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.
A week after the outbreak of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, German soldiers entered Cekiske. The Lithuanian nationalists took control of the town even before the Germans arrived. They arrested Jews, tortured them and also murdered 18 Jewish men. According to Nazi documents (The Jaeger Report), 22 Jewish men, 64 Jewish women, and 60 Jewish children, were murdered on the 4th of September, 1941. It is known that Jews from Cekiske were also murdered in Ariogala and in Vilkija.
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.
On the 24th of June , two days after the beginning of the German invasion, the German army, after heavy bombing, entered Serey, where a great part of the town, mostly Jewish houses, had been destroyed. The victims found shelter on the farm of Yosef Garbarsky, about one km from the town .
The Lithuanians immediately started to persecute and abuse the Jews, and of them many Jews, mostly youngsters, were detained as communist suspects, and shot. There was the local physician Dr. Hershl Garbarsky, who was very popular in the town and its vicinity especially among the Lithuanian peasants, for curing the poor and charging no fee, and in addition giving them money to buy the medicines. Lithuanian youngsters called him to a patient, and on his way there they murdered him, throwing his body into the garden near his house. Serey Jews went to his funeral crying and with ominous foreboding regarding the future.
Several days later the Lithuanians detained a great number of Jewish youngsters, leading them in the direction of Alytus for so-called work and murdered them on the way. Zelig Ratchkovsky, a middle aged man, was ordered, together with several Lithuanians, to transport these people on his cart, but he never returned home. The murderers, apparently, did not want him to tell what had happened to his "travelers".
Serey Jews had to perform various types of forced labor, such as repairing roads etc. Every morning they were taken to work, returning home in the evening. They did not suffer from a shortage of food. Rumors about the "good" situation in Serey reached Serey Jews in Kovno by way of a Lithuanian, as a result of which many Jews left their flats there and returned home, after paying much money to Lithuanians who agreed to take them back on horse carts, because this was the only means of transportation allowed for Jews.
The annihilation of Serey Jews apparently took place on the 18th of Elul 5601 (Sept. 10, 1941). All the men were led to the Abreisk grove (Barauciskes) about 3 km south-east from Serey, one km from the road to Leipun (Leipalingis) and there they were shot and buried in pits they had dug themselves as "channels". On the next day the women and children were brought to the same place and were shot. All the Lithuanian dignitaries of Serey, such as the cultured population and the teachers, were present during the murder executed by their own folk.
229 men, 384 women and 340 children, altogether 953 people, are buried in the mass graves.
After the war the few survivors erected a monument on the graves, and in the nineties the inscription on the monument was replaced by a new one.
- Vishinto - See Kupishuk above.
- 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
- 'Jager Report' - Detailed report by SS-Standartenfhrer Jager about mass killings in Nazi occupied USSR, July-November 1941.
- Account of Holocaust in Sereijai on Jewish Gen