Based on the Keynote address delivered at the 30th Annual Educators’ Conference on the Holocaust at Arizona State University on February 28, 2022.
By Grant Gochin
Three of my grandparents were born in the Baltics. Their families were slaughtered. They spent their lives searching for anyone that could have survived. There were none. Those three grandparents were Brocha Leya Novosedz of Birzai, Lithuania. Samuel Gochin of Papile Lithuania, and Dora Rummel of Janjelgava, Latvia.
World War II began in 1939. Nazis created ghettos in Poland and elsewhere but the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem” and the mass slaughter of Jews was not decided until the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942.
What changed between the launch of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941, and the Wannsee Conference in 1942? What changed was the slaughter of Jews in Eastern Europe, in the “Holocaust by Bullets”. This genocide, perpetrated by locals, showed Nazis how easily a population could be co-opted to murder their neighbours. It showed the Nazis a path to the possibilities of total annihilation of Jews throughout Europe.
The slaughter of Jews in Lithuania began prior to the arrival of the Nazis.
In a country of 2,500,000 people, there were fewer than 1,000 Nazi’s in the whole of Lithuania during the Holocaust. With so few Nazi’s, they alone could not have forced Jews into ghettos, plunder their assets even before they are murdered, torture them, commit mass rape, and then murder about 220,000 Jews. This was done mostly by Lithuanians, in, what is now known as – the “Holocaust by Bullets”.
915 Lithuanians or 0.04% of the Lithuanian population were found by Yad Vashem to have rescued Jews. This leaves 99.96% of Lithuanians either perpetrators, bystanders or have insufficient proof of their unsubstantiated claims. It is rather ironic that almost every Lithuanian I have met in the past 30 years has told me that their family was within the 0.04% of rescuers – unsubstantiated claims to be sure. These misstatements reflect the widespread revisionism within Lithuanian society and the dishonest official teachings of the Holocaust by the government of Lithuania. Included within the 99.96% of Lithuanians, are those responsible for the “Holocaust by Bullets”, and the annihilation of 96.4% of Lithuanian Jews. My family included!
According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance:
– “Holocaust denial seeks to erase the history of the Holocaust. In doing so, it seeks to legitimize Nazism and antisemitism.”
– “Holocaust distortion acknowledges aspects of the Holocaust as factual. It nevertheless excuses, minimizes, or misrepresents the Holocaust in a variety of ways and through various media”.
Lithuanians began murdering Jews prior to the arrival of Nazi’s. Often at murder sites, no Germans were even present. There are multiple cases where Nazi’s complained about the savagery and cruelty of Lithuanians. Lithuanians traveled to neighbouring countries to murder Jews. Lithuania had the highest murder rate percentage of Jews in all of Europe. Some Lithuanians were disturbed by the blood lust displayed by their countrymen. National leadership asked that Jews not be murdered so publicly to reduce angst suffered by spectators. Nonetheless, the slaughter of Jews was often perpetrated in public festivals with parties held after to celebrate the slaughter of their neighbours and the sharing of the plunder.
Facts are inconvenient for Lithuania. Who wants to be known as a country of such savagery? There was no possibility of Lithuania denying the Holocaust, it is the most documented genocide in history. The government of Lithuania therefore decided to implement a state sponsored programme of Holocaust distortion. Here are four examples:
Example one: Kazys Skirpa was supposed to be the Prime Minister of Lithuania, but he was detained in Berlin. Brazaitis became Prime Minister instead. Skirpa represented Lithuania to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Government. Skirpa called for the elimination of Jews from Lithuania and likely proposed this idea to Nazis. He was the founder of the Lithuanian Activist Front who was responsible for murdering Jews publicly, and who broadcast Nazi talking points into Lithuania inciting the murders. The government of Lithuania called this merely an “incident of antisemitism” and claimed that by calling for the elimination of Jews, he didn’t mean to actually hurt them! Lithuania has absolved Skirpa of any crimes and officially hail him as their national hero. This is Holocaust revisionism.
Example two: Juozas Ambrazevičius Brazaitis became the Lithuanian Prime Minster. He called for Jews not to be murdered so publicly. He established the first concentration camp for Jews in Lithuania.
After the Holocaust, both Skirpa and Brazaitis were given visas to immigrate to the USA. Brazaitis’s crimes were investigated by US Congress, but Congress screwed up. They investigated an incorrect name, with incorrect data. The investigation therefore was invalid from the start. Leading the investigation was the US Immigration Service. Brazaitis died prior to the end of the investigation which meant there was no possibility of concluding the investigation as there was no longer a living body to deport. The investigation was therefore terminated for lack of a legal subject.
The Government of Lithuania falsely stated that US Congress closed the investigation not for lack of probative value, but rather that Congress “completely exonerated and rehabilitated Brazaitis”. This is an absurd falsification. Four different US lawyers wrote lengthy legal analyses on the reasons the Lithuanian government interpretations of “rehabilitation and exoneration” were just plain ridiculous. The Lithuanian Government ignored these American legal analyses of Congressional statements.
US Congress took note of the official Lithuanian governmental reinterpretation of Congressional documents. In 2019, Congressman Brad Sherman wrote to the Lithuanian Prime Minister explaining US Law, and that the Lithuanian government’s finding of facts were misrepresentations and misstatements. They were legally impossible and needed to be revoked. The Government of Lithuania ignored Congressman Sherman.
I filed a legal action against the government of Lithuania in their own courts for their Holocaust deceptions. The Lithuanian Government responded that they know more about US law and operation of Congress than Congress, and specialist US lawyers. They called Congressman Sherman “just a politician” and to date, Lithuania continues their fraud. This constitutes Holocaust fraud. The Lithuanian Government freely reinterprets official Congressional documents for Holocaust deceptions and they insult our legislators.
Example three: Antanas Baltusis. Majdanek Concentration Camp was public. The fences were barbed wire. The citizens of Lublin could see the prisoners. They complained about the smell of death. Nobody in the surroundings were unaware of the daily slaughter taking place in this death camp.
The leader of the guards at this concentration camp was a Lithuanian named Antanas Baltusis. The government of Lithuania declared Baltusis innocent of any crimes on the grounds he served on the outside of the camp and did not know what he was guarding on the inside of the Camp. Apparently, he could not see through the wire, he did not smell what the general public could smell from many miles away; he did not see the Jews going in and ash coming out. His colleagues who were committing murders every single day did not tell him what they were doing. Supposedly he never asked what he was guarding, never saw anything, never heard anything, and never knew anything. This is Holocaust deception.
Example four: Jonas Noreika. This monster murdered my own family in Lithuania. He was just one regional leader that the Lithuanian Government continues to glorify. Many years ago, I was standing over a death pit containing the twisted bodies of my own relatives. I asked, who did the actual murdering? It was Jonas Noreika. This information was first exposed in Germany in 1984. This was six years before Lithuania regained independence. In 1995, President Brazauskas of Lithuania stood in front of the Israeli Parliament and offered his apology for the actions of Lithuanians. That’s what he said outside Lithuania. But when he returned to Lithuania, he promptly declared many Holocaust perpetrators innocent of the crimes they committed and made them into national heroes, Noreika included.
Hitler wrote the book “Mein Kampf” where he outlined his plans for the Jews of Europe. Noreika wrote the Mein Kampf of Lithuania. He was a rabid Jew-hater. He was one of the most powerful leaders in Lithuania and was a mass murderer. We do not know if he murdered with his own hand; however, we do know that he ordered the murders and signed many documents persecuting Jews. Noreika was responsible for the slaughter of anywhere between 8,000 – 15,000 Lithuanian Jews. Men, women, children, babies, elderly, sick and disabled.
I have been addressing the issue of Noreika with the Lithuanian government for almost a decade. They have threatened me with criminal and Constitutional charges for exposing their fraud and for insulting their heroes. These threats remain ongoing.
Over the past many years, I have filed at least 20 legal actions against the government of Lithuania, all rejected by their Courts and government. Every branch of the Lithuanian government involved has contributed to the deception, this includes the current President of Lithuania.
What Lithuania never contemplated is that a witness would step forward. Noreika’s own granddaughter, Silvia Foti. Foti wrote a memoir about her own shocking discovery of her grandfather’s crimes – his murder of anywhere between 8,000 – 15,000 Lithuanian Jews. The Lithuanian Government’s only response to her discoveries are to attack her credibility and her family. To enforce their ideology, they then further rewrote history to absurdly declare that Noreika was a secret rescuer of Jews. Silvia Foti has become a leading international voice speaking against government sponsored Holocaust revisionism.
Lithuania’s then Ambassador to Germany – Ambassador Semaska, also the grandson of a Holocaust perpetrator, (whose grandfather was similarly rewritten into a rescuer of Jews), made the public case that Noreika had not murdered a single Jew. Adolf Hitler did not murder a single Jew by his own hand either! Vladimir Putin has not murdered a single Ukrainian by his own hand. This is how far the Lithuanian government has stretched itself to protect their murderers.
The government of Lithuania stated that Noreika MUST be considered “completely innocent” as he had not been placed on trial and convicted during his lifetime. Neither was Hitler or Stalin.
Shortly after denying Noreika’s crimes and claiming he could not be prosecuted after his death, the government of Lithuania declared that a poet named Cvirka was an enemy of Lithuanians and removed his statue. This duplicity displays Lithuania’s standards of historical accuracy and guilt depend exclusively on the victim’s Jewishness or lack thereof.
The Lithuanian military have honoured both Skirpa and Noreika on the covers of their military magazine as the State honors them as heroes. This is Holocaust revisionism. The current Lithuanian Minister of Defense was the head of a programme to investigate Holocaust Survivors for possible war crimes. This is Holocaust inversion. He also contributed to Lithuania’s Holocaust deception.
Twenty legal cases, vast amounts of international publicity and affirmation by multiple governments and NGO’s have shown there is no path for truth inside Lithuania. My legal case is currently in front of the United Nations. It will only be a foreign body that imposes truth upon Lithuania.
These are just four examples of Holocaust denial, distortion, revision, deception, fraud and inversion in Lithuania, and there are many more. While, in my opinion, Lithuania is the worst of the Holocaust revisionists, they are by no means the only ones.
Both the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the US State Department have since identified and declared Lithuania as Holocaust revisionists. One has to ask the question – “That Lithuania continues to commit such blatant fraud about events from 80 years ago – is there anything about which they will not lie?”
The truth about the murder of approximately 220,000 Lithuanian citizens is dependent only upon their Jewish ethnicity.
Since regaining independence in 1990, Lithuania has not punished a single murderer of a Jew. Or is it that it “will not”? Lithuania did all they could NOT to prosecute Holocaust perpetrators and waited until they died so they could not be prosecuted. This is Holocaust revisionism.
The declarations by the Lithuanian Government that murderers were actually rescuers and that the guilty cannot be determined is finding its way into Lithuanian academia. These frauds have now become primary source facts published by a European Union member government, who is also an ally of America. It is only a matter of time before these falsifications find their way into American textbooks and destroy decades of combined and cumulative work towards factual Holocaust education. The biggest threat against Holocaust education in the world today is the Lithuanian governments’ Holocaust frauds.
Not only does this lead to a corruption of education, but it also has a wider and worrisome impact. When such a clearly documented genocide can be so easily rewritten – it gives license to future perpetrators to escape culpability. After all, if a European government can commit Holocaust fraud so openly, why would we think genocide fraud could not be so easily replicated in Africa, or Central America, or even in Ukraine? Allowing the rewriting of the Holocaust facilitates the next genocide. Perpetrators knowing they can rewrite history allows them to start wars with impunity, because, as we know, it has been the victor that has written the history books. Truth must prevail for the course of history to veer towards peace and justice.
Lithuania is currently impervious to truth, but we cannot allow this to impact our educational systems in America. We are working to implement new policies that will require the State Department to provide annual updates in their Human Rights Reports and flag any government that engages in Holocaust and other genocide denial and distortion. This will lay the foundation to track and report on government-sponsored genocide, denial and distortion, ensuring that crimes against humanity will not be whitewashed and rewritten by future governments.
For a country such as Lithuania to find a path out of this morass, it will need fresh leadership. For future generations to not be tarred with the taint of Holocaust deception, falsified history must be repudiated, and truth told. For Lithuania to show sincerity, national leadership responsible for Holocaust denial must be charged under their own national Holocaust denial laws. This problem did not begin recently and it will take time to correct. It is the task of international academia to ensure that history is reported accurately. We do have real allies inside Lithuania who would like to see their country break with their past. We need to encourage them.
One thinks of the people of Ukraine. May they not be the victim of the world’s next genocide and may history accurately record what is happening.
About the writer:
Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo, and as Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. He is the Emeritus Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty five years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania.
While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves. LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).
3 thoughts on “Lithuania’s Holocaust by Bullets and Revisionism”
Thank you for this report. My family were Lithuanian, leaving with their lives and a samovar in the 1880’s. It was shocking to realize that the antisemitism of a time a mere 55 years earlier was the same that continued, and without any doubt, exists today.
Thank you for your continuous efforts on behalf of those who have no voice. Yasher Koach.
My family on my father’s side were Russians. My dad left his home to escape Hitler and often moved till arrival in South Africa to help destroy Nazis.
Holocaust denialism is all persuasive and slowly eating at the truth and historical fact, it’s only a matter of time that Holocaust education will take a different journey and be relegated to the storage attics of library’s and museums in the “free West”.
Currently, not related to holocaust denialism, but denial of atrocities is the U.S. wanting to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard off the list as a terrorist organization. If this is US Government policy what chance does Holocaust education in the US have.
As honorary consul for Toga and Special Envoy for the African Union those of us descendants of Lithuanian Jewry of which a vast majority of South Africa Jews are, I would implore Grant Gochi to take a closer look at the ANC’s vilification of Israel but meaning Jews, given recent high-profile cases of hate speech by those close to and within ANC leadership.