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

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 he was victimised by the Nazis to the same extent as Jews. Thus the designation of honorary prisoner somehow conferred an increased sanctity to my grandfather, that he was even more special than “regular” prisoners.

I can recall how, at Lithuanian Saturday school in Chicago or summer camps in Michigan in the 1970s, I was patted on the back and looked upon with admiration for having a grandfather who was an honorary prisoner at Stutthof. By association, as his only granddaughter, I too was somehow blessed to have someone in my direct lineage who suffered in a concentration camp – the Holocaust halo effect.

That all changed when my mother, on her deathbed, asked me to write the story of her heroic father, known as General Storm, who fought so bravely against the communists for Lithuania’s freedom. With much trepidation and hesitation, I slowly learned that my beloved grandfather played a crucial role in murdering 8,000 to 15,000 Jews between 1941 and 1943 in Plungė, Telšiai, and Šiauliai, that Lithuania had the highest percentage of Jews murdered in all of Europe, and that this couldn’t have been accomplished without the enthusiastic help of local collaborators………. read more

https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1550604/silvia-foti-what-it-really-meant-to-be-an-honorary-prisoner-in-nazi-camp

sources

https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1550604/silvia-foti-what-it-really-meant-to-be-an-honorary-prisoner-in-nazi-camp

The Table of Truth

The Table of Truth
September 12, 2021
10 AM Pacific | 1 PM Eastern
7 PM South Africa | 8 PM Israel
About This Event

Learn about the extraordinary connection to one chess table between Faina Kukliansky, Lithuanian Jewish Community Chair, Shulamit Rabinovich, San Franciscan engineer, Dudu Fisher, Israeli world-renowned entertainer, Grant Gochin, South African Wealth Manager, and Silvia Foti, Chicagoan journalist.
We will reveal recently discovered facts about the Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust denial by the Lithuanian Government, and present new paths to education about the horrors of the past.
The table WILL talk.
We will conclude the program with Dudu Fisher chanting Kaddish.

Remembering Betsy Labzowski- Murdered on March 12 1945.

A few months ago I saw a quote which said “If you remember one, you remember them all” This really stuck with me.

Today I am remembering Betsy Labzowski, she was born in Zierikzee, the Netherlands , 29 June 1920 and she was murdered in Extern kommando Raguhn, 12 March 1945, which was a subcamp of Buchenwald, aged 24

Betty’s parents were from Lithuanian descent.

Betty was only 24 when she was murdered. A beautiful young woman who still had a future in front of her. Who knows what she could have become, a Doctor, a secretary, an actress, a model, a teacher, a wife, a mother. Her possibilities were endless, but on March 12,1945 less then 2 months to the war’s end. Betty’s future was cut short by an evil regime.

I would love to see that it was only the Germans who were responsible for her death, but that would be a lie. The occupying Nazi regime were helped by civil servants and a very effective Dutch civil administration. Often out of fear, but not always.

It is such a stain on my country’s history, but luckily most people do know and acknowledge this.

There are other countries in Europe who still have to come to terms with their histories, but rather then facing up to it they have decided toe revise it, Do they not know that the same ideology which killed millions in the past, including many of their own citizens, is rearing its ugly head again?

I hope Betty’s death was not just a statistic but a lesson to be learned for all of us.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/119491/betsy-labzowski#intro

My Grandfather was a War Criminal.

This is a chat show presented by Dirk de Klein. On this episode Dirk’s guests are Grant Gochin and Silvia Foti. Grant and Silvia have been campaigning against the Lithuanian government in relation to the revised history of Lithuania’s part in the Holocaust. Some of Grant’s family were murdered in Lithuania during the Holocaust. One of the men responsible was Jonas Noreika.

Jonas Noreika was the Grandfather of Silvia. While doing research on her Grandfather for a book she had promised her Mother she would write, about her Mother’s dad, she discovered disturbing facts about her Grandfather. Grant Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which mapped / inventoried / documented / restored over fifty abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries. He is the author of “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”, published in 2013. His book documents his family history of oppression in Lithuania. Silvia Foti, MSJ, MAT, MFA, is a journalist, creative writer, teacher, and mother. She is author of the book The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Learned My Grandfather was a War Criminal, Regnery History, coming May 2021; Mi Abuelo: El General Storm ¿Héroe o criminal nazi? Harper Collins Mexico, Spanish edition, coming August 2020.

If you wish to sponsor/advertise or be part of any of the shows on LíR Media.tv please contact us on our email, info@lirmedia.tv

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Legally irrelevant

Posting this for 2 reasons.

  1. It is important that the truth is told
  2. Grant Gochin is a honorable man and I am proud to call him a friend.

Times of Israel blog by Grant Gochin

 

For the past eight years I have been fighting a protracted legal battle to remove honors awarded to Lithuania’s Nazi collaborators like Jonas Noreika and prevent their glorification. I consider it my moral responsibility to be a voice – sometimes a lonely one – for truth in Lithuania with regard to the Holocaust, which devastated my family along with the families of the 200,000+ Jews that were murdered at the hands of Lithuanians like Noreika and their Nazi enablers.

As head of the country’s Šiauliai district during the Nazi occupation, after his predecessor resigned for “humanitarian reasons,” Noreika signed off on the ghettoization and dispossession of the district’s Jews. Hundreds were murdered during the round-up for no other reason than their Jewishness, making clear the ultimate intention of being placed into a ghetto. Almost all of the rest were slaughtered subsequently by Lithuanians and a small number of Nazis. Vast numbers of Lithuanians celebrated the sharing of Jewish plunder……read more by clicking on the link.

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/legally-irrelevant/?fbclid=IwAR1zDip_AbpKhdPc00WF1BsM0GJ-Av5L7MbQrR_EptXniI-MwbqdBZuY5DU

Chaim Nussbaum- The Rabbi who escaped the Nazis and survived theBurma Railway

Nussbaum

Rabbi Chaim Nussbaum was born in Lithuania, but  grew up in Scheveningen in the Netherlands.  His story in World War 2 is a remarkable, some people just have a very strong life force.

After he got  married  he returned, together with his wife, to his country of origin, Lithuania. When the Nazis invaded Lithuania in 1941,he  managed to escape with his family.

H reached Java in the Dutch East Indies via Via Russia and Japan . In  the Dutch East Indies (nowadays known as Indonesia) he became Rabbi of the Jewish communities of Batavia and Bandung.

In 1943, the Japanese occupiers of the Dutch East Indies, imprisoned  him in the Changi Prisoner of War Camp in eastern Singapore.

Changi

There  he was forced to work to do slave labor on the notorious Burma Railway. Chaim also took up a role  as the rabbi for the Jewish prisoners in the camp, and  even established a synagogue there named Ohel Jacob.

A fellow prisoner, Bert Besser, made this tapestry, which was to function  as a curtain for that synagogue’s Holy Ark, which stored the Torah scrolls.

tapsetry

The text on the curtain say: ‘The Torah is Our Life’ and ‘House of Worship of POWs, Changi’. Chaim Nussbaum survived the war and after he was liberated he  moved to Canada.

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Source

Joods Historisch Museum

One lost shoe-One stolen life.

Shoe

There were several horrific events on March 27 1944

1,000 Jews were deported from Drancy, France, to Auschwitz.
2,000 Jews are murdered in Kovno Lithuania
40 Jewish policemen in Riga, Latvia, ghetto are shot by the Gestapo
Children’s Aktion-Nazis take all the Jewish children of Kovno,Lithuania.,and deport them

One Father carves the date of the taking of his daughter in the sole of the shoe she had lost when she was taken.

The daughter was only 2, her name was Hinda Cohen she was deported to Auschwitz where she was murdered.

One lost shoe-One stolen life

One lost shoe- One desperate Father

One lost shoe- One grieving mother-

One lost shoe- One future denied

One lost shoe

Hinda’s parents  Dov and Tzipporah Cohen both survived the Holocaust but forever there was a void that could never be filled, a void caused by hate and evil. I cannot imagine how they felt nor do I want to because it would dive me insane.

 

 

 

Judenfrei-Free of Jews: At least 2 executions a man per day.

Frei

I am always amazed by the fact that there are still people who desperately want to deny the Holocaust. Although there is so much evident and a lot of it very graphic, they still say it never happened and that the photographic evidence are staged pictures, produced by the allies.

The one thing they do forget is the evidence produced by the Nazi’s themselves. The Nazis kept records of nearly everything they did, in fact they insisted in getting this done pright. Some used the records to impress their superiors. Reports like the Jaeger and the Stahlecker reports proved extremely valuable during the Nuremberg trials.

nuremberg

Franz Walter Stahlecker  was commander of the SS  for the Reichskommissariat Ostland (the civilian occupation regime in the Baltic states-Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania-, the northeastern part of Poland and the west part of  Belarus).in 1941–42.

On October 16 1941, Stahlecker submitted a report documenting the murder of over 220,000 Jewish men,women and children between  June 22 and October 15, 1941,by Einsatzgruppe A.

report

The map at the start of this blog was included in the report, it gives the breakdown of the deaths per country, the deaths are illustrated as coffins. The total number on the map is just over 218,000 so I don’t know if the map was complete before he finished his report or if there are discrepancies, either way the numbers are massive On top of the map it says “Judenfrei” meaning free of Jews.

Most of these killings would have been done via executions. The einsatzgruppen varied from 500-1000 men, so if you take the higher number of 1000 that would come down to more then 220 executions per man, or close to 2 executions, per man a day.

But if you take that massive number of 220,000 it still only represents about 3.5 % of all Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Stahlecker was killed in action on 23 March 1942, by Soviet partisans near  Krasnogvardeysk, Russia.

Stahlbecker

 

 

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Anton Schmid- Austrian Hero.

Schmid

Anton Schmid (January 9, 1900 in Vienna, Austria – April 13, 1942 in Vilnius, Lithuania) was an Austrian conscript to the Wehrmacht in World War II who, as a sergeant (feldwebel) in Vilnius, Lithuania, was executed by his superiors for helping 250 Jewish men, women, and children escape from extermination by the Nazi SS ] He did this by hiding them and supplying them with false ID papers.

Anton Schmid was born in Vienna in 1900. He owned a radio shop was married with one daughter. When the Second World War broke out he was drafted into the German army (in 1938 Austria became part of Germany and therefore all Austrians were now German citizens).

Austria

He served first in Poland, and after the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 in the newly occupied territories. Schmid was stationed in Vilna, and put in charge of the Versprengten-Sammelstelle – the army unit responsible for reassigning soldiers who had been separated from their units. His headquarters were situated in the Vilna railway station, and like all the people in the area, he became witness to the persecution and murder of the Jews. Soon rumors spread in the ghetto that an Austrian soldier was being friendly towards Jews. It was Schmid who used every possibility to help the Jews. He employed them as workers for his military unit, provided papers to some, got others released from the infamous Lukiski prison.

Lukiškės_Prison

He used his army trucks to transfer them to less dangerous places, and went as far as to shelter Jews in his apartment and office.

Herman Adler and his wife Anita were members of the Zionist movement in Vilna. When Adler was in danger, Schmid arranged a hiding place for the couple at his home. At Adler’s request Schmid met with one of the leaders of the Dror pioneer movement, Mordechai Tenenbaum-Tamarof. A special relationship was forged between the Wehrmacht soldier and the Jewish Zionist activist. Schmid began to help the Jewish underground.

Schmid repeatedly used military vehicles to smuggle Jews from Vilna, where danger seemed to be greater at that time, to other places where there was relative quiet; he took members of the resistance movement from Vilna to Bialystok and even to Warsaw; he facilitated contact between the Jewish underground groups in various locations, passing messages and transferring activists. In October 1941 in an attempt to reduce the Jewish population of Vilna, the Germans distributed 3,000 yellow colored permits to expert workers. Each permit protected its owner and three members of his family, and all the remaining Jews – those without permits – were  to be killed. Schmid made sure that his Jewish workers got as many permits as possible, and helped smuggle the others out of Vilna.

Vilna Ghetto gate

On 31 December 1941 Schmid hosted the leadership of the Dror Jewish underground in his apartment to mark the New Year. He used the occasion to once again express his repulsion towards Nazism. Tenenbaum, also present, responded that when the Jewish State would come into being after the war, it would honor Schmid for his help to the Jews. Schmid replied that he would wear that award with pride. Regrettably, both men did not live to see the end of the war, the establishment of the State of Israel and the Jewish State’s recognition of Schmid’s heroism.

As time went on, Schmid’s exploits got bolder. He was warned by Tenembaum that knowledge about his help to the Jews had widely spread and that he was in grave danger. But Schmid persisted and went on helping the persecuted Jews. He was to pay for his humanity with his life. In the second half of January 1942 he was arrested and court-martialed for high treason. After being found guilty, he was executed on April  the 13th 1942.

Before his execution he wrote a letter to his wife from his prison cell – “I only acted as a human being and desired doing harm to no one.”

Only two letters of his have been preserved as the only written testimonial of his motives. In one letter to his wife Stefi, Schmid described after his arrest his horror at the sight of mass murder and of children being beaten on the way:

“I will tell you how this came about: there were many Jews here, who were rounded up by the Lithuanian militia and were shot in a field outside of the City, always around 2,000 to 3,000 people. The children were already killed on the way by bashing them against trees. You can only imagine.”

Wilna, Juden, litauischer Polizist

It was not only Schmid who suffered the consequences of his humane and brave conduct. After her husband’s execution, Schmid’s widow and daughter suffered abuse from their neighbors for his alleged treachery. In those days there was wide popular support of Nazism. It is only many years after the war that a street in Vienna was named after Schmid.

_Anton_Schmid-Hof

In 1964 – over twenty years after Schmid’s execution and Tenebaum’s death in the Bialystok ghetto uprising – Tenenbaum’s promise to Schmid was fulfilled. Yad Vashem bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Anton Schmid.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Bundesarchiv

Yad Vashem

Kazys Škirpa-Lithuanian Diplomat;Russian Teacher and War Criminal

Kazys_Skirpa

There are several things that amaze me in the story of this man. Firstly even though I have read a lot about the Holocaust I had never heard of him, his name was pointed out to me by an acquaintance.

Secondly he actually lived in Ireland for three years after the war, from 1946 to 1949. Although initially I only had seen a mention of this on Wikipedia which wasn’t enough for me to take as gospel truth, but I came across an article posted by the Lithuanian Embassy in Ireland dated the 16th of September 2011, where he was mentioned.

“Lithuanians also felt the helping hand of the Irish during this tragic period of our history when independence was lost. The last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania Kazys Škirpa was cordially received in Ireland, and Dublin was home to the famous Lithuanian statesman from 1946 to 1949.”

Thirdly ,after Dublin he emigrated to the United States. He worked at the Library of Congress. In 1975 his memoir book about the 1941 independence movement was published. Originally interred in Washington, D.C,where he died on August 18 1979,unpunished for his crimes.

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Kazys Škirpa (born February 18, 1895, Namajūnai, Kovno Governorate, Lithuania – August 18, 1979, Washington DC) was a Lithuanian military officer and diplomat. He is best known as the founder of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and his involvement in the attempt to establish Lithuanian independence in June 1941. His legacy is controversial due to LAF’s anti-Semitic policies and later collaboration in the Holocaust

During World War I he was mobilized into the Russian army and attempted to form Lithuanian detachments in Petrograd. After Lithuania declared independence in 1918, he returned and volunteered during the Lithuanian Wars of Independence. In 1920, as a member of the Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania. After that he decided to pursue military education in Institute of Technology in Zurich, Higher Military School in Kaunas, and Royal Military Academy (Belgium). Upon graduation in 1925, he worked as chief of the General Staff, but was forced to resign after the 1926 Lithuanian coup d’état, because he was actively refusing it and was trying to gather military force to protect the Government.

Lithuanian_coup_1926

Later he served as a Lithuanian representative to Germany (1927–1930), League of Nations (1937), Poland (1938), and again Germany (1938–1941). After Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, Škirpa fled to Germany and formed the anti-Semitic and anti-Polish Lithuanian Activist Front, a short-lived resistance organisation whose goal was to liberate Lithuania and re-establish its independence by working with the Nazis.

(Skirpa in the middle of the picture)

Rastikis-SKirpa-Hitler

When Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, LAF cooperated with the Nazis and killed many Lithuanian Jews .

77608

t1larg.yadvashem

He was named Prime Minister in the Provisional Government of Lithuania, however Germans placed him under house arrest and did not allow him to leave for Lithuania.

49bcdb2d-fbae-469d-a261-45726869c19b

From Berlin he moved to southern Germany and was allowed a short visit to Kaunas only in October 1943.In June 1944, he was arrested for sending a memorandum to the Nazi officials asking to replace German authorities in Lithuania with a Lithuanian government. He was first imprisoned in a concentration camp in Bad Godesberg and in February 1945 moved to Jezeří Castle.

03-SkirpaKovok

The Lithuanian Central State Archives have made available digital copies of Kazys Škirpa’s (1895-1979) original memoir, “Fight! Efforts to Rescue Lithuania” (Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą), along with 110 documents which he references. These works detail his efforts from June 1940 to July 1942 to free Lithuania from Soviet-occupation and establish its independence as a New Lithuania within the context of Hitler’s New Europe. They make clear that ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania was a high priority for Škirpa from July 1940 (when he submitted his first proposals to Nazi strategist Peter Kleist) to May 1941 (when he honored requests from Lithuania not to send any more literature). Škirpa’s correspondence with Lithuania’s diplomats shows that Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas supported his plans for ethnic cleansing.

Below are some English translations of the memoirs

Jews of Lithuania!

The Lithuanian nation long suffered your ungratefulness and audacity, although by your own behavior you yourselves fostered in the Lithuanian nation a deep disdain for Jews. However, the Lithuanian nation cannot forgive how you bear yourself in this recent period because it cannot and never will forget the fact that you betrayed Lithuania in its most difficult and unfortunate time in its historical life.

Therefore the Lithuanian Activist Front, restoring a new Free and Independent Lithuania, in the name of the entire Lithuanian nation ceremoniously and irrevocably declares that:

  • 1. The old right of refuge which Vytautas the Great granted to Jews in Lithuania is revoked completely and for all times;
  • 2. It is demanded that Jews abandon the land of Lithuania as soon as possible. Whosoever of Jewish nationality at this time does not take off along with the Soviet army will be:
    • 1. Arrested and handed over to a military field trial if they have distinguished themselves by their especially wicked actions directed against Lithuania, the Lithuanian nation or an individual Lithuanian;
    • 2. Removed from Lithuania by force, and their property seized for the general purposes of the Lithuanian nation and state;
    • 3. Whosoever of the Jews should try to destroy or damage their property will be severely punished on the spot.

Lithuanian Activist Front’s SENIOR LEADERSHIP

19410510_Lozoraitis_Turauskui_668_1_734_00199

Kazys Škirpa imagined that the Nazi German air force could drop this and other leaflets at the start of the war and thus incite Lithuanians to rebel. He first proposed this on July 13, 1940 to Nazi party strategist Peter Kleist of Dienststelle von Ribbentrop. Škirpa includes “Raus die Juden aus Litauen” (Jews, get the hell out of Lithuania) as one of the proposed leaflets in his strategic plan which he submitted to Kurt Graebe of the Military High Command (OKW) on January 25, 1941. Bronys Raila wrote between 11 and 19 (“keliolika”) leaflets for Kazys Škirpa and this might well have been one of them. Kazys Škirpa submitted the completed leaflet on April 28 to OKW, on May 10 to Dienststelle von Ribbentrop, and on May 12 to Kurt Graebe. He also shared it with his fellow Lithuanian diplomats along with his letter to Stasys Lozoraitis (Rome, Italy) dated April 7, 1941, with a copy to Edvardas Turauskas (Bern, Switzerland), and a request that the latter acquaint Petras Klimas (Vichy, France), Jurgis Šaulys (Lugano, Switzerland) and Albertas Gerutis (Bern, Switzerland). Škirpa also shared their correspondence and documents in Berlin with Ernestas Galvanauskas, who the ambassadors settled on as the chairman of their Lithuanian National Committee.

After the war, he went to Paris and from there to Dublin where he taught Russian language at a University. It is unclear which one but it’s more then likely Trinity College because that is the only University in Dublin with a Russian department.

download

 In 1949, he emigrated to the United States. He worked at the Library of Congress. In 1975 his memoir book about the 1941 independence movement was published. Originally interred in Washington, D.C., his remains were returned to Kaunas in June 1995, where he was reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery.

skirpa-sukilimas-18

References

http://defendinghistory.com/documents-which-argue-for-ethnic-cleansing-by-kazys-skirpa-stasys-rastikis-stasys-lozoraitis-and-petras-klimas-in-1940-1941-and-by-birute-terese-burauskaite-in-2015/78459

http://www.selflearners.net/wiki/Holocaust/Kazys%C5%A0kirpa

http://urm.lt/ie/en/news/address-by-his-excellency-vidmantas-purlys-at-the-commemoration-of-the-20th-anniversary-of-the-establishment-of-the-diplomatic-relations-between-ireland-and-lithuania-15-september-griffith-college-dublin