Lithuanian Newspapers on January 6, 1999
Lietuvos aidas (Front page, page 3)
Zuroff Came To Trial And Waited For
Defendant In Vain
With a picture of Dr. Zuroff titled "Efraim Zuroff said the
proceedings themselves were the most important thing, and regretted that
it did not take place"
The Vilnius District Court yesterday opened the
trial of Kazys Gimzauskas who is accused of Jewish genocide, but as the
defendant failed to appear to the session, the court will first have to
decide whether to order a new medical expertise. The former assistant to
the head of the Vilnius district Security Department, 90-year-old
Gimzauskas is accused of collaboration in a crime and of genocide of
inhabitants of Lithuania.
His defender Valentinas Staugaitis said
yesterday that Mr. Gimzauskas was in a bad condition of health and could
therefore not attend the trial session. A medical expertise had been
made in December 1997, stating he suffered from various diseases of the
head, heart and others. The expertise also states most of these diseases
were incurable and questioning the patient was impossible, because it
would afflict his state of health even more.
On the basis of this expertise Gimzauskas‘
defender asked to stop the proceedings. However, prosecutor Rimvydas
Valentukevicius asked the court to order a repeated medical expertise to
find out about any possible changings in the defendant‘s condition and
to state if his present state of health would allow him to participate
in trial sessions.
As the first expertise was carried out more than
a year ago, Valentukevicius considered it purposive to order a repeated
The court is expected to declare its decision
today. Defender Staugaitis told journalists after the session that his
defender was very weak, mostly lay in bed and "hardly able to walk
around in the room". According to the defender, the Gimzauskas trial
could take place only in case of a change in the law which does not
allow to try without the defendant participating in the session. The
present law foresees this procedure only in case the defendant is
outside Lithuania and refuses to appear to the trial.
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center Israel office, who is observing the proceedings, does not agree
that Gimzauskas should be tried in absentia. "He has to stand trial in
order for justice to be ascertained", Zuroff told the journalists whose
exclusive attention slightly annoyed him.
The Vilnius court had decided to try Gimzauskas
last November, without complying with the defender‘s request to join the
case together with that of Gimzauskas‘ former superior Aleksandras
Lileikis and to stop the proceedings.
The proceedings against Lileikis, who also is
accused of genocide of inhabitants of Lithuania, were held up on
November 9 after the defendant had suffered a heart attack and he was
taken to hospital. They will be renewed when Lileikis will recover and
be able to attend the sessions. [Both Lileikis and Gimzauskas] are
accused of genocide of inhabitants of Lithuania during the Nazi
Lileikis‘ incrimination dossier names 75 and
Gimzauskas‘ five concrete Jews whom they according to the incrimination
condemned to death between autumn 1941 and July 1944. Both of them
reject the accusations.
Lietuvos rytas (page 2)
Defendant‘s Health At Issue In Court
BNS, ELTA, and Lietuvos rytas information
With a picture showing Dr. Zuroff from behind, titled "Zuroff
claims that Gimzauskas must stand trial". Contents as above.
Respublika (page 5)
Gimzauskas Trial Postponed
By Algis Kutrevicius (slightly shortened)
With a picture of Dr. Zuroff titled "Efraim Zuroff does not
conceal that he came especially [to attend] the Gimzauskas trial"
The Judges‘ Board of the Criminal Department of
the Vilnius District Court postponed the proceedings against Kazys
Gimzauskas, accused of genocide of inhabitants of Lithuania, because the
defendant did not appear at the court. Gimzauskas […] is accused of
having handed over five Lithuanian Jews to the Ypatingasis Burys which
was subordinated to the Germans and killing persons of Jewish
Gimzauskas, who will be 91 in a few days, did
not appear to the session. Defender Staugaitis said his defendant was
very weak and hardly able to walk in his room. He asked to stop the
proceedings. Prosecutor Valentukevicius agreed that Gimzauskas could not
be tried but asked to carry out another expertise to state whether the
defendant was able to attend the sessions. The last expertise in 1997
had yielded the result that any questioning could afflict Gimzauskas‘
health; he suffers from diseases of head and heart, has a poor sight and
lacks one kidney due to cancer. […] Because of his poor health
Gimzauskas has not been interrogated in his own case; he only testified
as a witness in the case of his former superior Aleksandras Lileikis. He
had then claimed to have worked in the Security Police on order of the
underground organization "Lietuviu frontas". Gimzauskas denies to have
participated in the annihilation of persons of Jewish nationality.
The Court should announce today whether a new
expertise will be ordered. Yesterday Staugaitis had said his defendant
could be brought to the court only in a wheelchair.
Efraim Zuroff, leader of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, was also present at the court. After the session he told
journalists he did not consider himself the most important person in
this session, but expressed his regret that the sessions did not take
On Thursday this week the District Court is
scheduled to examine the criminal case of Aleksandras Lileikis who is
incriminated with the same crimes. His case had been started to examine
before, but the wheelchaired Lileikis suddenly felt bad and was taken to
hospital. The forensic medical expertise stated Lileikis was able to
attend in sessions, but questioning him could lead to a condition
dangerous for his life.
Lietuvos Zinios (p. 14)
Old Man Accused Of Jewish Genocide Still
Bound By Disease
With a picture by Gintaras Janavicius, showing Dr. Zuroff in the
Bishops‘ Conference building.
Today the Vilnius District Court is expected to
start examining the case of Kazys Gimzauskas, accused of Jewish
genocide. As Gimzauskas did not appear at the court yesterday, so the
court considered to order a new expertise. The final decision will be
announced today. As ELTA reported, the trial of Aleksandras Lileikis,
former head of the Nazi-subordinated Vilnius district Security Police,
was held up in November last year.
[Staugaitis asked to stop the proceedings
because of his defendant‘s bad state of health. Valentukevicius agreed
with this fact but asked for a new expertise because the first one had
been carried out more than a year ago.] The bew expertise should answer
to the questions in what way Gimzauskas‘ state of health changed,
whether his present condition allows him to attend court sessions, and
if this should not be the case, so why.
[Summary of the 1997 expertise]. After the short
court session Gimzauskas‘ defender Staugaitis told journalists that his
defendant was impossible to try. He was not even able to reach the
courtroom by the steps, but would have to be carried up in a wheelchair.
[The defender is accused to have handed over
five Jews to the German police.] Gimzauskas himself claims to have
worked in the Security Police on order of the Lithuanian underground
leadership and to have had nothing to do with murders of Jews.
In the courtroom, Efraim Zuroff, director of the
Simon Wiesenthal Center, who, following a tradition, had arrived from
Israel before the scheduled proceedings, said he was not an important
person in the trial, although Lithuanian media has long ago christened
(= named) him a vigilant watcher. However, according to Mr. Zuroff, the
proceedings themselves are very important, so it was regrettable that
they did not take place.
Gimzauskas Trial Also Skids
By Renaldas Gabartas
Contents basically as above. About the Wiesenthal
Center, Gabartas writes:
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, who had especially come from Israel and attended the trial, also
expressed himself against the possibility to try Gimzauskas in absentia
and at the same time regretted that the trial did not take place. "He
has to stand trial in order for justice to be ascertained", said Zuroff,
who is known (notorious) for his harsh statements and his especially
intensive activity in prosecuting Nazi helpers. Although the director of
the Wiesenthal Center modestly said he was not an important person, many
people who are interested in the "Jewish issue" think that the Center
and certain influential Israeli politicians exert enormous pressure to
convict assumed perpetrators of genocide at any cost. This caused some
trouble in the commemoration of the 200th anniversary since
the birth of the Vilnius Gaon; and for the same reason, the logical
demand of Lileikis‘ and Gimzauskas‘ defenders to question additional
witnesses, to examine newly submitted material, and finally to join the
two cases into one, were ignored for some time.
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