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The Place of Mass Murder

On June 22, 1941, the war between the Soviet Union and Germany started, and on June 25 the army of the latter already controlled Kaunas. On the same day, Franz Walter Stahlecker, the Commander of the German Security Police and the Operational Group A of SD (Sicherheitsdienst, German Security Council), who organized the destruction of the Jews and Communists, arrived to Kaunas. The representatives of the Jewish nation were killed in various places in Kaunas, including forts. In the Ninth Fort, people were massively murdered from October, 1941 to August, 1944, when the Red Army of the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania. The October of 1941 was exceptional in the scope of mass murder: on October 4, 1,845 Jews and on October 29 – 9,200 Jews were killed. Before this, never in history such a large number of people in one day were killed in Lithuania. During mass murders, not only men, but also women, children, and old people were shot. In addition to locals, people from other European countries were imprisoned and killed in Kaunas Ninth Fort: Austria, Poland, France, the Soviet Union, and Germany. On the basis of provisional data, around 50,000 people were killed in the Ninth Fort during WWII.

When the war changed to the direction unfavourable to Germany in 1943, Nazis started to eliminate the traces of mass murder. With this aim in mind, a special prisoners’ troop was formed in the Ninth Fort made secret by the Order No. 1005B. This troop was engaged in the excavation and burning of genocide victims since November, 1943. Being afraid of repressions, the prisoners of the Ninth Fort organized a successful escape from the prison on December 25, 1943. All 64 prisoners escaped from the Fort; however, only 11 of them managed to survive until the end of WWII and inform the world about Nazi crimes in the Ninth Fort. People massacre in the Ninth Fort was terminated in August, 1944, when Kaunas was occupied for the second time by the troops of the Red Army of the Soviet Union.