“Many Jews managed to escape on the day of shooting, – recalled Adelė, born in 1929 in Marcinkonys. – The day when my father and I were going to Darzeliai, seven Jews that were hiding had just been captured by the Germans. Our cart was stopped by the Germans. They forced my father to come close and watch the shooting. I was 10 meters behind.”
According to Adelė, her father and another man were forced to dig the pit for the victims and fill it in after the execution.
During this research trip, the Yahad-In Unum team interviewed 45 witnesses and identified 22 mass graves.
Region: Alytus and Marijampolė Counties
Cities and Towns Investigated:
Eičiūnai, Klydžionys, Dubaklonis, Trakininkai, Butrimonys, Žalioji, Kedonys, Senoji Varėna, Varėna, Peckūnai, Eišiškės, Žagališkės, Tausiūnai, Raižava, Mantvilai, Merkinė, Raižiai, Vanagėliai, Marcinkonys, Mantvilai, Plasapninkai, Seirijai, Griskonys, Maziunai, Seirijai, Kaniūkai, Užupiai, Sudvajai, Balninkai, Gečialaukis, Einorai, Jurgiskiai, Savanoriai, Druskininkai, Radžiūnai, Zaidai, Likiškėliai, Alytus, Kalesninkai, Gražuliai, Spernia, Simnas, Ponkiškiai, Kavalčiukai, Mergalaukis, Vištytis, Pavistytis, Žirgėnai, Totorkiemis, Kalvarija, Lazdijai, Virbalis, Vilkaviškis, Pilviškiai.
During the 7th research trip in Lithuania “Yahad – In Unum” team investigated the southern border region of the country: Alytus and Marijampolė Counties. Bordering East Germany and Poland in the interwar period, the region flourished due to its geographical location convenient for trade and several important import and export hubs located on its territory. The region had a considerable Jewish population; it was one of the oldest Jewish communities in Lithuania.
The following characteristics emerged from this research:
- – Shooting of Jews together and communists during the first weeks of the German occupation.
- – Massive deportation of Jews, mainly young men, from the province to the district center for forced labor and eventual execution.
- – Large number of Jewish escapees resulting in a large number of isolated shootings in small groups and shootings of the local population for helping the escapees.
- – Thousands of Jewish refugees crossing the Polish-Lithuanian border trying to escape the persecutions and executions.