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Baltic

  • Lithuanian Officials Minimize Influence of Nationalist Groups

    A debate is growing here over whether the Lithuanian government should crack down on neo-Nazi and nationalist groups. Lithuania’s justice minister, Vytautas Pakalinskis, downplays the significance of the groups, saying they are “still in an embryonic stage and are therefore not subject to criminal prosecution yet.” But Simonas Alperavicius, the leader of the country’s 5,000-member… More ▸

  • Lithuanian Parliament Action Needed for War Criminal Trials

    An accused Nazi war criminal who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship before returning to Lithuania may finally stand trial here later this year. Legal proceedings against Aleksandras Lileikis were postponed last month after medical experts determined that he was not fit to stand trial. Under Lithuanian law, suspects cannot be brought to trial if… More ▸

  • Lithuanian Vandals Desecrate Site of 16th-century Cemetery

    Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas has ordered police and security forces to investigate the desecration of a Jewish monument in the Baltic nation’s capital of Vilnius. Last Friday, vandals scrawled swastikas and spray-painted graffiti on a monument marking the site of Vilnius’ oldest Jewish cemetery. The cemetery was founded in the early 16th century and was… More ▸

  • Book Used in Latvian Schools Demeans Jews, Russians, Poles

    Jewish and human rights activists in Latvia have demanded that the country’s Education Ministry withdraw from schools a history textbook that they charge contains statements insulting to the Baltic nation’s minorities. “Latvian Eulenspiegel,” a reference to a popular character of German and Latvian folklore, contains disparaging references to Jews, who are referred to as “zids,”… More ▸

  • Jews in Estonia to Benefit from Eased Residency Criteria

    Hundreds of Estonian Jews stand to benefit from the government’s decision last week to grant permanent-resident status to the nation’s Russian-speaking minority. Most members of the 3,000-member Russian-speaking Jewish community of Estonia do not have Estonian citizenship because they cannot pass the language test, according to Jewish officials in the capital of Tallinn. And without… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World: Jews in Estonia, Moldova Harmed by Language Laws

    The language laws of two former Soviet republics are blocking employment opportunities for their respective Jewish communities and in one case impeding their chances of obtaining full citizenship rights. In Estonia, most of the country’s Jews do not have passports and are not eligible for citizenship, according to a human rights group based in the… More ▸

  • Court Ruling Brings Lithuanian One Step Closer to Deportation

    A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has upheld a ruling that Jonas Stelmokas entered the United States illegally by concealing his involvement in a Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian battalion during World War II. The ruling affirms the 1995 revocation of Stelmokas’ U.S. citizenship and places him one step closer to deportation, said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the… More ▸

  • Teacher Seminar in Lithuania to Promote Holocaust Study

    Two Holocaust educators will travel to Lithuania this fall to head a seminar for high school teachers in an attempt to introduce Holocaust education there. The B’nai B’rith-sponsored educators, Shalmi Barmore, former director of education at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and Judith Shapiro of Philadelphia, had met with Lithuanian Minister of Education Vladislavas Domarkas and… More ▸

  • Court Revokes U.S. Citizenship of Lithuanian Who Aided Nazis

    A federal court has revoked a man’s U.S. citizenship because of his service in the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police during World War II. Kazys Gimzauskas, 88, went back to Lithuania more than two years ago while he was under investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. He had been living in St. Petersburg,… More ▸

  • Deported War Criminal Says He Seeks Justice in Lithuania

    Aleksandras Likeikis, the former head of the Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian security police who was recently deported to Lithuania, says he returned to Lithuania to seek justice. “If I felt guilty, I wouldn’t have returned to Lithuania,” Lilekis reportedly told journalists in his first public statement. Lileikis has not been charged in Lithuania, though he is under… More ▸