Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today strongly condemned the illegal replacement on the wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences of a plaque honoring Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika, which had been recently removed by the Vilnius municipality.
In a statement issued here today by its director of Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the illegality of this initiative by right-wing extremists and urged the Lithuanian authorities to remove the new plaque immediately. Zuroff also responded to the chants of the supporters of the illegal action, who singled him out as responsible for funding the original removal and the book Mūsiškiai by Ruta Vanagaite, which exposed the scope of Lithuanian complicity in Shoa crimes.
According to Zuroff:
“The removal in late July 2019 by Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius of the plaque honoring Noreika, who played an important role in the persecution of the Jews of northwestern Lithuania during the Holocaust, was an important step in confronting Lithuanian complicity in Shoa crimes.
“We urge the Lithuanian authorities to remove the new plaque and prosecute those responsible for breaking the law. We fully support the call by Lithuanian Jewish community Chairperson Faina Kukliansky to the authorities to stop minimizing Lithuanian complicity in the Shoa and glorifying Holocaust perpetrators (for their role in the anti-Soviet resistance) and to fully implement the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the government last year.”
In response to the chants urging him “to send shekels to Vanagaite and Šimašius,” Zuroff stated that people with a conscience do not have to be bribed to do the right thing, and they bring honor to Lithuania, while the “patriots” continue to be a source of shame and embarrassment to their country.
For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: