Commemorative sign for the victims of Holocaust unveiled in Kaunas

On the day of commemoration of the dead, the tragic part of Jewish history, when more than 3000 people were shot in the 7th Fort of Kaunas Fortress in July 1941, was remembered in Kaunas. From now on the mass killing location is marked with a commemorative sign for the victims of Holocaust. Representatives of Jewish community say, that the new monument is a very precious and meaningful historical memory symbol.

The sculpture of star vigorously rising from the ground placed in the territory of the 7th Fort created from black stone by the sculptor Alfonsas Vaura. Lights surrounding the memorial were installed in order to make it visible during the night as well.

“What can be restored, may it be restored and what we can’t bring back, may remain in our memory” – said Deputy Mayor of Kaunas City Mr. Simonas Kairys at the event. – Holocaust is the tragedy of the whole Lithuania which took a hardly comprehensible by mind number of our citizens’ lives. This shows how important it is to protect those who are near and both the importance and value of humanism. It is a difficult and painful moment, therefore we all must remember the history in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past in the future, so that those victims would always be a reminder for us.”

By Mr. Simonas Kairys, the history of Lithuanian Jews and Holocaust must be properly remembered not only in our minds, but also in the school books.

“Holocaust can’t be forgotten because neither we, Lithuanians, nor the rest of the world will never forget it. I hope that the saying “never again” we remain widely spread and such moments of history will never happen again” – said vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Mr. Mantvydas Bekešius, who also expressed his gratitude for Kaunas City Municipality for the efforts and funds allocated for implementation of this Project.

Chairman of Kaunas Jewish Community Mr. Gercas Žakas remembered that during the Soviet times the only monument symbolizing the Holocaust was in a different location in the 7th Fort. Jews who gathered there could only dream about a possibility to access the exact place where their parents and relatives were killed. At that time the Soviet troops owned the territory.

Commemorative sign unveiled on the All Souls’ Day in the authentic location, according to Mr. Gercas Žakas, shall become a precious symbol of Jewish nation history. The sanctity of this was testified by the solid prayer of the Jews.

“We must remember all what happened here. We must educate the youth about it. I would like to express my gratitude for Kaunas City Municipality, for the Mayor and Deputy Mayors for this and other works. I have received many letters on the progress of taking care of Jewish cemeteries. It is a very good example how local government can contribute to commemoration of both the history of the city and Jewish nation. Thank you for all your efforts so that the past would not be forgotten” – said Ambassador of Israel in Lithuania H. E. Mr. Amir Maimon.

This commemorative sign for holocaust victims in the territory of the 7th Fort is one of many initiatives in Kaunas memorializing this part of Jewish history. Kaunas is maintaining and developing the project for restoration of Žaliakalnis old Jewish cemetery with a website that is now being created especially for this project. Moreover, the authorities of Kaunas City addressed the institutions and organisations with the reminder for maintaining the peace in mass killing locations in their territory, in order to avoid leisure entertainment activities organising there.

Information of Public Relations.

 

May Kaunas City always remain the symbol of Lithuanian strength. 07/03/98

Former President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus

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