• otdjewishistory

Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Massacre, 1941

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: July 28, 1941

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDMOb2OlbR1/

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we commemorate the murder of 900 Jewish men by the Nazis in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania. This was part of the Einsatzkommando missions to wipe out Jews, Romani, Poles and communists in Nazi-controlled Eastern Europe.

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Before WWII the Jewish community in Vilkaviskis was large and thriving. It had existed since the 16th century and consisted of schools, synagogues, and cultural centers. At the start of WWII there were 3,600 Jews in Vilkaviskis - making up around 44% of the population.

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On July 22, 1941 the Nazis invaded Vilkaviskis. They bombed and destroyed the synagogues, Jewish schools, and the cultural centers. They rounded up all the Jews in the town and moved them to military barracks right next to the town where they placed them in a ghetto.

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Then, only 6 days later #onthisday July 28, 1941 - they brought 900 men, nearly all of the men in the ghetto, to pits which had been pre-dug by Jews themselves and shot to death.

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On September 24 of the same year, they brought the remaining Jews (mostly women and children) to the same location and killed them all as well. Records show that 3,056 Jews were killed on these two days.

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Vilkaviskis was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1944 but only a few Jews remained: those who were able to stay hidden for three years.

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One example is Morris Isaac Penn who in his testimony recounts being forced by the SS to dig the pits with his brother and then watch his father and another brother be shot. This caused his family to go into hiding. Unfortunately, his mother and sister were found and killed, but he and his other brother managed to stay hidden and eventually made it to America.

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#judaism#jewish#history#jewishhistory#onthisday#Holocaust#NeverAgain#vilkaviskis#nazi#atrocities#900


Image Source:

https://www.yadvashem.org/untoldstories/database/index.asp?cid=220

Text Source:

http://www.jewishvilkaviskis.org/A_Lithuanian_Historian_writes_.html

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