The court’s decision on March 27 in Vilnius to leave intact the “national hero” status of Noreika, the murderer of Jews in World War II, is not just a miserable decision but also negates all Lithuanian government efforts over the last 25 years to fight anti-Semitism and to build better relations with Israel, and represents the desire to rewrite the truth of history. There is no doubt the court judges knew perfectly well Noreika shot and murdered infants, children, women and elderly Jews, those unable to protect themselves, surrounded by his supporters. The murderers, many of the same type as Noreika, can now proclaim themselves “heroes.”
Any murderer of Jews who wants to receive the title “national hero of Lithuania” need only apply at a Lithuanian court.
This is not the way to build new bridges with Israel, world Jewry and the world at large.
Arie Ben-Ari, chairman
Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel