In March 2023 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis visited Yad Vashem. The visit was ostensibly to pay his respects to his great-grandmother and Righteous Gentile – Ona Jablonskytė-Landsbergienė. His words were beautiful:
“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Yad Vashem and bow my head to the millions of victims of the Holocaust, the greatest tragedy of the last century, some of [whom] were brutally murdered in Lithuania.”
Gabrielius Landsbergis’s great-grandmother rescued Bella Gurvich in 1944. Yad Vashem records that she did this without consulting her other family members:
“Landsbergienė expressed her willingness to help Gurvich and agreed to give her daughter shelter. Without consulting her husband and son, who were then at the family’s summer home in the country, Landsbergienė took Bella there. The Jewish teen worked at household tasks in their home and was treated well by the Landsbergis family. But, about a month later when the Gestapo arrested Landsbergienė’s son on suspicion of engaging in resistance activity, it was too dangerous for Bella to stay there any longer. Bella returned to Kaunas where she was reunited with her mother, who moved from one hiding place to another.”
Often, an entire family in Lithuania is recognized as rescuers, as it took multiple people to rescue. In the case of the Landsbergis family, only Ona was recognized as a rescuer, with good reason. Her husband, Gabrielius Landsbergis-Žemkalnis was a known Nazi collaborator who served as infrastructure minister in the Lithuanian Provisional Government.
On June 27, 1941, Gabrielius Landsbergis-Žemkalnis addressed the slaughter of Jews at the Lietūkis Garage with the cabinet of ministers of the Provisional Government of Lithuania. That Government then resolved: “Without regard to all of the measures which must be taken against Jews because of their Communist activities and the harm they are doing to the German military, partisans and individual inhabitants, the public execution of Jews should be avoided.”
Then on June 30, 1941, they quickly undertook more specific measures against the Jews under their jurisdiction:
“To approve the establishment of a concentration camp for Jews and to task Mr. [minister] Švilpa and the infrastructure minister [Gabrielius Landsbergis-Žemkalnis] in communication with [Kaunas military commander] colonel [Jurgis] Bobelis with responsibility for establishing [this concentration camp for Jews].”
Gabrielius Landsbergis-Žemkalnis’s ministry was responsible for establishing the 7th Fort concentration camp in Kaunas. While her husband was perpetrating the Holocaust, Ona was trying to rescue.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis cannot be held responsible for his great-grandfather’s crimes, even though thousands of Jews were murdered as a result of his actions. He also cannot take personal responsibility for the rescue attempt by his great grandmother. Addressing and highlighting one single Jewish rescue while pretending the murder of thousands did not exist or warrant attention, is Holocaust distortion.
Yad Vashem honored Landsbergis’s visit. They issued the following statement:
Knowing the fuller facts of both of Landsbergis’s great grandparents, I wrote to Yad Vashem:
Yad Vashem declined to respond.
The State visit went ahead as planned. Landsbergis represented his great-grandmother as a universal symbol of Lithuania, while omitting his great grandfather’s crimes. He transformed the image of Lithuania from a nation of Jew-shooters to a nation of rescuers–enabled by our very guardians of Holocaust memory– Yad Vashem.
The Lithuanian Embassy supplied this news brief about the visit. In their planted propaganda, they talk about one girl saved by his great-grandmother and completely omit the facts that Lithuania hero worships Ona’s husband and Holocaust perpetrator from whom Ona was rescuing.
The Lithuanian Embassy says “some of [whom] were brutally murdered in Lithuania” but omit that it was Lithuanians doing the murdering. Their words were excruciatingly selected so as to mis-convey the message. This is propaganda, not information. Intentional efforts to excuse or minimize the Holocaust or its elements, including the roles played by collaborators is the very definition of Holocaust distortion. Mis-casting the roles of Lithuanians in the Holocaust as a positive historical event is just fraudulent. Attempting to blur responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust is a common tactic of Holocaust revisionists, widely practiced by Lithuania. Trivializing or honoring the historical legacies of people or organizations complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust and negating the crimes of perpetrators, while hyper focusing on single rescues is a mis-representation of the facts.
Juliane Wetzel, Chair of the IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, says, “Holocaust distortion focuses, for example, on exaggerating the number of rescuers and whitewashing or glorifying collaborators.” 
Gabrielius Landsbergis is a public figure. In April 2022, posted the following:
“The Soviet statues which remain in Lithuania remind us that eighty years ago the ‘de-Nazification’ and ‘demilitarization’ as the current Kremlin murderers say took place in our country. I agree with the position they [the statues] have remained too long in the cities and parks of Lithuania“.
In fact, Lithuania has never gone through a de-Nazification process.
This call by the Lithuanian foreign minister has not gone unanswered. Indeed, a wave of World War II-era grave desecration against Communists immediately followed his call. The headstones of graves of Soviet soldiers were overturned. The vandals publicly derided the dead. Holocaust memorials were also targeted in this wave of hate towards the dead. In 2022 alone, at least ten memorials to Holocaust victims were vandalized in Lithuania.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis’s grandfather Vytautas Landsbergis, the son of Righteous Gentile Ona Jablonskytė-Landsbergienė, was recently proclaimed by Lithuanian parliamentary resolution a former “Head of State,” despite the fact he was never elected president or prime minister. That was just days before his grandson visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Research Institute in Jerusalem.
“Head of State” Vytautas Landsbergis participated on February 23, 2023, at an event held at the Tuskulėnai Memorial Park in Vilnius. The Tuskulėnai Memorial Park is the former manor estate where the Soviets interred those they had executed. More than 250 of the people buried there were Holocaust perpetrators. Lithuania’s propaganda machine calls the more than 750 people buried there “Tuskulėnai’s martyrs,” thus eradicating their crime of genocide.
The Orwellian-named Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania has a multi-media interactive museum. On February 22, 2023, that event was the premiere of another “documentary” film about the June Uprising of 1941. This uprising was when the Lithuanian Activist Front managed to convince their anti-Soviet underground cells and a number of gullible Lithuanians to “rise up” against the Soviet Red Army in order to facilitate the Wehrmacht’s invasion of the western Soviet Union, as planned out for months beforehand in Berlin. They mostly shot Russian soldiers in the back and murdered Jews, and then creatively re-defined it as a glorious “uprising”.
The premiere of this latest Lithuanian mockumentary was not without incident. [“Head of State”] Vytautas Landsbergis spoke at length after the film about the significance of the so-called June Uprising.
[“Head-of-State”] Vytautas Landsbergis took great offense, and replied: “That’s a lie. You need to be punched in the face.”
This is consistent with him calling the Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community the equivalent of a “F’cking Jew girl”, instructing Holocaust historian Ruta Vanagaite to commit suicide rather than tell the truth, and suggesting Silvia Foti spend some time with Soviet war criminals. In Lithuania, truth is met with offense and intimidation.
The facade presented by Dorian Grey in public was of beauty and dignity. His painting showed the decaying, evil reality. The façade presented in public by the Lithuanian Government is regret and sadness. In reality, it is a filthy, evil, fetid sewer of Holocaust denial, distortion, revisionism and triumphalism. Yad Vashem knows this, and yet permitted Dorian Grey Landsbergis’s façade to be presented. Holocaust revisionism and distortion was platformed at our sacred place of memory. Why?
We deserve, no, we demand an answer. Because this disease is spreading… like a virus.
Lithuania is not to be blamed for getting away with their fraud – if they are offered the opportunity to Shoah-Wash, obviously they will take it. The question is – what are Jewish and Israeli institutions doing in enabling this horror? When our own institutions enable Holocaust distortion, all hope is lost.
Co-authored by Grant Gochin & Evaldas Balciunas.