Silvia Foti. What it really meant to be an honorary prisoner in Nazi camp

History of Sorts

The author Silvia Foti argues that spending time in a Nazi concentration camp does not exonerate her grandfather from his role in the Holocaust in Lithuania.

As I was growing up in Chicago during the Cold War, I’d heard about how my grandfather Jonas Noreika was an honorary prisoner in the Stutthof concentration camp, how he was taken hostage with 45 other Lithuanian leaders for their anti-Nazi activity.

Read more: Granddaughter of Lithuanian Nazi collaborator: ‘I love his soul but not his sins’

To my shock, as I researched his life for my memoir The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather Was a War Criminal, I realised his time in Stutthof had been used as a cover-up by Lithuanians to hide his role in the Holocaust.

Lithuanians were led to believe he was treated just as harshly as the Jews, that his anti-Nazi activity included saving Jews, and that…

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