Memorial plaque at the Library of Academy of science in Vilnius: Jonas Noreika generolas Vetra.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ALMA PATER)
A woman who helped expose her Lithuanian war-hero grandfather as a Nazi collaborator has started a change.org petition calling on the governmnent of Lithuania to strip him of all honors.
Silvia Foti, a high-school teacher from Chicago, is the granddaughter of Jonas Noreika, who is celebrated in Lithuania as a war hero for fighting the Soviet Union. He was executed by the KGB in 1947.
Scholars of the Holocaust have long known of Noreika's collaboration with the Germans, but were dismissed in Lithuania where he received posthumous honors from the government.
Foti detailed her research on Noreika in an article published July 2018 in Salon. She recounted how she had been raised to revere her grandfather, but after hearing that he killed Jews in the Holocaust she eventually decided to research his actions.
In her article, she wrote that Noreika probably signed off on the murder of about 14,500 Jews.
Her case brought unprecedented attention to Noreika and the issue of Holocaust collaboration in Lithuania.
On April 7, a human rights lawyer named Stanislovas Tomas smashed a plaque honoring Noreika on the wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. Tomas then called the police and waited to be arrested.JTA contributed to this report.
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