On August 26, the 80th anniversary of the destruction of Jewish communities in Prienai, Balbieriškis, and other local communities was marked in Prienai.
The event commemorating the victims of the Holocaust started in Prienai, at Laisvės Square. From Laisvės Square, the procession of the participants of the Road of Memory started towards the site of the Jews’ massacre on the outskirts of Prienai, where a ceremony honoring the victims took place.
The chairman of the international commission, Emanuelis Zingeris, shared a sensitive story of his family, telling that his aunt, Zingerytė, who was only 14 years old then, was killed at this site. Richard Martin Nielsen, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada, emphasized in his speech that “memory connects us to the facts that have taken place. And only learning from the past is the key to a more prosperous future.” Write Jing, a representative from the United States Embassy, also spoke about the importance of historical memory. Ronaldas Račinskas, Executive Director of the International Commission, told about the ongoing project “The Road of Memory 1941 – 2021” in Lithuania in 2021, and was pleased that in Prienai every year on August 26, events take place in memory of the perished local Jewish community. Not only the residents of Prienai attended the event, but there were also the chairman of Kaunas Jewish community Gercas Žakas with community members, teachers and students from Tolerance Education Center in Balbieriškis Basic school, Coordinators of Tolerance Education Centers from Alytus Adolfas Ramanauskas – Vanagas and Alytus Putinų gymnasiums in the Road of Memory in Prienai.
After the tribute ceremony, the participants gathered at the Prienai Regional Museum. The presentation of the newly published book “The Holocaust in the Province of Lithuania in 1941” published by the International Commission took place there. The author of the book, a member of the subcommittee of the International Commission on the Nazi Occupation Regime and the Holocaust Assessment, historian dr. Arūnas Bubnys told about the events of the Holocaust commencement in Prienai.
Photos from the commemoration event: