My Zadeh (grandfather) always spoke about Lithuania, so much so that he instilled in me the feeling to pursue a formal connection to the Lithuanian state. In 1989, before Lithuania regained independence, I eagerly made contact with Lithuanian diplomats in absentia to begin the process of citizenship, but was told to wait for independence. Upon independence, I excitedly applied for citizenship, imagining a connection with the homeland that my grandfather spoke about so often. Citizenship was denied to me because I am a Jew, although I still didn’t know it at the time.
Twice more I applied, and was denied. The hate against my people was dripping from their rejections. Frustrated, I wanted an answer, and finally I was informally advised that citizenship of Lithuania was not available for Jews. This was unacceptable. At least one hundred of my relatives had been murdered by Lithuanians. I was not going to sit idly by. I sued the Government of Lithuania five times, exposing their “Judenrein” citizenship policy, until it was safe for the government to grant me citizenship.
Citizenship denied because of restitution
I learned that citizenship was required before anyone could claim restitution. So many Lithuanians plundered Jewish property during and after the Holocaust, that the government feared too many Jews would ask for their property back, depleting thousands of Lithuanians of real estate and other valuable property. To ensure no Jews could make claims, they denied Jewish citizenship applications for as long as they could. It was very easy to determine who was Jewish. Lithuania required a statement of “Nationality”. A Jew was a “Jew” and not a “Lithuanian,” no matter how many hundreds of years their family lived in Lithuania. No Jew could be identified as “Lithuanian” in their national registers. Being a Jew and a Lithuanian were by definition, mutually exclusive.
Upon the end of that restitution claim period, and in part, because of my work, the Lithuanian Parliament changed the law and made citizenship available for Jews. That is when I was finally given citizenship as well. I urge every Litvak worldwide who is entitled to Lithuanian citizenship to claim it. It is a statement that they did not murder us all, and we will not go away.
I was aware of Yosef Melamed’s work. He was a survivor who fought for truth by compiling a long list of Lithuanian perpetrators during the Holocaust. Lithuania intimidated him, obstructed and delayed. They waited for him to die so that the inconvenience of Melamed’s opposition to Lithuanian Holocaust revisionism could go away.
Zuroff, Melamed, and Arad
Dr. Zuroff exposed Lithuania’s rampant heroization of Lithuanian murderers as head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. Lithuania made all forms of promises, and kept none. Their strategy was to delay and obstruct until people were so tired, they would go away. For the past 32 years of independence, this strategy has worked for them. Lithuania has never told the truth about the Holocaust; that many Lithuanians enthusiastically participated in murdering Jews, and that many of those Lithuanians are now considered heroes with schools and streets named after them because murdering Jews does not disqualify a Lithuanian from hero status.
The Lithuanian Government told blatant lies about Dr. Arad and tried to arrest him. Arad was another Lithuanian Holocaust Survivor who fought for Holocaust truth. He was chair of Lithuania’s Presidential Holocaust Commission. Criminal charges against those who expose Lithuania’s Holocaust criminals are standard. These are their tactics to silence truth tellers about the Holocaust in Lithuania.
Jonas Noreika murdered my family
When I discovered in 2011 that the murderer of my own family was Jonas Noreika, I was still naïve and thought that the Lithuanian Government would revoke these national honors based on facts. Clearly, I was wrong and all of my efforts to date have failed. Their strategy, as always, is to obstruct, deny, and delay. The Lithuanian Government even threatened me with criminal charges for exposing their history, just as they threatened Josef Melamed and Yitzhak Arad. The threats of criminal charges against me still stand.
Strategy now is to get government on record
Upon realizing that truth was not a consideration for Lithuania, I set out to get every possible Government department on a legal record as a participant in this fraud. To my way of thinking, every time a court, a commission, or a government official refuses to consider my claim, it shows that the Lithuanian government is in collusion to deny what happened in the Holocaust. In the past eight years I have filed about 25 legal actions against Lithuania, and in so doing, have exposed the government, Courts, Parliament, public prosecutor, President and Prime Minister–all involved in this cover up. My legal strategy (at great personal financial expense) has created a permanent record that 77 years after the end of the Holocaust, Lithuania remains mired in Holocaust fraud. Exposing the widespread collusion of Lithuania’s Holocaust revision is my sole accomplishment to date. I seek only a declaration of truth. That is all.
Lithuania’s Holocaust fraud is not sophisticated. It is raw, schoolchild level fraud. They obviously think we Jews are stupid. We are not.
Lithuanian cover up exposed
IHRA and the US State Department have confirmed Lithuania’s cover up. Lithuania’s own Presidential Commission, American Jewish Congress, the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the European Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress and many more have also confirmed Lithuania’s Holocaust revisionism. Lithuania’s response was to declare that “No partisan ever murdered a Jew.” (Lithuania’s partisans were their rag tag warriors who “fought” Russians and murdered Jews). They also absurdly and fraudulently determined that Noreika was actually saving the Jews he was murdering.
Noreika is only one of very many murderers that Lithuania has converted into national heroes. They do it openly and deliberately. We cannot change Lithuania’s conduct. Their Foreign Ministry stands in front of Jews and tells us how sad they are that their Jews were “lost”. As if Jews wandered off into the forest and concerned Lithuanians are still looking for them. Well, if Lithuania still cannot find 220,000 Jews after 80 years of searching for them, I suggest they find new Jews and issue citizenship to 220,000 Israelis of Litvak heritage. There is no difficulty in doing this – Spain and Portugal did. Their “Lost Jews” platitudes are self-serving wordsmithing to diminish effect.
Difficult conversations one-sided
The Lithuanian Ambassador in UK stated at their last “Litvak Days” that they need to have “difficult conversations”. To date, those difficult conversations have been one sided. Jews talk, and Lithuanians pretend to listen, but then do nothing. My lawsuits have proven they have no intention of ever having these conversations. The Ambassador’s words are a deception. They are simply intended to delay, obstruct and defer until people forget, and then they repeat. It is 80 years since our families were murdered. Do our families ever deserve the truth?
Lithuanian government officials say that the murders were committed by Nazis and “criminals”. They avoid the use of the descriptor “Lithuanian criminals,” and they forget that there were fewer than 1,000 Nazis in Lithuania during the Holocaust years. Nazis gave Lithuanians guns, because Nazis and Lithuanians were of one mind to eliminate Jews. Lithuanians did the dirty work–freely, enthusiastically, voluntarily. There is no record of any Lithuanian being punished for refusing to murder a Jew.
Provisional government guilty
According to the Nuremberg Laws, every single member of Lithuania’s Provisional Government was a Holocaust perpetrator. Their criminals include their national leadership, such as Noreika, Skirpa and Baltusis. There are many more. Our families were murdered and Lithuania did not punish one single murderer. NOT ONE. Are our murdered families not worthy of truth or justice?
We have no hope or expectation that Lithuania will ever tell the truth. They have shown that in dozens of lawsuits over many decades. So, why do we allow them to stand in front of Jews and lie? The IHRA statement that Lithuania signed defines Holocaust revisionism as antisemitism. By this very definition, Lithuania is officially an antisemitic state. President Biden just spoke of Holocaust distortion. The world leader of Holocaust revisionism is Lithuania.
Serpents underneath flowers
It is of no consequence how warm and personable Lithuania’s diplomats are. They are representing national Holocaust fraud. Feigning sorrow while honoring the murderers of our families as their national heroes is simply an insult to the living and the dead. Do we Jews have so little self-respect that we tolerate this pretense and continue to offer Lithuania a platform?
I ask for no assistance in my efforts for truth. I do not expect to succeed. Josef Melamed did not succeed, neither did Yitzhak Arad, and neither has Dr. Zuroff. We all know the facts. We have proven consistently, over many decades, the Lithuanian Government is filled with Holocaust revisionists. Only a relentless laser focus decade after decade will make them realize, we will not allow them to deny the Holocaust crimes of their national heroes. All of the documents from my 25+ legal actions show a consistent record of official Holocaust denial.
On Yom HaShoah, Lithuanian diplomats will again attend memory events and misrepresent the official position of their government. All they have to offer are warm smiles as they listen to our side of the difficult conversation. Their attendance is designed to distract and deceive—serpents beneath flowers. Their displays are insincere. They insult our murdered families by using them as a prop to misrepresent their proven values. They forget we are not stupid.
We know. We remember. Am Yisrael Chai.