European Jewish Congress
Lithuanian troops rain in former concentration camp where 500 Jews are buried
Lithuania
Lithuanian troops rain in former concentration camp where 500 Jews are buried

Lithuanian soldiers training to fight Russian troops pitched tents on the grounds of a former concentration camp and burial ground for Jews in Kaunas.

A battalion of special forces troops camped on Monday at Seventh Fort, the first of dozens of concentration camps established by Nazi Germany following its 1941 eastward invasion. The deployment is part of a military drill.

The remains of 5,000 murdered Jews are buried at the fort in mass graves that are marked by a few poles and rocks. Relatives sometimes visit the site to light candles in memory of the dead.

Privatised by the government in 2009, the Seventh Fort, a disused 18-acre bunker complex, is run by a NGO headed by Vladimir Orlov, a 38-year-old amateur historian and military enthusiast.

His organisation charges entrance fees to the grounds, where it operates summer camps for children and hosts private events. Revenues are used for the site’s preservation as an educational institution where the genocide is taught alongside Lithuanian military heritage

The Jewish Community of Lithuania last year said the privatisation was a “huge mistake” that happened despite its stated opposition.

Like the other two Baltic states, the Lithuanian government’s concern about the expansionist policies of Russia has prompted it to update its own defence capabilities. This summer, thousands of troops trained with NATO contingents across the country.

Click here to read the full article in Jewish Standard

Friday, September 01, 2017
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