Book Review: The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather Was a War Criminal

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1032
Regnery History

The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Discovered My Grandfather Was a War Criminal, Silvia Foti. ISBN: 978-1-68451-108-2, eISBN: 978-1-68451-140-2, Regnery Publishing.

What would you do if you found out that your war-hero grandfather was not a hero—-instead, he was responsible for the deaths of eight thousand Jews? This book is an account of Silvia Foti’s account of her wrenching, twenty-five-year investigation that not only reshaped her family history, but also exposed an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government that resulted in an internationally followed lawsuit. Her discovery has undone a national narrative in Lithuania which converted Holocaust villains like Silvia’s grandfather into war heroes.

Silvia made a deathbed promise to her mother to writer a book about her famous, WWII hero grandfather, Jonas Noreika. Silvia’s grandmother begged he not to write about her husband. “Just let history lie,” she whispered. Silvia has no idea that in keeping her promise to her mother, her discovered would bring her to a personal crisis, challenge her Catholic faith, unearth Holocaust denial, and expose an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government.

Silvia was raised on reverent stories about her hero grandfather, a martyr for Lithuanian independence and an unblemished patriot. Jonas Noreika, remembered as “General Storm,” had resisted his country’s German and Soviet occupiers in World War II, surviving two years in a Nazi concentration camp only to be executed in 1947 by the KGB. His granddaughter, growing up in Chicago, was treated like royalty in her tightly knit Lithuanian community. By 2000, when Sylvia traveled to Lithuania for a ceremony honoring her grandfather, she heard a very different story-a “rumor” that her grandfather had been a “Jew-Killer.”  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.”

The disturbing story begs questions of Sylvia and her readers:

  • How should our family’s past, shameful or noble shape our identity?
  • How can on man be revered as a hero, having a grammar school named after him, and yet be a villain responsible for the deaths of thousands.
  • Why are some European countries still in denial about their role in the Holocaust?
  • How was this kept secret until now?

Silvia Foti was raised on reverent stories about her hero grandfather, a martyr for Lithuanian independence and an unblemished patriot. Jonas Noreika, remembered as “General Storm,” had resisted his country’s German and Soviet occupiers in World War II, surviving two years in a Nazi concentration camp only to be executed in 1947 by the KGB. His granddaughter, growing up in Chicago, was treated like royalty in her tightly knit Lithuanian community.

But in 2000, when Silvia traveled to Lithuania for a ceremony honoring her grandfather, she heard a very different story—a “rumor” that her grandfather had been a “Jew-killer.”

The Nazi’s Granddaughter is Silvia’s account of her wrenching twenty-year quest for the truth, from a beautiful house confiscated from its Jewish owners, to familial confessions and the Holocaust tour guide who believed that her grandfather had murdered members of his family.

A heartbreaking and dramatic story based on exhaustive documentary research and soul-baring interviews, The Nazi’s Granddaughter is an unforgettable journey into World War II history, intensely personal but filled with universal lessons about courage, faith, memory, and justice.

About the author: Silvia Foti is an award-winning investigative journalist and English teacher, and she holds master’s degrees in journalism, education, and creative nonfiction. She has been published in the, and Salon.com. Fluent in Lithuanian, English, and Spanish she lives near Chicago. This is her third book.

Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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