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2019.04.18 15:23

Vilnius to restore Jonas Noreika's memorial plaque

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS2019.04.18 15:23

A controversial memorial plaque to Jonas Noreika, a Lithuanian military officer known as Generolas Vėtra (General Storm), in central Vilnius is to be restored after being smashed with a sledge hammer last week.

It was vandalized by Stanislovas Tomas who made an unsuccessful bid to run for the European Parliament.

Aleksandras Zubriakovas, spokesman for Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, told BNS Lithuania on Thursday about instructions to “glue the plaque back together and put it in place over the coming days”.

The municipal firm Grinda is in charge of the task.

“Since a vandal smashed the plaque, naturally, the city does not tolerate vandalism and must restore it. Otherwise, it would be seen as tolerating vandalism,” he said.

After smashing the plaque, Tomas reported the incident to the police and turned himself in. An investigation has been launched and Tomas is facing a fine of €30,000.

The plaque has been a subject of public debates in Lithuania for many years. The plaque was placed on the facade of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in central Vilnius to honour Noreika as a prominent member of the post-war anti-Soviet resistance.

Lithuania's Jewish community has been demanding to remove the plaque, because Noreika, as head of Šiauliai County during the Nazi occupation, signed documents on setting up a Jewish ghetto and expropriating Jewish property.

Defenders pinpoint Noreika's merits to the underground anti-Soviet movement, stressing that he himself got involved in anti-Nazi activities during wartime.

Noreika was arrested by the Soviet authorities in March 1946 and executed a year later.

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