Grant Arthur Gochin

Handing Putin the pretext to annex Lithuania

(Courtesy of author)
(Courtesy of author)

Putin’s pretext for invading Ukraine was to “save” that country from “Nazis.” He claimed that a significant portion of Ukrainians revere Nazi Germany, which in 1941 drove the Soviets out of Ukraine. This support, Putin argues, poses a strategic threat to Russia.

Putin’s appetite for conquest is not limited to Ukraine, Georgia, and Transnistria. He would like to annex any territory with inhabitants who appear to venerate the Nazis, and Lithuanians now have given him precisely the evidence he needs to prove his case.

On June 21, 2024, Lithuanians mounted a plaque honoring Kazys Škirpa, who was the architect of the mass-murder of Jews in Lithuania, a model which the Nazis later adopted.

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In November 1940, Kazys Škirpa, a Lithuanian diplomat in Berlin, began organizing and directing the actions of a network of underground cells known as the Lithuanian Activist Front (“LAF”). The cells were directed to join the Nazis as soon as Germany began its invasion of Soviet-controlled territory. Škirpa, however, also made clear to the cells that the Nazi invasion must be used as an opportunity to eliminate Lithuania’s Jews.

In June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Lithuania. The LAF quickly took control of the country and within a few days the Nazis turned administrative control of the country – known to the Nazis as the Litauen General Region – over to the Lithuanians.

The paramilitary LAF members were organized into militarized “police battalions,” which in fact were death squads. Within 12 weeks the squads had brutally – and publicly – slaughtered nearly all of Lithuania’s Jews. At the beginning of December 1941, Nazi officer Karl Jäger sent a report to Berlin that detailed the efficiency and enthusiasm of the Lithuanian death squads.

Significantly, while the Holocaust was unfolding in Lithuania, Nazi Germany itself had no plan for the mass-murder of Jews. There were no mass murders in western Poland, which Germany had occupied since September 1939, through the end of 1941. Ironically, a Jew who escaped Škirpa’s orgies of murder and reached Nazi-controlled towns in Poland were not subjected to mass-murder at that time.

The Nazis knew how well Škirpa’s plan had succeeded in Litauen, and the fact that the public spectacles aroused little public opposition. Still, it took several months for the Nazis themselves to emulate Škirpa’s model. On January 20, 1942, at the “Wannsee Conference,” Nazi Germany adopted a plan for the mass-murder of Jews.

For these reasons, many historians rightfully think of Lithuania as the true starting point for the mass murders of the Holocaust – and of Škirpa as the architect.

And now, by publicly honoring Škirpa, Lithuanians have given Putin clear proof that many in their country still venerate Nazi collaborators.

A Portion of the Area Occupied By Germany in the Fall of 1941
The purple area was “Litauen” – The area administered by the Lithuanians
The brown area was Nazi-controlled portions of Poland.
About the Author
Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo. He is the Emeritus Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations, and Emeritus Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty five years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which mapped / inventoried / documented / 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. Personal site:
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