainly “Given that my Grandfather murdered many thousands of Jews, why is he honored as a National Hero?”. She responded “He was just following orders”. Once again, we hear the standard Eichmann defense that has long been unacceptable.
We know, now, that my Grandfather had substantial power and agency to use at his discretion.
In light of the 68 documents signed by my grandfather during the Holocaust, the Lithuanian Government has taken to Holocaust revisionism. (See Desk Murderer)
Most of these documents are easily found in the Siauliai archives, yet the Lithuanian government doesn’t see them as evidence. Government representatives excuse my grandfather because his victims were only Jews; people Lithuanian leadership and citizens sought to eliminate. His crimes have continually been overlooked and rationalized, therefore he maintains state honors.
Grant Gochin has spent the past decade working on multiple levels to have my grandfather’s National Honors revoked. The Lithuanian state and people have responded with threats, intimidation, and distortions. The Presidency, Prime Minister, Parliament, criminal authorities and Courts have continually rebuffed him. He works alone doing this because of his strong conviction that honoring Holocaust perpetrators is reprehensible.
The Lithuanian government insults its own citizens by assuming they will not understand the truth. How long will the government continue to lie?
The external perception is that Lithuania holds on to Holocaust denial. Is that the reputation Lithuania wants?
Lithuania’s leadership needs to stand up and tell the whole truth about culpability. Lithuania must revoke honors for all Holocaust perpetrators, not just my Grandfather. They need to face the nation and explain what happened; remove Holocaust deniers and revisionists from government employment, make a formal apology for the decades of Holocaust distortions, and move forward on fresh footing.
This is the 7th in my series. My prior six articles are here:
Wishing you truth and peace in the storms of your life,
Silvia Foti, granddaughter of General Storm—Jonas Noreika
The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather was a War Criminal releases on March 9, 2021; the book is available for pre-orders: www.silviafoti.com
Taglines: International Holocaust Remembrance Day; General Storm; Jonas Noreika; Siauliai Archive documents; Silvia Foti; Writer’s Life; The Storm Door blog; Genealogy; Grant Gochin.