Thursday, June 19, 2014

Panerai Memorial

It is only in the last 10-15 years (post-Soviet era) that Lithuanian historians recognize the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania with memorials such as this one at Panerai. Previously, the Soviets signage stated simply "70,000 Soviets were killed here". In spite of Jager's meticulous records, that number is reported from 40,000-100,000. 
Our excellent guide grew up in Soviet Lithuania and though Jewish, did not identify as Jewish until he visited and experienced the site of up to 3000 murders per day, Panerai. The eeriness of Panerai is in how such a beautiful place could be so evil. it is not the forests fault. the forests also sheltered the partisans who managed to put up resistance. 
In 1994, national Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by the Lithuanian government on September 23rd to commemorate the liquidation of the Big Ghetto. Per order of Himmler, work
 camps ceased and Nazis marched into the ghetto on September 23 and 24, 1943. Some workers were sent to work camps in Latvia and other countries. Many were massacred at Panerai.

For stories of the few who were able to hide in tunnel hiding places (called malinas), see Regina's reading list.

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