Great Aktion Remembered in Kaunas

The 75th anniversary of the Great Aktion, the day on which almost 10,000 Jews were murdered at the Ninth Fort, was marked in Kaunas on October 30.

In 1941 more than 9,200 Jews in the Kaunas ghetto were murdered at the Ninth Fort, including 4,273 children.

The remembrance ceremony was held at the field at the Ninth Fort where the mass murder was perpetrated.

At 2:00 P.M. mourners assembled under a dismal sky with cold wind blowing up the hillside and intermittent rain showers to hear deputy Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Efrat Hochstetler and others speak. Hochstetler shared the testimony of Avraham Tory on the Great Aktion. She and deputy Kaunas mayor Vasilijus Popovas, Kaunas city council member Andrius Kupčinskas, Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas and Ninth Fort Museum director Jūratė Zakaitė all spoke about what the unarmed victims must have felt standing on Democracy Square in the Slobodka ghetto from 6:00 A.M., undergoing selection to the left and the right, to life or death, and about how many artists, scholars and just good citizens Lithuania lost. Speakers emphasized the responsibility to remember the victims and pass on the truth of history to future generations.

Music and poetry underlined the message. Artūras Makštutis performed music and Kristina Kazakevičiūtė recited poetry. She and a group of students staged a play about the Great Aktion several years ago. At 5:00 P.M. the Kaunas State Philharmonic held a concert to honor the victims of the Great Aktion. A number of performers performed. Great Aktion eyewitnesses Feiga Koganskienė and Fruma Kučinskienė attended the performance.

The Kaunas Jewish Community thanks the Department of Ethnic Minorities under the Lithuanian Government and the Goodwill Foundation for making the free concert possible.