Protesters in Lithuania’s capital reinstalled last week a memorial plaque to Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika after the municipality had an earlier plaque dedicated to him removed.
The plaque was mounted, without a permit, on a wall of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in Vilnius during a demonstration against the July removal of an earlier monument honoring Noreika. The library told the news agency BNS Lithuania that it will not remove the plaque.
The library’s deputy director for science, Rima Ciceniene, said, “Personal opinions are one thing, and the institutional one is a different thing. We must preserve the memory if the state establishes that a person deserves commemoration. As yet, this person is state-decorated and rehabilitated in all cases by court.”
Noreika, a Lithuanian high-ranking police officer, is believed to have personally overseen the murder of Jews in Nazi-controlled Lithuania. He was arrested by the Soviets in March 1946 and executed in 1947. Many Lithuanians consider him as a hero for fighting against Soviet domination.
The Jewish Community of Lithuania called for the removal of the new plaque that has replaced the one they and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have lobbied for years to have removed.
The original plaque was smashed in April, repaired and then removed in July by order of Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.
“We urge the Lithuanian authorities to remove the new plaque and prosecute those responsible for breaking the law” in installing in, said Efraim Zuroff, director of Simon Wiesenthal Center activities in Eastern Europe.