The Ninth Fort
I’ve written about the Kaunas Fortresses here. However, the Ninth Fort is by far the most infamous and tragic. I’ve driven past the site many times, but today, I actually stopped to explore and experience the area.
Like the other forts surrounding Kaunas, the Ninth Fort was used as a Russian stronghold from 1902-1913. However, during WWII, the fort was used as a place of mass murder. Over 50,000 people were executed here, including over 30,000 Jews and 10,000 foreigners. While it’s not a proud history, it is history.
Today, the weather was beautiful, and people were picnicking, walking, and biking around the fort. To me, this seemed strange. On that very spot you’re drinking a beer, someone’s mother/father/child was shot to death. However, Lithuania’s history is full of tragedy, so maybe it’s good to turn such a devastatingly grim area into an enjoyable one. I don’t know. You either memorialize the area by keeping it in the past, so that future generations can really feel the pain and suffering, while hopefully, ensuring that the Holocaust is never repeated. Or, you memorialize the area, while looking forward to a much brighter future. I think both are important.
*Today is the 70th anniversary of World War II. I overlooked this. I guess it is very apt that I felt the urge to stop at the fort today…
Here’s a plaque I randomly saw on a building in the center of Kaunas. I think it fits in with this post:
More about the Holocaust in Lithuania here.
- Kaunas Forts
- May 26, 2009 + a Not-So Quick Note on the Holocaust in Lithuania
- August 9, 2009
- August 14, 2009