Landsbergis: Those of good conscience should hurry to apologize to General Storm

Jonas Noreika General Vėtra
Jonas Noreika General Vėtra

New facts about Jonas Noreika-General Storm’s biography have become known, and certain critics should admit that they were mistaken and apologize, maintains Professor Vytautas Landsbergis. Also, according to the Professor, the mayor of the City of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, remains in a contradictory position in this situation.

According to him, the mayor hurried to remove the commemorative plaque to Noreika, but delays removing the monument to Petras Cvirka because, according to V. Landsbergis, there is a fear of “the spray”.

“R. Šimašius – is in a contradictory position. (Some people like that characterization.  They even throw Noreika under the bus). It’s as if he doesn’t agree with hooliganism, but then himself secretly (?) ordered the removal of a vandalized, pieced together commemorative plaque. He hesitates to scrape the names off the plinth of the KGB headquarters. The commemorative plaques to Valeria Valsiūnienė – who betrayed J. Noreika – he eventually relinquished, although somewhat late. For the issue of Petras Cvirka’s monument as a national heritage, it seems that it’s a matter of time, but he procrastinates because there would be spray”, Landsbergis states in a reply that he sent to ELTA news agency.

The Center conclusions consistent

Unlike R. Šimašius, the Professor does not believe that the material provided by the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center (LGGRTC) that Jonas Noreika-General Storm saved Jews is in opposition to the previous statement issued by the center and that it does not answer all of the questions. The Professor notes that the findings of General Storm’s activity add to his biography.

“The LGGRTC statements about J. Noreika are not contradictory but complementary. Facts and Facts. It’s okay that facts accidentally show up. Together with A. Nikžentaitis, the mayor agrees, with a little evasion, that the period needs to be investigated, contexts are required, and so on. So, examine it, men, do you mean that the Central Committee of the Communist Party forbids it? You left the work to one person, A. Bubnys, and we still have no academic history of Lithuania in 1940-1945, the period of occupation.

This is convenient for an enemy with propaganda,” says the Professor.

V. Landsbergis maintains that society is divided not into two but even into several groups due to the biography of J. Noreika. According to the Professor, when new facts come to light, some of Noreika’s fierce critics should admit that they are mistaken and apologize.

An important message

“The public is not as split into two halves, as emphasized by some journalists, as it is split into several different groups. Some – are confident defenders because there is something to defend. Others, a group that tended to despise, and possibly including all the resistance – opponents of the national resistance, who actively made use of J. Noreika’s case, are now feeling poorly. Those of good conscience could apologize in a hurry. Those who lack strength are now even trying to undermine Father J. Borevičius, and thus his testimony of other rescuers of Jews, including J. Noreika, who was even the organizer. They tend to belittle those who have published a new document – why don’t they have a diploma in history? It’s similar to the peeve when one person without a diploma in history found the February 16 Act of Independence. Such reactions are psychologically understandable but pathetic.”  says V. Landsbergis.

V. Landsbergis points out that the certificate published by the LGGRTC is of great importance. Not only is it important to the memory of J. Noreika, but, according to V. Landsbergis, it spreads the message about the creation of the underground resistance “Lithuanian Front” and Jewish rescue activities with the names of the brave rescuers.

Lithuanian Front activity

“And this discovered and the published document is of considerable significance not only to the memory of J. Noreika. It includes the news of the creation of a “resistance” underground, the “Lithuanian Front”, almost at the same time that the Germans came, and activities of the rescue of the Jews, revealing the names of the brave rescuers. Those are Drs. S. Jasaitienė and I. Luinienė, the priests Petras Dziegoraitis and Adolfas Kleiba, a Jesuit Father Požėla and his unnamed friend, who produced many false birth certificates (obviously for the Jews), and was hanged by the Germans for it. Is this of interest to Yad Vashem? To be reprimanded that such a document has now been found – is one of our post-Soviet paradoxes. Not suitable for a fairy tale, that is clear,” – says Landsbergis.

Mistake made to the court

“By the way, the Vilnius Court also made a mistake when they penalized the provocateur Stanislovas Tomas, (the real name is different) for hooliganism in breaking the commemorative plaque to J. Noreika, but covered up the other participants in that organized campaign, perhaps groups of recruited of propagandists. The broken plaque should be preserved. It is already a museum piece of our new history. The LGGRTC statement in question recalls that J. Noreika, on 1941.09.01, brought to Kaunas “hundreds of Samogitians signed support for the Provisional Government of Lithuania, which was being overthrown by the Germans”, and it is a  weighty conclusion: “Jonas Noreika, having agreed to become the Governor of Šiauliai County, chose this position as a cover for underground activities”. He started that activity immediately.” – states Landsbergis.

ELTA recalls that on Wednesday, the LGGRTC published new conclusions on the controversial Jonas Noreika -General Storm. The findings stated that J. Noreika himself actively contributed to the rescue of Šiauliai Jews and was regarded as a participant in the anti-Nazi resistance.

According to Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė, the Director of the Center, one of the most essential motifs discovered by the Center, which essentially complements J. Noreika’s biography, is the testimony of Father Jonas Borevičius, in 1986, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois Northern District, Chicago, United States v. Antanas Virkutis. The Director pointed out that the testimony in court was not specific to J. Noreika so that the priest could not present false, glorifying facts about J. Noreika in court. It was a simple insert of a priest ‘s testimony about J. Noreika, says T. B. Burauskaitė.

The new evidence

This vital testimony of Father Jonas Borevičius, made under oath in the U.S. court, provided grounds for LGGRTC to conclude that J. Noreika actively contributed to the rescue of the Jews of Šiauliai; J. Noreika is considered a participant of anti-Nazi resistance from the beginning of his work as the governor of Šiauliai County; until the liquidation of the Žagarė Ghetto, J. Noreika did not realize that the Ghetto was one of the stages of the Holocaust.

Hitherto unknown in historiography, the testimonies of Fr. Jonas Borevičius are essential not only for the story of Jonas Noreika-General Storm but for the entire Lithuanian anti-Nazi resistance. These testimonials fundamentally refute the Soviet misinformation, which is often repeated today, to compromise participants in anti-Soviet resistance, the 1941 June rebels.

ELTA recalls that at the end of July, a memorial plaque of General Storm was removed from the wall of the Vrublevskis Library of the Academy of Sciences by the decision of Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius. According to the critics, J. Noreika, being the Governor of Šiauliai County, signed letters on the establishment of a Jewish ghetto and the administration of Jewish property. At that time, J. Noreika’s defenders emphasized his merits in the anti-Soviet underground and the fact that he was later involved in the anti-Nazi underground.

Later, a rally was held near the Presidential Palace, in which supporters of J. Noreika-General Storm expressed concern over the politics of State memory, while at the same time, a new commemorative plaque was hung on the wall of the Vrublevskis Library.

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