Lithuania remembers Holocaust victims on 80th anniversary of Kaunas mass murder

During the Second World War, the largest mass murder of Lithuanian Jews took place on October 29, 1941. The crime organised by the Nazi German rulers of the then occupied Lithuania resulted in the killing of close to 10 000 people in Kaunas, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT and Valdemaras Šukšta report.
The massacre called the Great Action began on October 28, 1941, when Nazis conducted a selection of Jews in the Kaunas Ghetto, says Mindaugas Kuodys, a historian at Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum. The Jews were sorted into «useful» and «useless». Around 9,200 human beings sorted in the second group – half of them children – were then forced to walk to the Ninth Fort.
The selected Jews walked some three kilometres from the Kaunas Ghetto to the execution place at the Ninth Fort. «Jews marched in columns of 400 people – eight in one row,» Kuodys explains. «When the first columns were being shot at the Ninth Fort, others were still walking.»
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Some people tried to run away, but were shot immediately. Those who broke away from columns or accidentally stepped on a sidewalk were also killed right there.
Jews who reached the Ninth Fort were shot in large pits dug in advance. According to Kuodys, 14 such pits were prepared for the Great Action. Other victims of the Nazi occupation also lay nearby. In total, around 50,000 bodies were buried at the Ninth Fort.
Perpetrators – Nazi Germans and Lithuanians
Historian Kuodys said that the Great Action was organised by the Nazi administration, but mostly carried out by a military unit formed from Lithuanians. A few executioners were later identified and sentenced to death.
The article originally appeared on LRT English: