Jewish Genocide Cemetery

Alytus, Lithuania

During the Word War II, when Alytus was occupied by Germans, Jewish people were shot in Vidzgiris forest and buried in common graves. According to written sources, mostly people from the east of former Soviet Union and Czech Republic were killed here. This forest became the place of eternal rest for many Jewish people from Alytus region. On March 18, 1993, reconstructed memorial, designed for Jewish victims, was unveiled in Vidzgirio forest. Memorial ensemble is composed of the symbolic 'Star of David', 9 pyramids, indicating the burial-grounds, an obelisk and a stela. In the highest hill of the memorial stands a monument of pain a broken 'Star of David', symbolizing broken destinies and lives of humans. The author of the project is architect Rasa Vasiliauskienė, and the author of the broken star of David is sculptor Aloyzas Smilingis.

References:

Comments

Your name


Carol Bertalot said 4 years ago
My husband and I recently traveled to Lithuania where my ancestors were from. Fortunately we knew this from several ships manifests that my Grandparents traveled on the states to. One relative had lived in Alytus before immigrating to the states. To my husband and I the Jewish Genocide Cemetery dramatically brought home the tragedy of the Holocust as we walked among the mass graves in a dark forest. One could almost feel the souls and spirit of those murdered. Those Jews of Lithuanian decent should visit this cemetery so as to NEVER FORGET ONES routes and this tragic event.


User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".