A new monument in Chicago celebrates US-born Lithuanian Nazi collaborator Adolfas Ramanauskas “Vanagas,” who led a fascist militia that massacred Jews in the Holocaust. EU and NATO member Lithuania heroizes him for fighting the USSR.
By Ben Norton
The United States is now the site of a monument to a Nazi collaborator.
In the suburbs of Chicago, a Lithuanian government-backed group has erected a statue dedicated to US-born Adolfas Ramanauskas (known by the codename Vanagas), who led a fascist militia that massacred Jews in the Holocaust.
Because Ramanauskas also helped lead the fight against the Soviet Union, he has been lionized by NATO allies.
In fact, the current government of Lithuania — a proud member of both the European Union and NATO — even sent its foreign minister to bless this pro-fascist monument at its unveiling ceremony.
"The story of the hero will be passed down from generation to generation, testifying to the heroism, love of and loyalty to his Homeland – Lithuania,” saturday said FM @LinkeviciusL at the ceremony of unveiling of the monument to Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas of #LTFreedomFighters. pic.twitter.com/GFHZKrHeyk
The government-sponsored Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania initiated a campaign to build a monument to Ramanauskas in the town of his birth, New Britain, Connecticut.
Lithuania’s state-funded Genocide and Resistance Research Centre has spent the past nearly three decades fueling Holocaust revisionism by portraying Nazi-collaborating Lithuanian fascists who murdered Jews in the Holocaust as anti-communist resistance heroes, while depicting Jewish anti-fascist partisans as war criminals; and by advancing the “double genocide” theory that falsely equates Soviet atrocities with Nazi crimes against humanity.
This led the Lithuanian government to move the monument to the private property of the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, which has a large Lithuanian-American community.
On May 4, the monument to the infamous Nazi collaborator was unveiled in a ceremony sponsored by EU and NATO member Lithuania. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius traveled to the US for the event, and honored Ramanauskas as a “freedom fighter.”
Moving & meaningful ceremony in Lemont, on the outskirts of Chicago, today. Together with Lithuanian community we’ve just unveiled monument to the leader of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Adolfas Ramanauskas–Vanagas ‘the Hawk’. The legacy of #LTFreedomFighters continues to flourish! pic.twitter.com/aacQrwoVtY
The Russian government pushed back, declaring in response to Linkevicius on Twitter, “Adolfas Ramanauskas (Vanagas) – Nazi collaborator & criminal actively involved durind WWII and afterwards in extermination of Jewish population of Lithuania, participated in massacres of Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Belorussians & other ethnic groups. Glorifying him is shameful!”
The Lithuanian foreign ministry replied with an impassioned defense of the Nazi-collaborating anti-Soviet partisan leader.
You will not drag us down to your level. Yet another reminder: #LTFreedomFighters were tens of thousands of people who resisted Soviet occupation for almost ten years (1944-1953). Their goal was to restore independent, democratic Republic of Lithuania. ➡️ https://t.co/qgGXaIRsp4
A staggering 90 to 96 percent of Jews in Lithuania were killed in the Holocaust. Support for fascism and the Nazi occupation was not uncommon in the deeply right-wing, anti-Semitic, and anti-communist country.
Adolfas Ramanauskas’ role in this genocidal onslaught is well documented. Lithuanian scholar Evaldas Balciunas noted that, in his own memoirs, Ramanauskas “boasts that he served as leader of ‘the rebels’ squad’ during the precise days and weeks of June and July 1941 when these ‘rebels’ of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) were in fact unleashing humiliation, plunder, violence and indeed murder against Jewish neighbors (the Soviet army was escaping Hitler’s invasion, not these white-armbanded LAFers).”
Many Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans took the following oath, as documented by Balciunas:
“I pledge to battle the Bolshevik soldiers in hiding as well as other Bolshevik supporters, Communists, Communist Youth, Pioneers, and all pillagers and enemies of the public order with all my strength and no fear for my own life…
Long live Lithuania, long live our liberator Germany and its leader Adolf Hitler.”
Since the overthrow of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990 and the collapse of the USSR, the increasingly right-wing government in Vilnius has moved to rehabilitate past Nazi collaborators like Ramanauskas.
Lithuania’s parliament the Seimas designated 2018 to be the year of Adolfas Ramanauskas “Vanagas.” The Lithuanian government held a ceremony to commemorate Ramanauskas’ 100th birthday. The Lithuanian Armed Forces marched in honor of the Nazi collaborator, after a flag ritual in front of the parliament building in the capital Vilnius.
In October 2018, the Lithuanian government held a massive two-day state funeral ceremony for Ramanauskas, also featuring the military and top figures from the Catholic Church, including the archbishop of Vilnius. Ramanauskas had been captured by the KGB and killed in 1957, but Lithuania’s post-Soviet right-wing government posthumously honored him with this state funeral, along with a symbolic promotion to brigadier general and the Order of the Cross.
Lithuanian media reports on these state-sponsored ceremonies referred to the fascist leader of an anti-Semitic militia as an “anti-Soviet resistance commander” and “prominent leader of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters.”
NATO’s praise for Baltic Nazi collaborators
This is not the first time NATO allies have honored Nazi collaborators from the Baltic states. The Grayzone reported in July 2017 on a flashy film produced by NATO that honored the Forest Brothers, Baltic pro-fascist fighters who voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis before later fighting the Soviet Union.