Historian Calls for End of Controversy on Lithuanian Nazi Juozas Krikštaponis

Historian Calls for End of Controversy on Lithuanian Nazi Juozas Krikštaponis

A Lithuanian History Institute historian says it’s a mistake to issue awards to commander of the partisan Vytis military district captain Juozas Krikštaponis and to commemorate him in Ukmergė (Vilkomir) and elsewhere.

Mindaugas Pocius who works at the institute’s Twentieth Century History Department said: “There are no doubts among historians regarding Krikštaponis’s participation in the mass murder of Jews and other civilians. We need to put an end [to this controversy].” He was speaking last Thursday at a discussion held by the Ukmergė regional administration, the Lithuanian History Institute and the Ukmergė Jewish Community on the life and person of Juozas Krikštaponis.

The former partisan commander is commemorated and lauded in Ukmergė as a fighter in the post-WWII liberation struggle, but historians say they have determined he was a Holocaust perpetrator. Pocius says bestowing state awards on him was done too hastily and a mistake was made in not doing comprehensive research on Krikštaponis’s biography before commemorating him. A stone monument was erected in his honor and a street named after him in Ukmergė in 1996. In 1997 Dalia Kuodytė, director of the Center for Research of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania, provided him the status of military volunteer. In 2002 president Valdas Adamkus issued a decree promoting Krikštaponis posthumously to the rank of colonel, based on the recommendation of Lithuanian defense minister Linas Linkevičius.

“Of course neither the Defense Ministry nor the President’s Office had complete information. They went by [Genocide] Center’s recommendation, which at that time had not performed research on Krikštaponis’s biography and knew nothing about his activity during the war,” Mindaugas Pocius said.

Full story in Lithuanian here.