“The Road of Memory” – a march in Kaunas to mark the events of the “Great Action” in 1941

On October 28, a commemoration event was held in Kaunas to mark the “Great Action” of 1941 when 9,200 prisoners of the Kaunas ghetto were selected and doomed to death.

The event in Kaunas, dedicated to remembering the selection of Kaunas Ghetto prisoners for work or death carried out by the Nazis and their collaborators 80 years ago, started at a historical place, in Demokratų Square in Kaunas. On this historical place, the host of the event introduced the history of the “Great Action”: when in on October 28, 1941, the selection of Kaunas ghetto prisoners (fit for labor and not fit) was carried out, and 9,200 Jews were selected to die, almost half of whom were children. On October 29, the selected were marched to the IXth Fort and shot on a nearby field. The massacre was called the “Great Action.”

The procession from Demokratų Square walked on “The Road of Memory” to Kaunas IXth Fort. Once the participants of the civic procession reached the museum of Kaunas IXth Fort, a commemoration event took place in the memorial complex next to the monument to the victims of Nazism.

At the beginning of the commemoration, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda addressed the participants. He reminded all the attendees of the bloody events of the “Great Action”.

Emanuelis Zingeris, Chairman of the International Commission, a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, told the audience about his mother, who was imprisoned in the Kaunas ghetto: “Mother, you have been telling me all my life about tiptoeing children, who tried to look taller during the horrible „selection“ and later on not to be directed by executioner Rauca and his collaborators to the right, to the doomed crowd marching towards the Ninth Fort. Mother, you used to hold me too hard in your embrace so that no one would tear me out of that embrace, as you saw being done both in the Kaunas ghetto and in the Stutthof concentration camp.” The Chairman of the International Commission thanked all those present, especially the students and teachers attending the event.

The chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community Faina Kukliansky and the chairman of the Kaunas Jewish community Gercas Žakas spoke about the events of the Holocaust in Lithuania, shared their personal experiences, and recalled rescuers of the Jews.

The event in Kaunas was attended by the Ambassador of the United States of America Robert S. Gilchrist, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada Richard Martin Nielsen, a group of Lithuanian teachers – participants of the international seminar in Vilnius (TOLI), teachers and students from Kaunas Jonas and Petras Vileišiai school, General Povilas Plechavičius Cadet Lyceum, Gymnasium of  Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas King Mindaugas Vocational Training Center, Pranas Dovydaitis Gymnasium in Čekiškė and Vilkija Gymnasium, Vilnius Šolomas Aleichem ORT Gymnasium.

The event was organized by the Kaunas IXth Fort Museum together with partners: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazis and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, and other institutions and organizations.