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Who are the degenerates now?

In a study by the UN titled ”History under attack,” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations stated: “Understanding the history of the Holocaust is crucial to safeguarding our future. This is particularly crucial as we see some seeking to rewrite history or to whitewash and rehabilitate those who committed crimes against humanity. If we fail to identify and confront the lies and inhumanity that fueled past atrocities, we are ill-prepared to prevent them in the future.”. This article borrows heavily from this UN Study.

UN Findings

The UN finds that Holocaust distortion is just as pernicious as Holocaust denial. Holocaust distortion depends upon and spreads antisemitism. It threatens the ability to remember and learn from the past by misrepresenting the historical record. It is an attack on truth and knowledge. It feeds on and spreads antisemitic tropes and prejudices, and threatens our understanding of one of the most tragic and violent histories – the genocide of six million Jews.

Holocaust denial and distortion can prevent society from reckoning with this past. It impedes our comprehension of the causes and warning signs of genocide, and that might strengthen efforts for genocide prevention. It is insulting to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and risks the rehabilitation of violent, antisemitic ideologies. At its most extreme, it celebrates and glorifies this history.

The worst offender

The worst offender in Europe is Lithuania. Many entities have voiced their staunch disapproval of Lithuania’s Holocaust deceptions. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the US State Department, the US Congress, Lithuania’s own Presidential Commission, Simon Wiesenthal Center, American Jewish Congress, the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the European Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress and many more. Lithuania stands exposed in front of the world as Holocaust revisionists – the very worst among an ill-intentioned, crowded field of villains.

How they do it

The government of Lithuania has an entire department dedicated to Holocaust revisionism. It is called the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania (Genocide Center). Their strategy is to divert attention away from Lithuanian crimes to other events, re-write history, declare Lithuanian murderers as rescuers, and generally invert Holocaust history. When addressing Holocaust crimes by Lithuanians, the government usually describes the crimes as having been committed by Nazis and “collaborators”, avoiding any reference to crimes by Lithuanians. When pressed for details, they affirm there were Lithuanian “degenerates”. So, who were those degenerates, and how many were there?

The perpetrators:

A large segment of Lithuanians participated in these crimes against their Jewish co-citizens. There is no research in Lithuania on how many “participants” there were. The widely-publicized effort by the Genocide Center to compile a list of people directly involved in the murder of Jews was more an attempt to refute the well-known list drawn up by Joseph Melamed in Israel, than a search for truth. The Genocide Center was only able to announce the number of murderers they had confirmed, and then to lie, saying there were no partisan commanders among them. They refuse to release their list while actively and pervasively rewriting Holocaust perpetrators into innocent national heroes.

Are there ways to explore this issue without the extreme level of government financing directed to their Historical fraud department – the Genocide Center? We believe so. In this article we will attempt to examine the situation in only one Lithuanian city.

Telšiai is in the Žemaitija region of Lithuania. According to data from July 1, 1941, there were 1,634 Jews among the 7,200 residents of the city (22.7%); a small town. Almost all of them were slaughtered in the second half of 1941, only a handful survived.

Many Jews from the surrounding district of Telšiai were also murdered. The district had a Jewish population of 4,229. Only the Jews of Plungė were murdered in their own town (under the direction of Lithuanian national hero Jonas Noreika) and in the neighboring villages of Kaušėnai and Milašaičiai.

Jonas Noreika. Source: Public domain

Jews from other locations in Telšiai district (or at least some) were taken to camps set up at the Rainiai and Viešvėnai manor estates where the Jewish men were murdered. Several days later, the women and children were taken to a camp set up at the Geruliai manor estate, where the majority of them were murdered. Just before the mass murder, about 500 able-bodied women were moved to a ghetto in the city of Telšiai. They also didn’t survive long. On December 23 they were taken into the forest near Rainiai and murdered.

Thus the materially and spiritually rich Telšiai Jewish community who had established and developed this city together with their Christian neighbors since the early 17th century were exterminated. What did their neighbors do during those horrific days, weeks and months? Some persecuted and murdered, others looted the property of murdered Jews and praised the murderers, still others were passive observers of the events unfolding in front of their eyes. Some condemned the mass murders and some people rescued Jews. In all, approximately 0.04% of Lithuanians are recognized by Yad Vashem as rescuers of Jews.

Establishing how many residents of Telšiai belonged to which of these groups is difficult. Nonetheless, the more than 400 documents conserved in collection 1075 of the Lithuanian Central State Archive do shed light. Some facts can also be found in the pages of the newspaper Žemaičių žemė published by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators, and still more information can be found in criminal case files from the Soviet era and testimonies by Holocaust survivors.

How many armed people persecuted Jews? Arūnas Bubnys in his book “Holokaustas Lietuvos provincijoje” [The Holocaust in the Lithuanian Countryside, Vilnius 2021] says there were about 50 members of the white armbander unit [Lithuanian Activist Front partisans wore white armbands] who marched Jews out of town to Rainiai (page 458). Bubnys doesn’t cite any source for this number, but it’s likely he used criminal case files. Some of the names can be found in these files. In all the cases, however, witnesses and defendants repeat: “I don’t remember the names of the others.” (Lithuania claims “We remember” but they seem to forget almost everything). There are surviving documents, including one dated September 1, 1941, where a commander of the auxiliary police requests 125 ration cards for his unit (Lithuanian Central State Archive collection 1075, entry 2, case 3, page 2). Criminal and security police must also be included among armed persecutors, and there were likely more than a dozen of them on scene. More police officers worked as prison guards.

We think the number of people who persecuted Jews within armed organizations was 150 to 200. They were under the command of [Lithuanian] Police Department chief B. Juodkis, Security Police chief J. Juodviršis, commandant A. Svilas, district chief A. Ramanauskas and Lithuanian Activist Front commander Jonas Noreika. It’s much more difficult to establish how many of these armed men shot Jews directly. Not all survived the war, some fled and were never tried, and while Soviet courts were severe, they weren’t always consistent and didn’t always follow procedure. Some were convicted of murder were rehabilitated, some during the Soviet period. After rehabilitation by the courts it’s now difficult to say who took part in mass murder. The majority of these armed men were never tried and their degree of guilt never determined. Which doesn’t mean they didn’t participate. We won’t claim they did, we will simply state that about 3% of the residents of Telšiai persecuted Jews in 1941 with weapons in hand.

The thieves

Another group was people who looted and distributed property belonging to their murdered neighbors. They can be identified by their requests for property and the posts they occupied. Public servants in the newly-resurrected Telšiai municipality took up duties on June 27; some of their duties involved their neighbors’ property. J. Raulinaitis was in charge of apartments and property left behind (later he was unable to resist the temptation of property under his authority, and a criminal case was brought against him); Kostas Galvanauskas was assigned the task of caretaking ten rooms with furniture; Antanas Platakis was appointed to serve in the Department of Apartments and to register empty apartments; Simas Sidabras was tasked with inventorying abandoned property in Telšiai (he was later flooded by requests and orders for the distribution of Jewish property) and Teofilis Vitkevičius was appointed to repair and maintain abandoned apartments.

We should also add to this list Kuzavas who served as burgermeister, the accountant Ričardas Geibavičius who took inventory and city police officer Aleksas Mereckas. Thus we have nine people. This doesn’t mean other municipality employees–there were between 50 and 60 that summer as teams replaced personnel—did not take part in the looting. Some did so independently, others received property through these government officials. Officials from other government bodies also engaged in looting, ranging from the district head and prosecutor B. Antanaitis, criminal and security police officers and officials, white arm-banders who imprisoned and murdered Jews, to several dozen officials from the Nationalist Party and apartment bureau officials who took over Jewish apartments at the end of 1941. The number of officials and public servants involved in looting and redistribution of property might have been from 250 to 300 people, or just over 4% of the population.

There were many more people who sought to acquire property through licit and illicit means. How many were there? We don’t have exact numbers because not all application documents survived. We can get an idea of the scope from an application by 23 hospital workers to acquire property (collection 1075, entry 2, case 18, pp. 544-545, Lithuanian Central State Archive). Hospital chief Plechavičius and applicants signed the document July 7. At that time the hospital had a staff of about 100, a list of them has survived. Thus we have a rough guide that around 25% of the residents of Telšiai sought their neighbors’ property, although Jews were still alive at that point. These only represent those who sought to acquire property through the municipality. While the sample is small, if we look at other surviving documents as well, we find the names of another 64 private citizens who seized Jewish property before the mass shooting at Rainiai. Who were these people? Among them we discover the prosecutor B. Antanėlis, security police official Sedleckas, the police wachtmeister, the aforementioned Raulinaitis in charge of property and some family members of officials. There are ordinary people as well, although it appears they were encouraged to do this, for example, there is a type-written request from a cart driver asking for a Jewish wagon.

At this time “illegal” seizures of Jewish property also appear. One female resident of Telšiai was accused of damaging dentistry equipment at a dentist’s office. On July 12 the municipal government asked the district chief to order police and rural district aldermen to arrest those looting Jewish property. This demonstrates the looting was already a big problem.

Official organizations also solved their own problems through the use of Jewish property. The Telšiai Museum added to its collections. We have the surnames of 98 families involved in the acquisition of Jewish property. If we assume a family consists of 4 members, this brings the general level of participation to 10 percent. Add to this various agencies and enterprises, the municipality, the museum, the above-mentioned hospital (the signature and the official seal of the hospital chief on the document shows this organized nature of looting property), looting by armed men, etc. We have another several hundred families involved in this. So we can guess up to a third of Telšiai households were involved licitly or illicitly in the redistribution of Jewish property (both allocating and receiving). This was when the Jews were arrested and brutalized, but still alive. It’s apparent bureaucrats responsible for the fate of the Jews encouraged this redistribution. Why? We believe it was to increase hatred towards Jews and to create financial incentives for their persecution. Jews were considered just the walking dead, merely awaiting their consumption as sex slaves, labor slaves, or human fertilizer to fertilize Lithuanian soil. There was no intention or expectation by Lithuanians that their Jewish neighbors would survive.

Murderers and thieves

After the first mass murder of Jews, those who had allocated property were replaced: Povilas Rumbutis became director of abandoned apartments, school teacher Danielis senior supervisor of abandoned property, Domas Andriulis became director of Jewish real estate (replaced after one week by Antanas Rimkus). The burgermeister was also replaced, V. Mylimas replacing Uzovas, in turn replaced by the engineer Toleikis. The redistribution of property waned significantly: by the end of August when the women and children were murdered at Geruliai, we find just over a dozen applications for Jewish property, some granted and some not. We find five letters expressing the municipality’s intention of returning to its ownership Jewish property seized by others. At the same time a German civilian administration was appointed and arrived on the scene. The municipality was forced to explain its looting of Jewish property which the Germans claimed legally belonged to them. Jews no longer owned anything, not even their own children, nor their own lives.

In a letter dated August 7, burgermeister Toleikis wrote that 150,000 rubles had been disbursed to residents for guarding property (collection 1075, entry 2, case 18, p. 133, Lithuanian Central State Archive). This was his own estimate, he didn’t bother using the municipality’s books. Residents were later ordered to register Jewish property and pay for it. Bureaucrats had to return some of the more valuable items, for example, a radio set. Some items had been provided as material aid to former political prisoners, victims of war and so on.

Registration papers for property taken over by the residents of Telšiai haven’t survived. We can only guess how many there were. Telšiai wasn’t the only town which had legalized the looting of Jewish property in this manner. In the larger city of Šiauliai that list included 600 names. If we read the surnames listed as households, we again come to about a quarter or third of city residents who exploited the misfortune of their neighbors.

The decent people

Were there any who condemned this thievery? There is only one such document. On September 9, P. Jonušienė informed on her son who had tried to take ownership of four sheep belonging to a Jew named Ruvelis. Of course there must have been more people who condemned the looting, but there was no attempt made to document them. In the aforementioned list of hospital staff there are no doctors or nurses. We think this means they did not approve of this looting. Nonetheless, there is no way to document how many such people there were. We can only say that there were some.

Jews were never intended to survive

Later there was another festival of plundering of Jewish property. Residents of Telšiai divided up Jewish apartments and better furniture changed hands. Other enterprises got involved or were drawn into the redistribution of looted property, for example, a high school acquired a yeshiva building. It isn’t known how many apartments were seized, but on August 11 the burgermeister of Telšiai reported residents had moved from basements and shacks into better apartments (collection 1075, entry 2, case 8, p. 6, Lithuanian Central State Archive).

Although there was an attempt to limit the resettlement of “victims of fires” in Telšiai, the population didn’t decline that summer. The Telšiai burgermeister reported there were 7,622 inhabitants in town on November 18, 1941 (collection 1075, entry 2, case 8, p. 6, Lithuanian Central State Archive). This can only be explained by several thousand new residents moving in to take the place of Jews that same summer and fall. In collection 1075 at the Lithuanian Central State Archive there are dozens of permits issued for settlement and only a handful of documents denying permission. So the town refilled its now-emptied residential area with people who consented to live in the homes of murdered Jews. This might be a quarter of the population.

By autumn Jewish businesses and shops had been parceled out to new owners, including to the Meška cooperative, with a sawmill going to commandant Svilas and new owners taking over mills and hotels. The farm of the brothers Zaks who had been deported under the Soviet regime was taken over by the municipality, although the forestry district had sought it as well. The Peat-Bog Office took ownership of land on Synagogue street, although offended by the street name, and the operation thought it had also taken ownership of about 20 Jewish-owned cows, but the municipality gave them to residents instead. Some property simply disappeared. The Frayer forge remained without an owner. So did some private medical clinics, whose instruments and equipment, when they were later sought had vanished. Some of the trade in looted Jewish property is macabre, such as that involving baby strollers, or the two gramophones acquired a week after the Jewish males were murdered. In another instance, white arm-bander Kazys Šulcas set up a business collecting rags for the municipality (imagine placing your baby in a stroller from a Jewish baby that had just been murdered). In his criminal case (he was executed by firing squad at the Tuskulėnai manor estate in Vilnius), we read that he later owned a shop selling Jewish property. There were a number of these shops in Telšiai. By the end of the year a whole slew of Lithuanian families in Telšiai had enriched themselves in terms of apartments, sewing machines, furniture, even pianos. Some items distributed in the summer, for example, radios, had to be turned over to the Germans in the fall. In the winter they had to turn over sweaters and furs (thieves having to turn over stolen property to other thieves). In 1942 metal parts on windows and doors were removed, handles and latches, and mezuzas disappeared. So along with those who had newly arrived in the city, about 35-40% of Telšiai families likely took part in this looting.

The next set of thieves

There was another stage in the redistribution of Jewish property after the Nazis withdrew. Some who had moved into Jewish apartments fled with the Nazis, other apartments were “liberated” by the Soviets, but by this time there were no living Jews and there was nobody to move into either category. Those who did return had to prove their apartment belonged to them before the war, but not everyone had documentation, and the Soviet nationalizations had also included Jewish property, so often Jews who survived in hiding or survived the camps couldn’t get their apartments back. Soviet officials had already divided up the Jewish property. There were also cases where Lithuanians murdered surviving Jews to prevent them reclaiming their property.

The question of how many people were in favor of exterminating Jews is also complicated. We know of several cases of public approval. One was funerals held for people murdered by Soviets at Rainiai. The funerals were organized as a public demonstration of anti-Sovietism and antisemitism. Funeral participants attacked a group of Jews on the street, berated and beat them. The funerals were organized by the LAF and the local Catholic church. This gave the impression the Catholic Church approved of the persecution of the Jews. It was made greater by the Catholic publishing operation which, although nationalized, was still located inside the local church, and which published the pro-Nazi newspaper Žemaičių žemė. Catholic priests worked with the newspaper. There is post-war testimony alleging a bishop named Borisevičius took part in rescuing Jews from the Holocaust, and this is obviously intended to repair the Church’s reputation to some extent, but whatever the fact, it doesn’t negate the fact the Catholic Church didn’t stand up for persecuted Jews and allowed antisemites to create the impression the Church agreed with the persecution.

On July 20, 1941, several days after a mass murder of Jews, the LAF held an event to express their gratitude to the Nazis. Jonas Noreika was one of the organizers of the event and gave a speech. Organizers and attendees knew the Jewish men had been exterminated prior to that in Rainiai and Viešvienai and nonetheless put on a demonstration of over-the-top enthusiasm. We don’t know how many people attended the funerals and the event. It’s worth noting that even now, Lithuanian politicians like to pose next to the chapel built for the “martyrs of Rainiai”–Lithuanians murdered by Soviets–while they willfully ignore the mass murder of Jews from the Telšiai ghetto at the same location. The conduct of current day Lithuanian society makes their claims that they sincerely condemn the mass murders in the second half of 1941, into a silly farce.

Perpetrators and Rescuers

Today the heroism of rescuers is recognized in Lithuania, but how many rescuers of Jews were there in Telšiai? We found around 100 people associated with Telšiai in the Yad Vashem database of Righteous Gentiles, although not all of them are residents. Of course the list is incomplete because not all rescuers survived the war. We believe the percentage of people who were able to resist Nazi policies so actively, with support from other family members included, wasn’t more than 1% (Yad Vashem has the number at 0.04%).

We have this cross-section:

  • About 5% actively persecuted Jews (armed officials and those actively involved in looting property);
  • About 40% involved in the acquisition of Jewish property.
  • Up to 1% involved in rescuing Jews from the Holocaust.

So the grey zone of residents not included in these categories cannot be much higher than 50%. Again, it’s probable a larger portion of this undefined group approved rather than condemned the persecution of Jews.

Statistics on this group aren’t available. Confronted with the brutality and greed of the murderers, some must have changed sides. They might even have wanted to help Jews, but by Christmas of 1941 there were none left.

Almost half the residents of Telšiai were involved in the Holocaust. They persecuted Jews and profited from this. They were in favor of the Holocaust, to one degree or another. This is not just a problem for Lithuanian historians. With these issues continuously suppressed, teaching moral values is impossible. Given this general suppression of the facts, attending and speaking at Holocaust commemorations, a favorite pastime by Lithuanian politicians, loses all meaning, and the slogans “we remember” and “never again” are simply Lithuanian Holocaust deceptions.

Who are the degenerates?

The Lithuanian Government’s claims that only “degenerates” were involved is laid bare as revisionism. In fact, who are the degenerates? Those who were murderers or thieves then, or those in Lithuanian government today that are participants in the national program of Holocaust fraud? Or, both?

Through my legal actions, I have been able to expose the Lithuanian President, Prime Minister, Parliament, Public Prosecutor, Heritage Department, Mayor of Vilnius, every single one of their Courts including both of their Supreme Courts, as participants in the national program of Holocaust deception.

Holocaust education is the best defense against denial and distortion, unfortunately, the government of Lithuania is actively trying to undermine international Holocaust education by rewriting history and distribution false primary source material into international educational facilities.

For the world to try to prevent the next genocide, truth about past genocides must be exposed, starting with the worst Holocaust revisionists in Europe – Lithuania.

The above was coauthored by Evaldas Balčiūnas.

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: https://www.grantgochin.com/
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