Lithuania marks national Holocaust remembrance day

The traditional March of the Living to Paneriai, a suburb of Vilnius where tens of thousands of Jews were killed during to Holocaust, will be held and the names of the victims will be read out at the Choral Synagogue of Vilnius as part of events marking the Day of Remembrance for Jewish Victims of Genocide in Lithuania on Monday. 

A commemoration will also take place in the capital’s Rudininku Square.  

The March of the Living from the Paneriai railway station to the Paneriai Memorial will take place in the afternoon, followed by a commemoration ceremony.  

The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania has invited teachers and students to join an initiative to retrace the memory of the numerous Lithuanian Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust.

“In more than 200 places of Lithuania, students walk from town centers there Jews use to live to the mass killing sites, retracing the path of the victims killed during the Holocaust,” the commission said in a press release.

On Sunday, the courtyard of the former Vilnius Ghetto Library was opened to visitors, with plans to establish a museum of the Holocaust in Lithuania and a Vilnius Ghetto memorial museum in the former library building in the next few years, the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum said.

Lithuania has been marking the the Day of Remembrance for Jewish Victims of Genocide since 1994 to commemorate the liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto on September 23, 1943. 

The Nazis and their local collaborators killed over 90 percent of Lithuania’s pre-war Jewish population of over 200,000 during the Holocaust. 

One Comment

  1. Stephanie Stephanie Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    May I just add that there were no ‘holocausts” when Lithuanians were masters of their own country.
    That there were “Nazi collaborators” who participated in the crimes are not always as they seem. I was told by a nurse in Vilnius about what happened in her village – Nazi soldiers came, rounded up the men, put them on a truck and drove off. Those remaining spent the day praying, crying, not knowing if their relatives will ever return or what was happening to them. In the evening, the trucks came back, the men ashen-faced and trembling. They told of being driven to a place where the Jews had already dug a pit and the Nazi soldiers, many drunk, handed pistols to the men. These men had never held a pistol and had never thought of killing anyone. Pistols were put to their heads and they were told to fire at the Jews who had been lined up. Each man prayed that it would not be their bullet that killed a Jew! But, this incident would have been reported as “Lithuanians kill Jews”!
    Lithuania was the only country occupied by the Nazis that couldn’t get a local SS unit together since the young Lithuanian men wouldn’t join. As punishment, the Nazis closed the universities. Why do we never hear about that?
    Or that, as a percentage of the population, Lithuanians saved the most Jews by hiding them. As one of the Jewish children who was saved said later, “it takes 1 person with a gun to kill 100 people, but it takes 100 people keeping secrets to save 1 person”.
    Or that many of the communists that were responsible for cruelty against the locals were Jews so there were revenge killings. My family was affected by the brutal torture and murders at Rainiai forest ordered by a Jew . I was told by someone from Telsiai that everyone knew who was responsible and had many opportunities to put an ax through his skull, but didn’t. He lived in Telsiai until independence when he emigrated to Israel and died there, a natural death!
    And can we bring this to the present-when will the Jews stop committing genocide against the Palestinians after taking their land away from them? Will we ever hear an apology? I’m not holding my breath.

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