Photo: Silvia Foti holds a photograph of her grandfather Jonas Noreika at her home in Chicago in 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)
by Silvia Foti
A little bronze plaque hanging on a library wall in a city most Americans know nothing about is at the epicenter of a battle over the Holocaust.
In the last six years, this modest plaque in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, inspired 20 legal actions in five courts, vigilante action by a disgruntled citizen with a sledgehammer, a scandal for the city’s mayor and candlelit vigils by protesters seeking to resurrect it in a grander incarnation.
The power of this plaque comes from a question of whether its honoree is guilty of murdering thousands of Jews in Lithuania. Those who want the plaque up say its namesake is a brave patriot who fought against the Communists, took orders from Nazis and had no idea his signature would lead to murdered civilians. By extension, it’s about more than one person’s guilt or innocence–it’s about the guilt or innocence of Lithuania.
Full opinion piece here.