Between July 1941, and August 1944, approximately 100,000 people of whom over half were Jewish were murdered at this site by the Nazis and a hotpotch of willing Lithuanians from such sinister organisations as the Ypatingasis Būrys (Vilnius Special Squad). A traumatic but necessary part of any Jewish-related visit to Lithuania, find several monuments and the remains of the pits where the victims were burned.
The typical Soviet-era museum inside a small building on the murder site features exhibits explained in a baffling and irregular mix of languages including everything from stomach-churning photography to the clothing worn by a man whose job it was to sift the remains of the charred bodies for gold. Not recommended for children.References:
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr.