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Jewish execution site laid to rest

  • 2008-08-15
  • In cooperation with BNS

VILNIUS - Authorities of the LithuanianJewish community and municipality administration of southern Lithuanian city Marijampole agreedthere will be no more digging in the location of mass extermination of Jews. Theremains of the killed will be buried, Lietuvos Zinios daily reported.

According to the Marijampole Municipalityofficial in charge Gedeminas Kuncaitis, mass killings of inhabitants on thebend of Sesupe behind a military town built during the reigning of the tsars,took place in 1941.

 On September 1st of that year alone,Germans, with the help of some Lithuanians,killed over 5,000 inhabitants here, most of whom were Jews, also killing some Lithuanians and Marijampole'sinhabitants of other ethnic origins.

"Approximately some 8,000 people were killed here. The killing site ismarked by a memorial, but there are no burial grounds of the victims in thearea that is identified in documents as a protected Jewish exterminationterritory, as they all buried under the buildings of the former military townand its vicinities. This was confirmed by archeological inquiries conducted in1996", Kuncaitis said.

According to the chief specialist, officers had erected a few militaryequipment storehouses and an ammo warehouse, and made embankments on themassive killing sites during the Soviet times. After the occupational army leftLithuaniafollowing the restoration of its independence, the said buildings were givenover to the State Property Fund.

A company owned by Vidas Kalasinskas and Daiva Kalasinskiene bought thebuildings this year for demolition. Officials of the Municipality of Marijampole issued a permit fortaking down the buildings without prior coordination with specialists of theDepartment of Cultural Heritage. Human bones were found when tidying up thearea and dismantling the concrete pavement. Even though construction works werehalted at once and bones lying around on the ground were all gathered, anylarger downpour of rain washed new bones afloat to the surface.

According to Kuncaitis, no more demolition works are planned on the burialground site of massive Jew killings, even though a part of it is still coveredin concrete. "It is about a meter thick there, therefore it will beimpossible to dismantle it without heavy machinery. It hasn't been decided whatto do with embankments made by Russian officers, which also contain theremnants of a large number of people's remains.