The Lithuanian Jewish community was decimated in the Holocaust, when over 220,000 Jews, more than 95% of the Jewish population, were murdered. A key player in the massacre was Lithuanian nationalist Jonas Noreika, who today is revered as a national hero, and protected by the contemporary government’s official policy and infamous Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Centre. In this galvanizing documentary, we follow the experiences of two dissident campaigners: Grant Gochin, whose family was murdered by Noreika; and Silvia Foti, a brave Lithuanian woman fighting for the truth, whose grandfather was Jonas Noreika. Together, the two push against Lithuania’s systemic Holocaust denial in an attempt to bring justice to victims and insist that the truth be told.
MICHAEL KRETZMER, director of the film J’Accuse, was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. While a journalist and filmmaker in the UK, he wrote for the Sunday Times as well as other newspapers, and produced documentary films for the BBC.
About Grant Gochin
GRANT GOCHIN, MBA, CFP, an American philanthropist, journalist, politician, and activist of Jewish South African descent was forced to leave South Africa after being detained for his anti-Apartheid activities. Now in California, Gochin works as CEO/Wealth Advisor and Certified Financial Planner. He is Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo and serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, where he has been Vice Dean since 2017.
Gochin has investigated and worked to prosecute more than a dozen Lithuanian leaders who participated in or were complicit in Lithuanian Holocaust activities, seeking to strip them of state honors, most notably Jonas Noreika, responsible for murdering nearly 100 of Gochin’s family members.
After applying for Lithuanian citizenship and being denied because of his Jewish ancestry, Gochin pursued multiple lawsuits to prove he was eligible. He wrote Malice, Murder and Manipulation, 2013, documenting the persecution of his Litvak family.
About Silvia Foti
SILVIA FOTI, author of the memoir Storm in the Land of Rain: A Mother’s Dying Wish Becomes Her Daughter’s Nightmare, is an award-winning investigative journalist in Chicago and a high school literature teacher. She holds master’s degrees in journalism, education, and creative nonfiction.
Silvia made a deathbed promise to her mother to write a book about her famous, WWII hero grandfather, Jonas Noreika, twenty-three years ago. Silvia’s grandmother begged her not to write about her husband. “Just let history lie,” she whispered. Silvia had no idea that in keeping her promise to her mother, her discoveries would bring her to a personal crisis, challenge her Catholic faith, unearth Holocaust denial, and expose an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government.
Her goal in writing this story of her grandfather, known as General Storm in Lithuania, is to upend Lithuania’s narrative that Lithuanians had nothing to do with killing Jews, that it was all done by German Nazis.
How Villains Become National Heroes
Sunday, April 2, 2023 11:00am (Central)