A controversial memorial plaque to Jonas Noreika, a Lithuanian military officer known as Generolas Vetra (General Storm), in central Vilnius was removed on Saturday morning, Aleksandras Zubriakovas, an advisor to the Vilnius mayor, confirmed it to BNS Lithuania.
Minia susirinko prie sienos, kur kabėjo Jono Noreikos atminimo lenta
© DELFI

In his words, the plaque was taken to and will be stored at municipal enterprise Grinda.

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius says his decision to remove the plaque is aimed at applying the "equal principle" to all memorial signs related to totalitarian regimes, be it the removal of the Soviet statues from the Green Bridge four years ago, or the removal of the plaque to Noreika.

"This is why I made the decision to remove the memorial plaque to Jonas Noreika who, despite all of his effort and fighting against Lithuania's enemies, also acted without any justification and took on the responsibility given to him by the occupation government to isolate Jews and confiscate their assets, thus creating conditions for the occupation government to later kill them," Simasius said in a statement given to BNS Lithuania.

Public discussions on this plaque have been taking place 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 honor Noreika as a prominent member of the anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania.

Lithuania's Jewish community has for some time demanded the removal of the plaque honoring Noreika who, as head of Siauliai County during the Nazi occupation period, signed documents on the establishment of a Jewish ghetto and on arrangements regarding Jewish property.

The plaque for the controversial figure was in April smashed with a hammer by Stanislovas Tomas who unsuccessfully tried to run for the European Parliament. It was later glued back together and put back on the wall, and the municipality's representatives vowed to consult historians.

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

BNS
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