Is it possible to be worse than Nazis?
Fewer than 1,000 Nazis served in Lithuania during the Holocaust. Two hundred and twenty thousand Jews were murdered in Lithuania; a daily litany of rape, torture, robbery, starvation and murder. Victimizing Jews was maximally enjoyed by vicious perpetrators who escaped culpability for their crimes. In Lithuania, the Holocaust was carried out mostly by Lithuanians, who took savage bestial sadism to levels previously unknown.
Who carried out the crimes?
Motl Kuritsky’s account of the slaughter of the Jews of Anykščiai, illustrates one episode when two Nazis stopped the delight enjoyed by Lithuanians, while the Lithuanians tortured, raped and murdered Jews. Nazis arrested the sadistic executioner known as “Leather Cap.” After his arrest, the mass murders temporarily ceased, only to be resumed by a new crop of Lithuanians.
“One time in the middle of the night, when the Leather Cap raised and lowered the beam over and over, and screams of pain resounded through the synagogue yard, whistling was heard through the windows of the old study house. Two German Wehrmacht soldiers looked through the window. A short time later both of them were inside. When they saw what was happening, they reached for their revolvers, and argued sharply with the Leather Cap.
“Two of the Jewish women told the German soldiers everything. At night the two soldiers came back well-armed, and defended the Jews in the old study house against the Lithuanians. It was the first quiet night in the synagogues and study houses, the first time the Jews weren’t tortured.
“The home of the Leather Cap was searched that evening. The searchers found gold watches, rings, valuable furs and other items he had robbed from Jews. The murderer was arrested, and not seen again.”
This intervention by Nazis temporarily protected the Jews of Anykščiai from Lithuanians.
Reports of Jews seeking the protection by the Nazis, from the torture, rape and sadism of Lithuanians are common. The most famous being in Slutsk. Commissioner General of Belarus, Wilhelm Kube wrote in protest to his superior and to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler:
The town was a picture of horror during the action. With indescribable brutality on the part of both the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them Belarusians, were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot Jews accumulated. The Belarusians were in greatest distress to free themselves from the encirclement.
The letter concluded:
I am submitting this report in duplicate so that one copy may be forwarded to the Reich Minister. Peace and order cannot be maintained in Belarus with methods of that sort. To bury seriously wounded people alive who worked their way out of their graves again is such a base and filthy act that the incidents as such should be reported to the Fuehrer and Reichsmarshal.
Levels of antisemitsm
“Civilized” Germans were horrified at the sheer barbarity of Lithuanians, as it was clear that the Lithuanians derived intense joy and pleasure from torturing and murdering Jews – throughout Europe. This was predictable from the very start of the Lithuanian Holocaust. In his report to Berlin, Stahlecker noted the increasing Lithuanian antisemitism under Soviet occupation as follows: “The fact that, with the Bolshevization of Lithuania, Jews moved into prominent positions caused strong antisemitism among the population, which, after the German occupation, reached proportions unknown even to German antisemitism.” With the help of antisemitic and anticommunist propaganda, Nazis exploited Lithuanian antisemitism for their own ends: “Lithuanians willingly and gladly volunteer for all measures against the Jews and continue their own operations against them” (Stahlecker Report).
Nazi talking points remain current
Many Nazi talking points are still in current circulation in Lithuania. The Facebook post below from one of the relatives of a Lithuanian mass murderer of Jews, who is still considered a National Hero in Lithuania, illustrates this point.
Lithuanian government “historians’ who control and manipulate the narrative of Lithuanian historical memory policies, often rationalize and create false explanations why these Nazi talking points were and continue to be valid.
These same historians claim that “spontaneous” Lithuanian reactions during the Holocaust were actually German inspired. These murders were not “spontaneous”. Lithuanian National hero Skirpa proposed the “elimination” of Jews from Lithuania well before Nazis invaded.
To support their “speculation” (aka lies), Lithuanian Government historians engage in the most astounding mental gymnastics to rewrite the claim that murderers were actually rescuers of Jews. These falsifications of innocence began concurrently with the start of the Lithuanian Holocaust in 1941, where mass executions by firing squads are labelled “transportation for labor”, or “placement in treatment facilities in Germany”. We all know the truth. Lithuanian fabrications continue unabated even today.
Lithuanian auxiliary forces made up of former anti-Soviet partisans distinguished themselves in extensive “liquidations” alongside German murderers. The brutality of Lithuanian partisans surprised even the battle-hardened SS. Example: in Kaunas during the night of June 25-26, 1941, Lithuanian partisans incited a pogrom without apparent German orders and in the course of it 1,500 Jews, including women and children, were massacred, several synagogues destroyed, and a Jewish district of 60 houses burnt down. During the following nights 2,300 Jews “were treated in the same manner” (Stahlecker Report).
The Holocaust began in Lithuania with the mass murders of Jews which included women and children, in Kaunas and Vilnius. It was in full force long before the infamous Wannsee conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. Lithuanians such as Lithuanian National Hero Jonas Noreika taught Nazi Germany how a genocide could be instigated, implemented, completed, and celebrated.
As difficult as it may be to grasp, Germans did not always tolerate extrajudicial murder by firing squad. Various units of Lithuanians were punished by Germans for these crimes, but Lithuanians could not restrain themselves from their amusement. Example, twenty Lithuanian partisan murderers were shot at Tytuvėnai under unclear circumstances, and several hundred were shot in Alytus.
Many Lithuanian partisans recognized for their sadism were also arrested and later shot for their Communist activities. The Lithuanian Activist Front announced an amnesty for those who had served the Soviets but had redeemed themselves with the shedding of Jewish blood. The German Third Reich didn’t support this promise. For that reason many of the Lithuanian Nazi collaborators who had redeemed themselves, were later shot as Communist activists. Example, in the case of Pasvalis attorney Petras Požėla – after his collaboration with the Soviets was discovered, he was arrested and executed in 1942.
Lithuanians usually sweep their crimes under the Nazi rug. Their constant refrain is the crimes of “Nazis and Soviets”, never referring to their own crimes.
Khane Goldman (nee Magidovits) testified: The partisans forced Mrs Berzaner to get into a wheel barrow, and a twelve-year-old girl named Shimkhke Portnoy was forced to wheel her to the river (several hundred meters). The Lithuanian bandits murderously beat Mrs Berzaner. The woman spotted a German officer and ran up to him. She threw herself to her knees and begged him to shoot her. The officer declared that he couldn’t do that, because authority over the Jews had been placed in the hands of the Lithuanians.
For Lithuania, facts have no relevance, their currency is propaganda.
Robbing the Jews
Another reason why Germans intervened was looting by Lithuanians. Nazis maintained that all Jewish property belonged to the German Reich. The attacking Nazi military did not have the ability to undertake the total theft of plundered property. Lithuanians were predisposed to loot property of their former neighbors, oftentimes while the neighbors were still in their homes, before they were even taken out for slaughter. Sometimes Germans disrupted these operations and Lithuanians suffered consequences.
Leiba Lipshitz who was imprisoned in the Šiauliai (Shavl) ghetto testified. “On July 11, 1941, the Lithuanian Activist Front sent 50 groups of 3 to 4 men to arrest Jewish males. The plan was to arrest 600 people. The “Lithuanian activists” looted the property of those whom they arrested, and ordered it be tied into bundles or placed in suitcases, and with this, the guards ordered the Jews to march away with this property.”
It appears this Lithuanian “operation” was conducted without informing Germans. German police at the Lithuanian Police headquarters stopped these Lithuanian partisans and then disarmed and searched them. The more valuable items were confiscated from the Lithuanians (one set of thieves robbing another). Arrested Jews were returned some of their items, such as bedding, clothing and shoes, and ordered to return home..
Another “typical situation” was when Germans forbade Lithuanians the use of Jews or groups of Jews, because Jews were required for other slave labor. The Šiauliai ghetto was created because, although the Lithuanians declared that they were able to take over the operation of the leather works in Šiauliai without Jews, Germans realized that quality production in Šiauliai was impossible without Jews. So, they went to Riga to meet Kommissar Loshe and received his permission to establish the Šiauliai ghetto with 5,000 Jews concentrated inside. Similar happened in Pilviškės, Lithuania, where Jews also owned a leather factory, and Lithuanians were forbidden to go near a barracks where Jewish employees were housed.
Among correspondence within the Lithuanian Police Department, are several reports from Hamann, the commander of the Rollkommando of the Lithuanian Einzatskommando. These proclaim Lithuanian police are not allowed to arrest specific Jews because they are required by local German kommandatūras.
Rape of women and children was common. According to German law this was a “racial crime,” so Nazi officials refused to tolerate the public rape orgies (especially pedophile rape) which Lithuanian partisans, drunken with power, lust, murder and alcohol were so apt to perpetrate.
Righteous Gentiles existed among Wehrmacht soldiers stationed in Lithuania. These included Karl Plagge who served in Vilnius and who was recognized as a Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem on July 22, 2004, and Anton Schmid, recognized on October 13, 1964. In a letter to his wife, Schmid wrote: “The Lithuanian military herded many Jews to a meadow outside of town and shot them, each time around two thousand to three thousand people. On their way they killed the children by hurling them against the trees etc., you can imagine”.
Lithuania today focusses exclusively on Lithuanians who rescued Jews and dismisses Lithuanian murderers, rapists and thieves as mere “collaborators”. This would be akin to Germany recognizing Nazis as rescuers of Jews, using Plagge and Schmid as typical of Nazi conduct, while dismissing all other Nazi crimes as incidental. Using a rare event to stereotype and project universality is utterly and completely dishonest. What Lithuania does is Holocaust inversion.
Herman Kruk, a Polish Jewish prisoner of the Vilnius Ghetto kept a diary, some pages survived. His testimony includes the following, entries. Note: the word “kidnappers” has been used below instead of the original “khapunes” which in Yiddish, means “grabbers”.
July 6, 1941
Who Is Kidnapping. Who is Looting?
Later there were horrific kidnappings. The Germans demanded Jewish workers. Groups were formed and sent to the designated work sites. But on the way they were met by the Lithuanian kidnappers from the Ypatingasis [Lithuanian Special Squad] who surrounded the group and took whomever they wanted.
Many such incidents were reported over the last several days. There were even cases where the kidnappers took entire groups from the courtyard of the Judenrat at Strashun street no. 6.
The Germans curse and threaten, they don’t want to know anything about it, and demand their orders be followed to the letter. The Lithuanians also don’t want to know anything, they just attack and … loot. So it’s difficult to determine who is grabbing and who is looting…
(pp. 55-56 in the Lithuanian version)
July 9, 1941
The Lithuanians Round Jews Up, the Germans Set Them Free
The rounding up of people to work for the Germans has become a daily occurrence. No attempts to stop this are of any use. The Germans claim they know nothing of this, and the Lithuanians reply they have to follow orders.
Often enough a common German passer-by frees Jews from the hands of the Lithuanians. The Jews often appeal to Germans passing by and explain to them what’s happening. The Germans, either politely or with force, often enough even resulting in blows, force the men of the Ypatingasis to let the Jews go.
Who’s guilty? Who is doing this? Out of antipathy towards whom?
In the meantime the Jews are the victims.
July 25, 1941
The Kidnappers Grab, the Germans Release
There are things happening which deserve to be recorded. Jews kidnapped by the Lithuanians often stop Germans and ask them for help. Some Germans help Jews and often rip them from the hands of the rabid kidnappers.
The Kidnapper usually come into apartments and, if the Jews are able to report this to the first German they see, he comes in and … frees them. There have even been cases of Germans beating up kidnappers.
September 8, 1941
Help for Jews
Friends say the German employers often transport the Jews to the latter’s former apartments and home and help them salvage what still can be salvaged. Trucks drive frequently into the ghetto laden with Jewish possessions.
January 31, 1942
A German Saves a Woman
He is a young German, 23 or 24. Every day he directs his “SS group” (20 people) (these are a group of Jews forced to work for the SS) who perform various purchase orders. While marching with his group of Jews along the main street in Vilnius (Mickewicz [now Gedimino prospect]), he saw a Lithuanian soldier taking a Jewish woman towards Lukiškių prison. When she saw the Jews, the woman begged them to help her. The 23-year-old German asked his group of Jews what the woman wanted. Meanwhile the Lithuanian was shoving her. When the Jews translated the woman’s words for the German, he ran up to the Lithuanian who was marching the woman, stopped him, spoke with him and ordered the woman join his group of Jews. This “conversation” resulted in the woman going off with his group, while the abashed Lithuanian traipsed off towards Lukiškių prison… by himself.
The woman now works in the SS brigade and lives in the ghetto.
May 17, 1942
A German Writes to Jewish Girl
I have read a letter from a German to a Jewish girl. Incidentally, he is not allowed to communicate with her. He wants to help her somehow and asks her to ignore the fact he’s German. “Write me. I am at your service.” And at the conclusion of the letter, he writes “Vernichten Sie den Brief sofort. Herbert” (destroy this letter immediately. –Herbert).
Jews in Lithuania had the lowest survival rate in Europe because of the massive complicity and leadership of ordinary Lithuanian citizens in the crimes. In their persecution of their Jewish neighbors, Lithuanians showed exceptional personal initiative and drive. They were motivated by sadism, animalistic compulsion and the desire to profit from stealing their neighbor’s property.
Murders by Lithuanians were unlike those committed by by Nazis. Nazis were murdering strangers, Lithuanians were murdering people they had known their whole lives. Their fellow citizens. Their schoolmates, their friends, employers, employees, their next door neighbors. It was a devolution of society back to its basest instincts of blood lust and greed.
Lithuania’s current crime is Holocaust denial, distortion, revision, inversion and triumphalism. Those people in government today who facilitate and endorse these crimes differ from their grandparents only in degree.
The Nazi Plagge said: “My behavior is guided by a clear compass that I possess. It tells me what to do and what not to do, and what is right and what is not.” In Lithuania, their current moral compass instructs their nationals that the murderers of innocent Jewish children will always be their heroes. The government of Lithuania openly honors our murderers. No complexity exists requiring our understanding. How do Lithuanians look themselves in the mirror? Incomprehensible.
 Masinės žudynės Lietuvoje,” pages 314-317 [Mass Murders in Lithuania, Volume 1, Mintis Publishing House, Vilnius 1973, pp. 314-317
 Holocaust and Resistance in Vilnius: Rescuers in “Wehrmacht” Uniforms Author(s): Karl-Heinz Schoeps
 Šiaulių getas kalinių sąrašai, V. 2002 psl. 204-205 [Lists of Inmates of the Šiauliai Ghetto, Vilna Gaon Museum, Vilnius 2002, pp. 204-205]