Remembering the Children’s Aktion of March 27, 1944

Remembering the Children’s Aktion of March 27, 1944

For three decades now the Kaunas Jewish Community has been commemorating in the last days of March the horrific operation for the mass murder of children in the Kaunas ghetto on March 27, 1944.

Over one day around 1,700 children and elderly were captured, taken out of the ghetto and murdered. The list of children murdered in the Kaunas ghetto is incomplete, it only contains a few names. The list was drawn up for the 70th anniversary of the Children’s Aktion with information from the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum and private individuals.

“We saw a bus. This noisy music was emanating from it which was supposed to mask the screams of the children, the mothers begging and pleading and the barking of the dogs. Drunk and angry Ukrainians (Ukrainian police of vlasovniki) waving axes and crow-bars hunted down the children and elderly people in their hiding places. All the atrocities ended with sundown.

“Returning from forced labor, the parents found the ghetto torn apart. The neighbor sister put a bag of clothes on a shelf and hid her three-year-old daughter inside. A German soldier looking for children jabbed the bag with a bayonet, but didn’t find anything. The cutting raised a cloud of dust and the soldier hurried out of the room. When the mother untied the bag she found her girl curled up with a deep wound in her back. The mother broke into tears but the little one, it seems her name was Gita, said: ‘Don’t cry, mommy, it doesn’t hurt.'” (testimony of J. Corefas’s father, from the book “Išgelbėti bulvių maišuose” [Saved in Potato Sacks].

We remember and we honor the victims of this terrific mass murder operation called the Children’s Aktion, and gathered to do so in a small group in line with quarantine rules in Kaunas.