Zigmas – “We were forced to watch the shooting of the Jews. The Jews had to undress before the shooting.”
From 2 to 17 November 2016, a Yahad in Unum team conducted its 10th research trip to Lithuania, in the regions of Marijampole and Taurage.
This particular research trip was marked by the high quality and diversity of the testimonies and by the great number of witnesses of the shootings.
At the end of the trip, the team interviewed 37 witnesses and identified 13 execution sites.
Kudirkos Naumiestis, Zanavykai, Žyniai, Pilviškiai, Ąžuolų Būda, Kybartai, Šakiai, Lukšiai, Kiduliai, Sudargas, Skirsnemunė, Smalininkai, Pagėgiai, Bardinai, Rumšiškės.
Very close to the border with the enclave of Kaliningrad, in the former German territory of Prussia, the area studied was very quickly occupied in the summer of 1941, and then placed under a German civil administration. The territory was liberated in 1944 by the Red Army. Before the war, there was a very large Jewish population.
The main features of the Holocaust that emerged from the testimonies are as follows:
– Shootings, very early in general, and whose pattern is still almost identical: young Jewish men are killed very quickly after the arrival of the Germans, and often alongside the communist activists. Then a few weeks later, the women, children, and elderly. Anti-tank trenches are often used for shootings. By the end of the summer of 1941, the Jewish question was settled.
– The Lithuanian auxiliaries in uniforms or white armbands are at the front of the shootings. The Germans often supervise and take photos.
– Pillaging, distribution or sale of Jewish property, is systematic. The executioners sometimes make parties in the villages after the shootings.