Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center has expressed outrage and disgust in response to the decision today by a court in Vilnius (Vilna) to reject a lawsuit by Grant Gochin, a descendant of Lithuanian Jews, many of whose relatives were murdered during the Holocaust, to cancel honors bestowed on Jonas Noreika, a hero of the Lithuanian post-World War II resistance to the Soviet regime, who was an active participant in the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.
Gochin had sued the local government-funded Genocide and Resistance Center which in response to his demand to cancel the honors for Norieka, had determined that since Noreika had never been prosecuted during his lifetime for crimes against Jews, he was considered innocent of such crimes.
In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter and director of East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center termed the decision of the court “absolutely ludicrous and an insult to the victims of the Nazis, survivors the world over, and any people with a modicum of decency and intelligence.”
According to Zuroff:
“No decision which exonerates Nazi collaborators who actively participated in the brutal annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry can ever be accepted. In Lithuania Nazi killers are glorified and their bloody pasts ignored, as if the Jewish citizens who were murdered there are of no concern to the country of citizenship. It is high time that the European Union take stringent measures against those who distort the history of the Holocaust and World War II, which is basically a new form of pernicious anti-Semitism.”
For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: