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.