IDF Witnesses in Uniform

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) educates Israeli soldiers about the Holocaust, by sending them on a trip to Poland called “Witnesses in Uniform”. This week, the IDF announced they are considering moving the program from Poland, to Lithuania. This is a disastrous choice.

Lithuania’s state sponsored Holocaust distortion has been acknowledged by both the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and by the US State Department. Lithuania is the only country in the world to go to court to defend the sterling reputation of one of their worst Holocaust perpetrators. Lithuania has an entire governmental department dedicated to revising Holocaust history.

IDF agreements would have to be arranged with Lithuania’s Minster of Defense, a known antisemite and Holocaust revisionist: Anusauskas. This Defense Minister has a disheartening history with Jews, starting in his job as a professional historian with Lithuania’s Holocaust Fraud Department – the Lithuanian Genocide Center. In 2007, he initiated a criminal investigation against Holocaust survivor Yitzhak Arad who headed “The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania”.[4]

The investigation wrecked the work of the international commission. The Commission’s members resigned in protest. The investigation of Arad was viewed internationally as a “contemptible farce”,[15] and an attempt to erase Lithuanian’s history of collaboration with the Nazis,[4]. It was classical Holocaust inversion and victim blaming,[16] particularly due to the lack of prosecution of the many Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.[4][16][15] This investigation turned into such a fiasco for Lithuania, the government had to issue a public apology.

Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas

Defense Minister Anusauskas previously explained on national television how the photographs of the Lietūkis Garage Pogrom massacre were, in his view, shoddy counterfeits and the entire incident a conspiracy between the Gestapo and Russian NKVD, in order to soil the good name of Lithuanian fascists. It is notable that under leadership such as Defense Minister Anusauskas, not one single murderer of the 220,000 Jews slaughtered in Lithuania was disciplined. Not one.

Lietukis Garage Pogrom
Lietukis Garage Pogrom
Lietukis Garage Pogrom

Anusauskas and his cronies attempted to blame persecution of Lithuanians on the Jews and create a false equivalent between Soviet rule and the Holocaust. As a result, they declared Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators innocent of crimes, and declared them national heroes.

Under Anusauskas’s governance, the Lithuanian Government selected one specific Soviet to prosecute: Nachman Dushansky. Dushansky was descended from a historically Jewish family but did not consider himself Jewish. He considered himself a loyal Russian Soviet, in service only to Mother Russia.

Anusauskas’s agenda was to blame Jews for the 1940 Soviet deportation of Lithuanians. He attempted to equate Lithuanian hardship with the genocide of the Jews.

The Lithuanian Government demanded Israel extradite Dushansky to Lithuania for prosecution. Israel investigated and reached the conclusion that Dushansky was selected only for his Jewish heritage and refused the extradition. In Lithuania today, Dushansky still embodies Lithuanian suffering, and his Jewish background is used as a deflection point for Holocaust distortion.

Under the direction of Anusauskas, the Lithuanian government initiated a witch hunt going after the pitiful handful of Jewish Holocaust Survivors to accuse them of having committed war crimes against Lithuania. The programs’ purpose was so blatant; it quickly became obvious that it was a blame shifting program — Jews were the real persecutors and Lithuanians were just defending themselves. One of these Jews was a personal friend of mine, Fania Brantsovsky.

Fania Brantsovsky

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was made aware of Anusauskas’s program. She was so incensed, she traveled to Lithuania to demand of then Lithuanian Prime Minister Kirkilas that he put a stop to this travesty. He did, and issued a national apology for Anusauskas’s program.

Readers of Times of Israel will recognize the name Jonas Noreika. Noreika was only one of numerous mass murderers of Jews converted into hero status by the Government of Lithuania. As with many murderers of Jews, the government of Lithuania was not content just to declare him innocent. To further their canonization of their murderers, they fraudulently rewrote history and declared the murderers, rescuers of Jews and Righteous Gentiles. In December 2019, the Government of Lithuania declared Noreika a secret rescuer of Jews. This was an absurd falsification. It was crude, it was blatant, it was grammar school level fraud.

Academics and scholars were aghast at how ludicrous the fraud was. A colleague of Anusauskas cemented the fraud by repeating it publicly and stating: “History education is not important, belief in research results is”. Less than three weeks after the release of this monumental historical fraud, Anusauskas used the authority of his office to affirm the new “findings” that Noreika was indeed a rescuer of his murdered Jews. In an effort to further misinform the Lithuanian public, the government of Lithuania simultaneously began a concerted propaganda program to validate Anusauskas’s ideology. Lithuanian press breathlessly repeated these fraudulent findings, here, here, and more. Lithuanian Courts protected the government from legal discovery.

The Lithuanian military regularly recognizes Holocaust perpetrators as their heroes. Here are examples of Lithuanian Military magazines lauding their achievements.

Publicly available for download
2015: Lithuanian Military magazine cover featuring Jonas Noreika, the murderer of 14,500 Jews.
Source: Personal photograph.

It is especially galling to see the Lithuanian Defense Minister plea for military assistance from US Secretary of State Blinken, and Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid, both sons of Holocaust Survivors. On any other day, Lithuanian national heroes would have murdered both of them, and their families, for their crime of being Jewish.

There is no quick fix for this horrendous distortion of history. Atrocities cannot be ignored and the slaughter of innocents (including 1,500,000 Jewish children) can never be justified. Anusauskas and his ilk cannot be trusted.

The IDF’s “Witnesses in Uniform” education program cannot be moved to Lithuania.

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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