On 25 August, a memorial service was held in Prienai to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust who were murdered 82 years ago.
The event was opened by Lolita Batutienė, director of the Prienai Regional Museum, who recalled the history of the rounding up of Jews from Prienai, Balbieriškis, and the surrounding area to the barracks on nearby Kęstučio Street and the brutal murder of the peaceful inhabitants of Prienai, which took place between 26 and 27 August 1941. About 1100 people were shot in two days. Gercas Žakas, Chairman of the Jewish Community of Kaunas, spoke about his grandfather’s “roots” in Prienai (he had an oil mill in Prienai) and told the successful story of his mother’s rescue when she was taken from Lithuania by a Lithuanian friend just before the Nazi occupation. Emanuelis Zingeris, Chairman of the International Commission and Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, told the story of his family: his grandfather’s brother lived in Balbieriškis, he had two daughters, and one of them, Estera, was driven out of the house by a white-arm banded man and managed to wave to a Lithuanian classmate of hers as if to ask her “What for? Emanuelis Zingeris, President of the International Commission, spoke about his recent visit to Ukraine and the exhibition “Babi Yar – 1941 and Bucha – 2022” and stressed that “we must recognize evil and, once we have recognized it, we must respond.”
At the event, statements were also made about the commemoration of the names of the victims of the Holocaust and about the desire of the Regional Museum of Prienai to erect a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust at the site, which would not only include the number of victims murdered.
The event was attended by representatives of Prienai Municipality, staff of the Prienai Regional Museum, members of the Jewish Community of Kaunas, teachers and pupils of Balbieriškis Primary School, the chairman of the International Commission, and the coordinator of educational programs.
The annual commemoration at the site of the Holocaust victims is organized at the end of August by the Prienai Regional Museum and active members of the local community.