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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

The Nazi’s Granddaughter -- Discovering War Crimes in Your Family's Past

00:00 35:07
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This episode looks at a deathbed promise from a daughter to a mother, which leads the daughter on a journey to write about her grandfather who was a famous war hero. But this journey had a terrible destination: the discovery that he was a Nazi war criminal.
Today’s guest is the daughter -- Silvia Foti – author of the book “The Nazi’s Grandaughter." Her mother was dying and she wanted to preserve family history, so she asked Sylvia to write a book about Foti’s grandfather, Jonas Noreika, a famous WWII hero. Foti’s grandmother tries to intervene – begging her granddaughter not to write about her husband. “Just let history lie,” she whispered.
Foti had no idea that in keeping her promise to her mother, her discoveries would bring her to a personal crisis, unearth Holocaust denial, and expose an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government that resulted in an internationally-followed lawsuit.
Jonas Noreika was a Lithuanian known as General Storm. He led an uprising that won the country of Lithuania back from the communists, only to have it fall under Nazi control. He was an official during the Holocaust and chief of the second largest region in the country during the Nazi occupation, yet he became a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Foti set out to write a heroic biography about her famous grandfather. But as she dug ever deeper, she “encountered so much evidence proving my flesh and blood ‘hero’ was a Jew-killer, even I could no longer believe the lie.”
April 13, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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