On All Souls Day (November 2nd) an important gathering happened in the 7th fort of Kaunas, where more than 3000 people were killed in July 1941. A memorial for holocaust victims was opened here. ‘It’s an important symbol of the historical memory’, told the members of the local Jewish community.
The sculpture of David’s star breaking through from earth was created by Alfonsas Vaura. Lighting has been installed around the memorial so that it would be visible 24/7.
The opening of the memorial was visited by vicemayor of Kaunas, Simonas Kairys, as well as the first ambassador of Israel in Lithuania Amir Maimon and viceminister of Foreign Affairs Mantvydas Bekešius. ‘I hope the saying ‘never again’ will remain intact and chapters of history like holocaust will never repeat themselves’, said Bekešius.
Žakas Gercas, the leader of Kaunas Jewish community, remembered that during the Soviet occupation a memorial used to be located behind the fence of 7th fort, as its territory only open for members of Soviet army.The local Jewish community did not have any possibility to visit the exact place of importance back then.
The forts of Kaunas were built in the end of 19th century after the Russian Emperor decided it must be a fortress city. The project was never finished and some of the 13 forts were used for war crimes later on.
The most famous fort is the 9th. There, you can visit a museum and a gigantic memorial to the victims of Nazism, designed by sculptor A. Ambraziunas in 1984.
9th fort memorial for the victims of Nazism / Photo by L. A. Veiveris