The Mas­sacre of the Jews of Lithuania

Karen Sut­ton
  • Review
By – October 31, 2011

The Mas­sacre of the Jews of Lithua­nia con­fronts some of the myths sur­round­ing the Jews of Lithua­nia and the process which brought about their near-total extinc­tion at the hands of the Nazis’ local Lithuan­ian collaborators. 

The mur­der process in Lithua­nia focused on Ein­satz­grup­pen, mobile killing oper­a­tions. In order to be effec­tive, the Nazis required the assis­tance of local pop­u­la­tions. The two most impor­tant sites for killing were out­side the towns of Vil­na (Vilin­ius), in Ponary, and out­side Kovno (Kaunus).

For years, the Lithuan­ian myth was that locals joined the Nazis in their fight — not against Jews, but against Com­mu­nism. Sut­ton destroys that canard by prov­ing that the Lithua­ni­ans who col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis were appendages of the Nazi mur­der process, and they attached them­selves to the Nazi move­ment because they sub­scribed to the Nazis’ vehe­ment hatred of the Jew­ish Lithua­ni­ans. Togeth­er they mur­dered 90% of the 200,000 Jews who lived in Lithuania. 

Sut­ton chal­lenges pop­u­lar assump­tions, explain­ing how and why locals joined the Nazi move­ment to mur­der their Jew­ish neigh­bors. She does this method­i­cal­ly and convincingly.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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