There is only one hero in this story.
On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, the municipality of the Lithuanian capital – Vilnius – voted on changing a street currently named for one of their national heroes, Kazys Skirpa. The vote is the result of an intensive campaign led by a British citizen and ex member of the Vilnius City Council, Mark Adam Harold.
The Lithuanian Government states they have exhausted all means of investigating Skirpa, and deem him a national hero. To the rest of humanity, Skirpa remains a war criminal.
The FBI has tied Skirpa to two of the most powerful Nazis who were executed after the Nuremberg War Crimes trial – Von Ribbentrop and Rosenberg. However, this evidence has always been, and continues to be irrelevant to the Lithuanian government. Lithuanian authorities claim that during his lifetime, Skirpa was not tried and not convicted, and hence he remains “completely innocent” of any crimes. When we apply this standard, we find that both Stalin and Hitler would be exculpated of crimes against humanity. Horrifying.
The Lithuanian government has long been mired in the sewer of Holocaust distortion and continues to honor Holocaust perpetrators as their national heroes. It appears that their modus operandi is to deny truth and create outlandish rationalizations.
Kazys Skirpa was Lithuania’s representative to Nazi Germany, who advocated that Lithuania cast its fate with Nazi Germany. When the Soviet Union unlawfully occupied Lithuania on June 14, 1940, Skirpa consciously, willfully, and deliberately led a “New Lithuania” in Hitler’s “New Europe”. In other words, his fight was for a Nazi Lithuania in a Nazi Europe. The Slovak Republic would serve as his model for a Nazi client state, in which he would be a replica of the Fuhrer Hitler.
In Skirpa’s 260 page memoir penned during 1942-1943, to which he appended 110 documents, he carefully records his efforts to remodel Lithuanian society. In twelve of these documents, his organization, the Lithuanian Activist Front, advocates ethnic cleansing and the eradication of Jews from Lithuania.
On July 2, 1940, Skirpa contacted his friend Peter Kleist, the Nazi party strategist responsible for planning the ethnic cleansing envisaged for tens of millions of Slavs. On July 13, 1940, Skirpa shared with Kleist his “Declaration to the Lithuanian Nation”:
Also, the Lithuanian nation will be cleansed of the foreign race, which for centuries selfishly sucked the fruits of the Lithuanian’s sweat and calloused hands, which as now, so as before betrayed Lithuania, ever and ever, in past times of oppression. During this latest occupation by the Russian Red Army, everyone could confirm yet again how the Jews paid back Lithuania for its hospitality and humanity.
Skirpa devised vile and persistent myths: “Jews wronged Lithuanians”; “Lithuanians were taking revenge”; “Lithuanians were the rightful owners of Jewish possessions”; “no Lithuanians embraced the Soviets, but all Jews did”. Skirpa believed that he could motivate Lithuanians to rise up and drive out Lithuania’s Jews.
On July 22, 1940, Skirpa presented to Peter Kleist his vision of the Lithuanian Activist Front. Lithuania’s exiled President Smetona saw Skirpa as a Nazi and distanced himself from him. Skirpa organized the inaugural meeting of the Lithuanian Activist Front in Berlin on November 17, 1940; after he felt confident of Nazi approval.
From funds remaining from the Republic of Lithuania, Skirpa paid for distinctly Lithuanian-Aryan anti-Semitic propaganda, notably the “revoking of hospitality” to Jews, whom Vytautas the Great had famously invited to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Skirpa’s messengers smuggled these leaflets into Lithuania, and acted for Nazi Germany’s military intelligence, the Abwehr. Skirpa convinced Lithuania’s ambassadors, Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas to endorse his plans for ethnic cleansing.
Skirpa insisted on ethnic cleansing even in his “Directives for Liberating Lithuania”, which he kept secret from the Nazis. He was betrayed by his fascist enthusiasts, the “Iron Wolf”, and held under house arrest in Berlin by the Nazis. However, his vehemently anti-Semitic strategy was so imbued in Lithuania’s 1941 uprising, that it incited the thousands of Lithuanian volunteers who then participated as Holocaust perpetrators in Lithuania.
Prior to the arrival of Nazis into Lithuania, pogroms and the murdering of Jews were launched, the slaughter was rapid and pervasive. In the Jäger report, Einsatzkommando 2 of the German security police reported the murder of 114,856 Lithuanian Jews as early as December 1, 1941. One hundred and thirty-nine Nazi personnel, of whom 44 were secretaries and drivers, and 95 were murderers, directed the slaughter. Local Lithuanians enthusiastically, and voluntarily conducted the murders guided by Skirpa’s ideology.
On November 29, 1941, the Lithuanian battalions, which grew from Skirpa’s “National Labor Defense” (TDA), held a celebration for SS Einsatzkommando leader Karl Jäger. The celebration was to recognize the conclusion of the genocide of Lithuania’s Jews.
In 1991, Lithuanian-American historian Saulius Suziedelis demonstrated conclusively how Skirpa falsified history by removing anti-Semitic references from the Lithuanian Activist Front documents which he published after the war. Once again, the truth has become irrelevant to the Lithuanian Government.
Newspapers throughout the world currently cover a multitude of articles addressing revisionist Holocaust history in Lithuania. As a result, tourism to Lithuania now carries a negative connotation. Mark Adam Harold’s ethical campaign can no longer be drowned out by city officials who refer to him as a Soviet agent. Despite years of opposition, the Mayor of Vilnius has now capitulated to external pressure, and has been forced to endorse changing the street name.
Lithuanian protestors demonstrated outside the hearing. They claim that Skirpa’s “alleged” wartime misdemeanors should not be considered in light of the fact that he raised the flag of independence in 1919. So then, the crime of genocide is dismissed because of a flag.
Due to overwhelming external opposition, the Vilnius City Council delayed the final vote on the street name change until July 24. Even if the name change proposal is approved by the municipality, the national government will not relent that Skirpa has been, and will always be, a national hero.
It is unimaginable that today’s Germany would have an Adolph Hitler Street. As of this moment, Lithuania has a Skirpa Street, in fact – multiple. There is only one hero in this story, not the one that Lithaunia worships, rather, an ex member of the Vilnius City Council named Mark Adam Harold. Decent people need to recognize ethical actions – Harold stands as a genuine hero.