Remembering the Great Aktion in Kaunas

Remembering the Great Aktion in Kaunas

The Kaunas Jewish Community conducted the sad annual commemoration of the Great Aktion in Kaunas at the end of October. The largest single mass-murder episode in the Holocaust in Lithuania, the Great Aktion was the murder of around 10,000 people in a 24-hour period at the Ninth Fort on October 28 and 29, 1941. “Aktion” is the word the Nazis applied to their mass murder operations.

Members of the Kaunas Jewish Community unveiled a stele or stone marker this year dedicated to preserving the memory of the Kaunas ghetto ältestenrat, or council of elders. The stele was commissioned by the city of Kaunas.

A survivor, Fruma Kučinskienė, spoke about the council, its head Elchanan Elkes and her memory of undergoing the selection of victims for the Great Aktion by the war criminal Helmut Rauca on Democrat Square in the ghetto. Rauca was discovered living in Canada after the war where he ran a resort.

It is believed the 10,000 or so victims included around 4,300 children.

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