An American writer whose book about her grandfather’s Nazi wartime collaboration with Nazism set off a controversy in Lithuania, will speak at a Holocaust program in Vilnius, June 27-July 1.

Silvia Foti, author of “The Nazi’s Granddaughter, How I Learned My Grandfather Was a War Criminal”, set out to write a book about Jonas Noreika, a leader of the anti-Russian resistance after World War II and a legendary figure in Lithuania, only to discover in her research that he was a Nazi collaborator, responsible for the massacre of Jews in Lithuania. Her book, published in 2021, set off a debate in Lithuania, a country which only recently is coming to terms with its Nazi wartime history.

About 95 percent of Lithuania’s Jews, over 220,000 people, were massacred during the Nazi occupation, many with the cooperation of Lithuanians. Yet the dominant narrative in Lithuania has been resistance to Soviet and Nazi forces, extolling their own national figures like Noreika while omitting the extensive collaboration in Nazi genocide against the Jews.

The Vilnius program is organized by the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) , in cooperation with the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. The seminar, titled, “Learning from the Past, Acting for the Future-Teaching about the Holocaust and Human Rights” will take place over five days in Vilnius. TOLI has done previous seminars for Lithuanian educators, in-person and virtual, to provide teachers with the knowledge and resources to bring an accurate understanding of the Holocaust to their schools and classrooms. Along with Ms. Foti, the program will include Holocaust historians and human rights experts.

Visits are scheduled to the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum and other sites of Jewish heritage and contemporary life. The purpose of the program is to train teachers in Holocaust education and, through that lens, view the danger of rising antisemitism, extremism and other forms of intolerance. Following the seminar, teachers will be supported to implement local projects focused on Holocaust, human rights and Jewish heritage with their students.




For further information contact:

Oana Nestian-Sandu:, +40 746 425351

Stephanie Stark:


The Olga Lengyel Institute was established to educate teachers in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides so that such atrocities may never again take place.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)