The majority of Jews in Lithuania were not required to live in ghettos nor sent to the Nazi concentration camps which by then were just in the preliminary stages of operation. Instead they were shot in pits near their places of residence with the most infamous mass murders taking place in the Ninth Fort near Kaunas and the Ponary Forest near Vilnius. Lithuania’s Jews were thus the first in Europe to be subjected to the Nazi policy of complete extermination. 48,000 people were murdered at Ponary in the first six months of the Nazi occupation between late June 1941 and December 1941. It is estimated that only 40,000 of the 220,000 Jews in Lithuania at the time of the invasion were still alive by the end of 1941. 96% of all Lithuanian Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
This project is to remember those who were murdered in situ in Lithuania. The list of towns is long and exact figures are difficult to determine. We will continue to add sites as we find reliable information. Please add links to information or send us links to add about specific massacres. Please add any profiles you wish.
On September 9, 1941, the Jews of Butrimonys were massacred by Einsatzgruppen and Lithuanian collaborators. Rounded up and marched along a road, they were lined up beside a mass grave and machine-gunned. According to the Jäger Report, 740 Jews were murdered in one day: 67 men, 370 women, and 303 children.
On June 23 and 24, 1941 on the German Lithuanian border, the Germans with Lithuanian collaborators rounded up and executed 800 Jews of Garsden, a harbinger of things to come. The Memel unit of the German Border Patrol and the Tisist SD directed by Hans-Joachim Bohme performed the mass shootings. Another 100 non-Jewish Lithuanians were also executed, many for trying to aid their Jewish neighbors.
The Kaunas (Kovno) pogrom, under the direction of the Nazi SS Brigadeführer Franz Walter Stahlecker, was a massacre of Jewish people living in Kaunas, Lithuania that took place in from June 25 to June 29, 1941 – the first days of the Operation Barbarossa and of Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in the Lietūkis garrage, where several Jews were publicly tortured and executed on June 26. After June, systematic executions took place at various forts of the Kaunas Fortress, especially the Seventh and Ninth Forts. Starting on June 25, Nazi-organized units attacked Jewish civilians in the Kaunas suburb of Slobodka (known to Lithuanians as Vilijampolė, a Jewish suburb hosting the world-famous Slobodka yeshiva). As of June 28, 1941, according to Stahlecker, 3,800 people had been killed in Kaunas and a further 1,200 in other towns in the immediate region. Some believe Stahlecker exaggerated his accomplishments.
- Kupishuk (Kupiskis)
Between June 1941 and September 1941, 1,200 Jews of Kupishuk and Jews from several nearby towns and villages, including Ponevez, Subich and Vishinto, were slaughtered in three separate locations: (1) Gidamin Street in Kupishuk, near the priests' cemetery where 1000 people were killed; (2) near the Jewish cemetery on the River Kupe where 2,700 people were killed; and (3) the Slavantziskis forest, 1 kilometer from the railroad station toward Shimyana where on June 28, 1941, and 78 people were killed.
In July and August 1941, mass executions of the Jews of Linkuva and those from nearby towns who had fled to Linkuva took place. Mass graves of Linkuva Jews killed are located at (1) Mount Jorgaitzai 3 kilometers northeast of Linkuva July 3, 1941-- 32 Men and Women; (2) Dovariukai forest 4 kilometers northeast of Linkuva August 7, 1941 -- 200 Men; and (3) Vaslkishka forest (Atkotzyunai) 5 kilometers southeast of Linkuva, close to the village of Vaslkiskiai August 5, 1941 -- 300 Women and Children.
- Meretch (Merecz, Merkine)
On September 7, 1941, 223 men, 355 women and 276 children, totalling 854 Jews were shot and buried next to the Jewish cemetery. After the war, they uncovered mass graves there in the Forest of Marcinkonys.
At least 5,000 Lithuanian Jews of Kaunas, largely taken from the city's Jewish ghetto, were transported to the Ninth Fort and killed. In addition, Jews from as far as France, Austria and Germany were brought to Kaunas during the course of Nazi occupation and executed in the Ninth Fort. In 1944, as the Soviets moved in, the Germans liquidated the ghetto and what had by then come to be known as the "Fort of Death", and the prisoners were dispersed to other camps. After World War II, the Soviets again used the Ninth Fort as a prison for several years.
The executions took place between July 1941 and August 1944 near the railway station of Paneriai (Polish: Ponary), then in Poland and now a suburb of Vilnius, Lithuania. 100,000 were murdered, incluidng 70,000 Jews, as well as 20,000 Poles and 8000 Russians. Many were from Vilnius.
- Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas (added 4/11/12)
- Jewish Gen Kehilalinks article on Meretch
- Einsatzgruppen A - Mass Murder in Lithuania
- Wikipedia article on Butrimonys
- The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (Google eBook) by Christopher R. Browning U of Nebraska Press, May 1, 2007. Pages 253-255 describe what happened at Garsden
- List of Gargzdai Jews killed in June and September, 1941
- Wikipedia article on the Kaunas (Kovno) Pogrom of June 25 - 29, 1941
- Killings in Linkuva
- List of Lithuanian towns and their Jewish population was compiled by Klevan and originally published in 1965 in the 'Black Book of Localities whose Jewish population was exterminated by the Nazis.' Yad Vashem, 1965. 'Polish' Lithuania e.g. Vilnius and Svenzionis, are not included.
- Kupiskis (Kupishok) Holocaust victims