Demonstrators in Lithuania’s capital city installed without a permit a plaque honoring a Nazi collaborator after the municipality had an earlier plaque dedicated to him removed.
Nationalists hastily mounted the plaque they had made for Jonas Noreika in Vilnius on Thursday, on an external wall of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, during a demonstration against the removal of an earlier monument honoring him in July.
Noreika was a high-ranking police officer who is believed to have personally overseen the murder of Jews when the Nazis controlled Lithuania. He was sentenced to death by a Soviet court and killed in 1946. Many Lithuanians today regard him as a hero for his fight against Soviet domination.
The Jewish Community of Lithuania condemned the decision to mount another plaque for Noreika to replace the one it and the Simon Wiesenthal Center had lobbied for years to have removed. That plaque was smashed in April and 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 it, Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s Eastern Europe director, wrote.
The library whose wall again features a plaque for Noreika told the BNS news agency it does not intend to have the plaque removed.