History of Lithuania: Nazis, Waffen SS and World War Two.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
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Outrage as Nazi camp in Lithuania has been turned into a party venue
Nestled in a hillside and topped with lush grass and flowers, it`s easy to see why this venue is popular for weddings. But Kaunas` Seventh Fort in Zaliakalnis, Lithuania, an 18-acre complex which dates back to 1882, happens to also to harbour a dark history as a Nazi concentration camp where up to 5,000 Jews died. It was purchased by Lithuanian non-profit organisation Military Heritage Centre in 2009, and is now available to hire for parties, conferences and kids` camps - a move which has been described as `shocking and disgusting` by a Holocaust commemoration group.
Lithuania reburial of WWII leader Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis angers Jewish groups
Jewish groups in Lithuania have condemned the government for financing the reburial of an ex-prime minister who headed the Baltic state in 1941. Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis came to power after Nazi Germany had ousted the Soviets from the country. He later emigrated to the US where he died in 1974. Critics accuse Brazaitis of having been a Nazi collaborator - a wave of anti-Semitic pogroms occurred under his administration. They are angered by the decision to pay for his remains to be repatriated and buried in a four-day funeral event.
Lithuania: Are Holocaust survivors, who fought the Nazis as Soviet Partizans, war criminals
Yitzhak Arad fled to the forest just days before the Jews in his Lithuanian village were slaughtered. He is proud he joined the Soviet partisans to fight the Nazis. For a Jew, just to make it through the Holocaust was a triumph: That`s why he wrote his memoir, "The Partisan: From the Valley of Death to Mt. Zion." Arad describes his feats with the Soviet partisans: harassing German military trains, and carrying out "punitive action" against the village of Girdan, where two partisans had been killed. But when Lithuania`s chief war crimes prosecutor, Rimvydas Valentukevicius, read the book he didn`t see a hero. He saw a war criminal.
Red Terror on the Amber Coast - Lithuanian resistance to Soviet control
Adolf Hitler`s plan to kill the Jews is well known. But Josef Stalin`s attempts to change the face of Eastern Europe has been almost lost to history. Red Terror documentary concentrates on Lithuanian resistance to Soviet control 1939-1993, dispelling the glamour that some films and books have bestowed on Communism. It uses archival photographs, newsreel footage and eyewitness accounts by members of the resistance movement to show the soviet atrocities. There also are epic stories of how the resistance was started by kids (whose parents were taken to Siberia) who refused to be forced into the Red Army and how they set up secret bunkers in the forests.
Lithuanian Nazi collaborator Algimantas Dailide fled arrest, living peacefully in Germany
A Lithuanian citizen convicted of collaborating with the Nazis is living in Kirchberg, Germany. As a member of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police, Algimantas Dailide arrested Jews who were attempting to escape the Vilna ghetto and handed them over to the Germans. Dailide is in 9th place on the the Simon Wiesenthal Center`s list of the 10 most wanted Nazis. A Vilnius court convicted him of war crimes in a 2005 trial, but he has remained free. Recently a high court in Lithuania ruled that he would not go to jail because of his frail health. However, he has been seen walking around town and carrying his groceries.
Lithuania investigates WWII war crimes committed by three Jewish persons
A meeting between Jewish communal officials and Lithuania`s PM did not dispel rising tension over Lithuania`s probe into alleged war crimes committed by Jewish partisans during World War II. The three people being questioned (Yitzhak Arad - a former chairman of Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, and Fania Branstovsky and Rachel Margolis - women part of the Red Army`s anti-Nazi resistance movement) have denied the allegations. While no charges have been pressed, Lithuanian authorities are looking to question the suspects about their role in a January 1944 massacre in the village of Koniuchy.
Lithuania bans Soviet and Nazi symbols: flags, emblems, badges, insignia
Lithuania`s parliament has passed the hardest restrictions anywhere in the former Soviet Union on the display of Soviet or Nazi signs and symbols. It will now be a crime to display the images of Soviet and Nazi leaders. This includes flags, emblems, badges, insignia, such as the hammer and sickle or swastika. Some say equating Soviet and Nazi symbols will surely infuriate Russia. The new law also prohibits the Nazi and Soviet national anthems but does not define if this applies to the modern-day Russian national anthem, which uses the Soviet music with different lyrics.
U.S. Navy to aid Estonia solve WW2 mystery of Finnish airliner, missing American courier
U.S. naval experts will begin searching for the wreckage of a Finnish airliner that crashed into the Baltic Sea in June 1940, just days before the Soviet Union annexed Estonia. 9 people were on board the aircraft, including U.S. diplomatic courier Henry Antheil - one of the first American casualties of World War II. Most experts think the small plane (called Kaleva, a German-made Junkers Ju-52) was shot down by two Soviet fighter bombers on June 14, 1940. Antheil, based in Moscow 1933-1939, had been hurried to Tallinn once it had become clear that the Soviet Union was about to seize Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Lithuanians sue Russia over Soviet jailing
The children of a Lithuanian woman sent to a Soviet labour camp are suing Russia for 400,000 euros - the first such case in the Baltic state. Veronika Puskunigyte-Lipeikiene said her mother was sentenced to 25 years jail over allegations she robbed the corpses of Soviet soldiers killed by German forces in World War II and spread anti-Soviet propaganda. "It was a sheer lie. All she was guilty of was her wish to emigrate from the Soviet Union to rejoin our father, who left for the US before the war erupted." She was rehabilitated in 1989. Lithuania adopted a law in 2000 instructing the govt to start negotiations on compensation for 50 years of Soviet occupation.
Baltic nations wanted to criminalize Stalin’s atrocities
Baltic nations decided that Stalin’s atrocities should be considered in plans to make Holocaust denial a crime. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia demanded to make it illegal for people to condone or deny crimes against humanity committed under the Soviet regime led by Joseph Stalin. "Stalinism and Nazism should be treated equally." But other EU nations were loathe to agree to the demand because they do not equate them with the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. Although seen in the West and by many Russians as a tyrant responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of his own people, Stalin is also revered as a powerful leader.
Baltics mourn deported sent to Siberia by the Soviet occupiers (Article no longer available from the original source)
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania paid tributes to the tens of thousands of persons who 65 years ago were rounded up in dawn raids and sent to Siberia by the Baltic states` Soviet occupiers. In the early hours of June 14, 1941, 10,000 Estonians, 15,000 Latvians and 16,000 Lithuanians were herded onto cattle trains and shipped out to the far eastern reaches of the Soviet Union, where many of them died. The expulsions were carried out "to persecute and silence" opponents of Josef Stalin`s Soviet Union, which occupied the 3 Baltic states first in 1940, and again at the close of World War II following a few years under Nazi occupation, Latvia`s Occupation Museum said.