How a Chicago teacher sparked a 'memory war,' forcing Lithuania to confront its Nazi past

NBC News

By Gil Skorwid and Patrick Smith
The dominant narrative in Lithuania has long been one of resistance to both the Soviets and the Nazis. Shonagh Rae / for NBC News

VILNIUS, Lithuania — As her mother lay dying, Silvia Foti made a promise. She vowed to continue her plans to write a book about her mother's father, Foti's grandfather, a Lithuanian hero known as "General Storm."

He was among the young soldiers who fought the Soviet Union in its brief but brutal first occupation of Lithuania in 1940, and he was later shot in a KGB prison. He, like many of his comrades, is considered a national hero.

But Foti, a high school English teacher from Chicago, said that after years of researching the man, whose name was Jonas Noreika, she discovered that her grandfather collaborated with the Nazis by facilitating the extermination of thousands of Lithuanian Jews.

"He agreed with the Nazis on the elimination of the Jews," she said.

Publish : 2021-04-04 15:47:00

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