October 18, 2018 — Vilnius, Lithuania
AJC joins with the Lithuanian Jewish Community in renewing its call on the Lithuanian government to remove a plaque honoring Jonas Noreika.
The plaque was placed on a wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in central Vilnius in 1997 to honor Noreika for his leadership in the anti-Soviet resistance following World War II. But researchers, including Noreika’ s granddaughter, uncovered details later that during the war Noreika, also known as General Vetra, was head of Siauliai during the Nazi occupation, oversaw the establishment of a Jewish ghetto there, seizure of Jewish property and murder of thousands of Lithuanian Jews.
“For the memory of Holocaust victims and the protection of historical truth, we must strenuously oppose efforts to memorialize and honor wartime-era leaders who themselves were complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s Director of International Jewish Affairs. In a meeting last month with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius AJC expressed appreciation for “his forthright call for the removal of a plaque honoring Jonas Noreika and urged other ministers and national leaders to follow suit,” Baker said.
Lithuania is one of the seven countries in the region that AJC Central Europe, directed by Agnieszka Markiewicz engages.