Irmgard Furchner, a secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp, was given a two-year suspended sentence on December 20. She was found guilty of complicity in the murder of 10,500 Jews during the Holocaust.
What can the Republic of Lithuania learn from all this? Following the restoration of independence, Lithuania did not punish even one Holocaust perpetrator criminal. No-one has been able to assess how many Nazi collaborators have been rehabilitated in independent Lithuania. Hundreds of these criminals have been awarded medals and status based on the idea they fought the Soviet regime and were persecuted by that regime. These include the status of volunteer soldier, military rank, state decorations and streets and squares named in their honor, where statues and commemorative plaques are erected in their honor. There are even schools named after Holocaust perpetrators where children are taught to emulate their supposed valor.
International pressure forced Lithuanian law-enforcement to annul the rehabilitation of more than 170 Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators.
State awards, statues and the names of streets only appear with deliberate intentional government action. Lithuania issues platitudes about condemning Holocaust perpetrators, their words are cheap and insincere, their actions speak for their true ideology.
Holocaust revisionists such as Arvydas Anušauskas (currently the Lithuanian defense minister) are leading forces behind the rewriting of Lithuanian Holocaust history. Since its inception, the government’s Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania has been involved as the governments leading force for Holocaust deception. It is the commission created by this Center which bestows the status of military volunteer – the first step towards the further heroization of these criminals.
Lithuanian law regarding this status says clearly it cannot be given to people who took part in the murder of civilians, the so-called Genocide Center defines that sort of participation extremely narrowly, thus negating the law. According to their verdicts, only those who physically shot civilians and physically participated in their murder bear guilt (sometimes); not those who marched Jews to the killing sites or contributed in some other way to their murder.
Adolph Hitler personally never shot a Jew, and Joseph Stalin never personally exiled a Lithuanian to Siberia.
The example of Jonas Noreika is now widely known. Noreika occupied a high post when the mass murder of Jews by shooting, the Holocaust, was being perpetrated. Although Jonas Noreika probably (or possibly) didn’t participate directly in aiming and firing at Jewish civilians, he did sign orders to send Jews to ghettos where they were later murdered under his command. There are even reports to Noreika from underlings providing the numbers of Jews shot. We presented these documents to the Lithuanian government and Courts but the court declined to consider them. Genocide Center historians Alfredas Rukšėnas and Dalius Egidijus Stancikas did examine the documents and provided a rebuttal to the court, claiming:
“4. The Plaintiff together with additional documents has not presented any serious or convincing evidence demonstrating the Plaintiff’s claims, that, allegedly, Jonas Noreika (General Storm) was a committer of the Holocaust (the act of genocide) as this act is defined in the articles of the criminal code of the Republic of Lithuania, neither as it is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, neither as it is defined by the findings and paragraphs of the Nuremberg Trial statutes, neither as it is determined in the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal of the United Nations.”
This is scandalous. We should recall how genocide is actually defined in the Lithuanian criminal code.
Article 99. Genocide
Any person who seeking to physically destroy all or some people who belong to any national, ethnic, racial, religious, social or political group organizes, leads or participates in murdering, torturing, harming them, disturbing their intellectual development, deporting or creating other living conditions such that they cause the death of some or all of them, restrict the fertility rate of those belong to the group or through force turn their children over to other groups;
are to be punished by imprisonment from five to twenty years, or by imprisonment for life.
The Genocide Center doesn’t deny Noreika took part in concentrating the Jews of the Šiauliai district to the ghetto established in Žagarė, where 2,402 were murdered one month later. They don’t deny his participation either in concentrating several smaller groups of Jews to the Šiauliai ghetto and to Gruzdžiai in the summer and fall of 1941, but they deny this is connected with the Holocaust. We fail to understand why the so-called Genocide Center isn’t being brought to criminal account for taking this position proscribed by Lithuanian law:
Article 170(2). Public approval of international crimes, crimes by the USSR and Nazi Germany, their denial or gross trivialization
- June 15, 2010, law no. XI-901 (beginning June 29, 2010) (Lithuanian State Gazeteer, no. 75-3792, 2010)
- April 28, 2022, law no. XIV-1065 (beginning May 5, 2022) (Register of Legal Acts, no. 2022-09434, 2022)
Any person who publicly denies, or grossly trivializes genocide or other crimes against humanity or war crimes as recognized by the legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania or the European Union or in the jurisprudence of the Republic of Lithuania or international courts and does so on a threatening, rude or insulting manner, or because of whose approval the public order was disturbed or could have been disturbed, as well as any person who publicly approves the aggression carried out by the USSR or Nazi Germany against the Republic of Lithuania, or who publicly approves of genocide or other crimes against humanity or war crimes committed by the USSR or Nazi Germany, or who approves of other grave crimes and aggression in 1990 and 1991 committed against the Republic of Lithuania or grave crimes committed against the residents of the Republic of Lithuania, who deny them or grossly trivialize them, if they do so in a threatening, rude or insulting manner, or because of whom the public order was disturbed or might have been,
are to be punished by restriction of freedom, or arrest, or imprisonment for up to two years.
- The acts defined in this article also apply to corporate entities [meaning institutions, agencies and departments as well].
In effect, since this paragraph of criminal law is not being applied to public servants and institutions in Lithuania, allows them to continue with impunity, with no fear of being brought to account, to continue their lionization of war criminals. Jonas Noreika is just one Holocaust perpetrator of many they have lied about.
In Ukmergė there is a statue commemorating Jonas Krištaponis. He was a Lithuanian partisan commander who died in 1946. In 1942 he served as field commander in the police battalion under the command of Antanas Impuliavičius in Belorussia. The archives contain testimonies showing he was in command of troops when they shot Jews and POW’s in Rudensk. Alleged specialists from the so-called Genocide Center admitted these facts back in 2011, including the Alfredas Rukšėnas, but the Genocide Center neglected to cancel the status of military volunteer they had earlier bestowed on Krištaponis. The President of Lithuania bestowed the rank of colonel upon him posthumously, and the city of Ukmergė has not removed the statue to honor the mass murderer Jonas Krištaponis.
Among those being heroized today in Lithuania are people who served under the Nazis at concentration camps. One example – Antanas Baltūsis. According to information from the archives he was in charge of a group of guards at the Maidanek death camp in Poland. He assigned duties to the guards and his guards at times were in charge of the gas chambers there, transporting new shipments of Jews to the death camp and performing the selection during which the new arrivals were sent to the gas chambers or into the camp as slave labor for later extermination. He was involved in other Holocaust crimes as well. Some historians of Lithuania’s so-called Genocide Center don’t deny this. The leader of the Genocide Center claimed he served on the outside of the camp so had no knowledge of what was happening inside the camp.
The government of Lithuania continues to maintain their decision to grant him the status of volunteer soldier, he continues to hold the rank of colonel granted by presidential decree and the cities of Kaunas and Marijampolė continue to maintain streets named after him. Murdering Jews is no impediment to glorification in Lithuania.
We reported recently on another guard at the same death camp, Juozas Vitkus-Kazimieraitis, also another “volunteer soldier” and allegedly noble partisan commander, the authenticity of whose recently-discovered mortal remains have become a prime concern of both the so-called Genocide Center and Lithuanian defense minister Arvydas Anušauskas, see https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/they-have-done-it-again/ .
So what can be said of lower-ranking collaborators? Commemorative markers dedicated to them can be found both in the towns and villages where they lived, but also on the main streets of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The outer wall of the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius (for some reason Lithuanians never remember it was also the headquarters of the Gestapo) features inscriptions honoring several hundred names of people murdered by the Soviets. The choice of whose name to include was made by the Lithuanian defense minister Anušauskas, who was for many years the expert in charge of the commission convened for that by the Genocide Center. A sifting had to take place of the names, because of the original 700 or so it was widely known that a significant portion of them were convicted of Nazi atrocities. Even knowing that, Anušauskas’s commission inscribed the names of nine men who were sentenced to death; criminals convicted of Holocaust crimes. Again, the so-called Genocide Center maintains the choice of names to include wasn’t done properly, whereas defense minister Anušauskas continues to claim the selection process was performed very carefully. The names of the mass murderers continue to assault the eyes of passers-by with Lithuania’s national shame, see https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/nato-2023-in-lithuania-rife-with-political-pitfalls/ .
All that remains is the rhetorical question of whether the trial of Irmgard Furchner might at least to some extent change the repugnant attitude the Republic of Lithuania holds towards Holocaust perpetrators. People of good will should know that, despite all sorts of declarations to the contrary, Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators such as Furchner are neither prosecuted nor condemned by the Republic of Lithuania.
Michael Kretzmer’s documentary, J’Accuse! stands as an immortal mark of shame for Lithuania’s continual Holocaust conduct.
This article was co-authored by Grant Gochin and Evaldas Balčiūnas.