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Lithuania

  • Lithuania Voids Pardon of Alleged War Criminal

    The Lithuanian Supreme Court has annulled a 1991 pardon granted to an alleged war criminal. Petras Kriksciunas was accused by the Soviet authorities of killing Jews in Vilnius, Lithuania, during World War II. Some 50,000 Lithuanians who were convicted as war criminals by Soviet courts were exonerated by the Baltic nation after it gained independence… More ▸

  • New Synagogue Opens in Lithuania

    A new synagogue has been dedicated in the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda. The synagogue includes a small soup kitchen to offer meals to needy Jews twice a week, and a Torah scroll the community received from a British synagogue. The Lithuanian seaport, formerly known as Memel, had a Jewish community before the war of 10,000… More ▸

  • Israeli Ambassador’s Speech Provokes Storm in Lithuania

    A speech by Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania has that country’s politicians up in arms. Within days after the speech by Oded Ben Hur, Lithuania’s Parliament delayed action on amendments to the country’s criminal code that would facilitate the investigation of alleged World War II criminals. During a discussion of the amendments, parliamentarian Rimantas Smetona urged… More ▸

  • Lithuanian Leaders Laud Legacy of 18th-century Jewish Scholar

    Commemorations marking the 200th yahrzeit of the Vilna Gaon began this week in Lithuania amid criticism from some Jewish leaders that the country had failed to bring alleged war criminals to justice. This week’s opening session of Parliament, which was attended by Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas and Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, was devoted to speeches… More ▸

  • Lithuania Premier Wants Review of War Criminal Pardon Practice

    Lithuania’s prime minister is seeking to accelerate the annulment of pardons granted to suspected war criminals. Coming just days before the commemoration of the 200th yahrzeit of the Vilna Gaon — an event boycotted by some Jewish groups — the prime minister’s call last week for action was viewed by some as a ploy aimed… More ▸

  • 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 ▸

  • 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 ▸