Vilnius Witness Stories

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Julijonas, born in 1930, was passing the synagogue in Anykščiai when he saw three Jewish men digging a pit in presence of three Lithuanian white armbanders and a dozen Germans. All of a sudden, the witness heard a burst of shots, and the Jews fell down into the pit. At the same time, a German soldier fainted. A senior German officer rushed to the witness with an empty glass and asked him to bring back a glass of water. The witness took the glass and ran home but did not return. Today, the mass grave is under the pavement, without a monument.


Albertas was born in 1930. His family provided shelter for a Jewish family of 5 people. They slept in a barn and came to the Albertas family‘s house to eat. One late evening after the mass execution of Jews in Anykščiai, a group of German soldiers accompanied by a Lithuanian translator came to arrest the Jewish family. They also arrested five other Jews sheltered by the neighbors. On the way to the mass execution site, Jews understood what was going to happen, lay down on the ground and refused to go. The Germans shot all ten victims on the spot and ordered the father of Albertas and his neighbor to bury the bodies. The witness heard the shooting and the screams of the victims. He came to see the mass grave the next day. It was a field owned by the Albertas’ family. Birch trees grow there today, but there is no indication of the mass grave.

View a “Behind the Scenes” video from Yahad – In Unum about a recent research trip to Lithuania.

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