Lithuanian citizenship: Only successful applicant is a dead Jew

  • Lutrin
It was gratifying to see a recent article regarding the plight that Jews of Lithuanian origin (Litvaks) are facing when applying to have their Lithuanian citizenship restored. The article, however, does not hone in on the critical matter at hand, namely the extent to which Lithuanian bureaucrats have gone to deny Jews of their ancestral right to citizenship.
by DANIEL LUTRIN | Jun 01, 2016

In the background, a meticulous selection process has been underway which is nothing more than a modern manifestation of the same anti-Semitism which saw 95 per cent of Litvaks murdered in the Holocaust (the highest in all of Europe).

Denying Litvaks citizenship has been made easy in Lithuania by declaring, based on nebulous case law, that those Lithuanians who left the country during its years of independence (approximately 1919 to 1940) were not persecuted and are therefore not eligible for dual citizenship.

This has been appealed by many Litvaks, but with the courts being so engineered in Lithuania, 100 per cent of cases have gone in favour of the Lithuanian Migration Department. The only other countries with a 100 per cent decision confirmation are those such as Venezuela, Russia or Cuba.

It should also be pointed out that denial numbers quoted by the writer of the article, will be materially understated as numbers quoted are official denials. There will be hundreds of “pending” cases - a product of outlandish bureaucratic demands which made many just give up before being given the official “no”.

This Lithuanian selection process implies that today's Litvaks must be punished because their ancestors did not voluntarily throw themselves into the hell of the Holocaust, waiting to see if they make it into the five per cent who came out of the death pits alive. It implies that the only Jew eligible for Lithuanian citizenship is a dead Jew.

Germany grants citizenship to German Jews who lost their citizenship under the Nazis. Spain allows nationality for Sephardi Jews, even though the Inquisition was many centuries ago.

Lithuania, on the total opposite side of the spectrum, ignores the fate of the Litvaks and the massive role Lithuanian collaborators played in the destruction of their country's Jewry. The country continues to honour such collaborators through monuments and street names (Jonas Noreika or Kazys Škirpa, for instance).

Recently, a prominent Lithuanian lawmaker, who unsurprisingly chose to remain anonymous, accused Jews of “only wanting money”. Jewish tombstones have been used to pave driveways in Vilnius. Mass graves are used as party sites. The list goes on and on.

Lithuania cannot be a member of the European Union or define itself as democratic if the criteria used to determine who is a citizen are based on a selective ideology rather than the rule of law.

The opportunity for Jewish-Lithuanian reconciliation does not exist if Jews are selected as undesirables. How is it acceptable that the form one needs to complete when applying for citizenship demands that you specify “Žydų” (“Jew” in Lithuanian) as your nationality?

The South African Jewish community should take collective responsibility for this injustice and insult towards its ancestors. When the Nazis marched into Lithuania in 1941, they hardly had to lift a finger as Jews in over 200 shtetls were humiliated, tortured and ultimately murdered by Lithuanian collaborators.

These victims were cousins, great-grandparents’ best friends. Let Lithuania know that this time justice will prevail, that this will be pursued relentlessly in the name of truth. Never again means never again.


* Daniel Lutrin, who works as a CA at The Ascott Limited in London, and grew up in South Africa, has been battling for four years to try to get Lithuanian citizenship for himself and his family.



  1. 12 Mickey 01 Jun
    What can actually be done about this?
  2. 11 Grant A. Gochin 02 Jun
    Approximately 96.4 percent of Jews on the territory of Lithuania were murdered, the highest murder rate of any country in Europe. It was safer to be a Jew in Nazi Germany than it was to be a Jew in Lithuania. By the beginning of 1942, 80 percent of the Jewish population of Lithuania had already been murdered, oftentimes without any German presence. There was vigorous and widespread participation of the Lithuanian population in the murder of Jews and the plunder of their possessions, the plundering taking place even before the butchering had finished. Einsatzkommando 2 of the German security police reported the murder of 114,856 Lithuanian Jews as early as December 1, 1942. This was accomplished with only 139 personnel, of whom 44 were secretaries and drivers. Ninety-five murderers had sufficient assistance from local Lithuanians to murder 114,856 Jews in just a few months.
  3. 10 Choni 02 Jun
    Now why on earth would any Jew want Lithuanian citizenship. What's wrong about getting Israeli citizenship?
    That is our only ancestral Homeland. Besides it is much easier (and cheaper).
  4. 9 Brent 03 Jun
    This is completely inaccurate and misleading. Many of us have been granted citizenship by Lithuania.
  5. 8 Choni 05 Jun
    With all due respect to Mr. Lutrin and others who seek Lithuanian citizenship. Why not apply for citizenship in your one and only ancestral land. Its far easier and a lot cheaper. Lithuania or any other country was, is, and never will be a Jew's ancestral homeland. Only the Land of Israel.
  6. 7 Lithuanian 05 Jun
    Why you need Lithuanian citizenship ? If you are jew from S. Africa and live in London, I don't see any reasons for you to have Lithuanian citizenship. I understand that having EU passport is comfortable in order to live and work in EU, but it's wrong reason to obtain Lithuanian citizenship, especially when you hate this country.
  7. 6 Aleksandr Rostovsky 05 Jun
    Mickey, My answer is,  as a Jew live in Lithuania, fight and never give up. 
  8. 5 Laurynas 05 Jun
    As a Lithuanian I can only say I am sorry about your situation. I believe that Lithuanian government soon will change its mind and all the Litvaks will be able to get Lithuanian citizenship. Actually, nowadays many discussions concerning dual citizenship are held in our country.

    However, I have no idea where the author got this all information about anti-semite Lithuanians. Jewish people are not discriminated at all! There are no Jewish tombstones in the driveways nowadays at all! They were used by the Soviets(which of course shows Soviets' attitude towards the Holocaust), but were removed as soon as Lithuania gained independence.

    Second, I have never seen Jonas Noreika or Kazys Škirpa streets in any Lithuanian city. Lithuanians pity those Jewish who suffered from the Holocaust. Each year the commemorations are held across various Lithuanians cities to remark the cruelties of the Holocaust. Also the government is trying to rebuilt Jewish culture monuments, such as synagogues, even in the places where the Jewish no longer live.

    All in all, I am sure that the problem about the dual citizenship will be soon solved. In the meantime, the author should check his facts before rushing into irrational conclusions.
  9. 4 inna 07 Jun
    My father was born on the border of Germany and Lithuania. All his family was killed by German Nazis during the war. In 1979 he received papers to reinstate his German Citizenship, he ripped up the papers and said "Why should I become a citizen of a country that killed my whole family just because we were Jews!" Yes, I was born in Lithuania and my Mother and Grandmother before her but, I will never want to have my citizenship back, from a country that did nothing to protect us instead the most Jews in Europe were killed in Lithuania!  
  10. 3 Choni 08 Jun
    Yasher Koach inna. And Chabad are encouraging Jews in Germany to remain and strengthen Judaism in this murderous country. They have been built a replica of the Kotel in Berlin.
  11. 2 Grant A. Gochin 09 Jun
    In reply to Inna - comment # 9 above. I agree entirely, and it is because they are so bigoted towards us, because they smile at Jews with their hands outstretched, asking for money and tourism, this, while they lie about their past, make heroes out of murderers of Jews, and decline Jews citizenship. Because of that, is why we must demand our legal rights under their law.

    We need to stand up and display to them that they did not kill us all, we are still here and we are not going away. Let us show the world that 70 years after the Shoah, Lithuania still has Judeinrein practices. That leopard did not change its spots no matter what veneer they would today like to apply.

    We will not allow Lithuania to spit on the memory of our ancestors and treat us with utter contempt. We were once at the wrong end of their guns and clubs, no more.

    We demand to be treated as their law states, and simply because their Interior Ministry and their Genocide Center are such strangers to truth and morality, is why we must continue to fight.

    They almost managed to murder every last one of us, those that they didn’t manage to reach cannot turn our backs on those they did murder.
    I don’t care what people do with their citizenships after they have acquired them, it is a statement of survival and human dignity. Lithuania has kept the stolen property and stolen lives, we will not allow them to also steal our legal rights.

  12. 1 Thaddeus Buttmunch, MD 13 Nov
    I'm an American Jew. My Late Father's Family (he passed away last year) got out of Germany in the nick of time in '39. My Late Mother was born in the US, but her ancestors came from the Austria-Hungary region. They were Deported to Auschwitz in '44, and only a handful survived. I understand that the Ukrainians and Baltic countries, as well as Poland, were Bitter at the Jewish People because of Communism. Axis Allies like Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, also spent Decades behind the Iron Curtain. Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Serbian part of Yugoslavia Never allied with the Nazis, but Also were under the Soviet Boot Heel. Austria and Finland were Not. That SAID: Some of those Countries were Monsters towards the Jews for Centuries, and they never STOPPED being Monsters, even after WW2 was Over. Poland had Pogroms after 1945, encouraged by the Communists. 


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