In June and July 1941, detachments of German Einsatzgruppen, together with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began murdering the Jews of Lithuania. Groups of partisans, civil units of nationalist-rightist anti-Soviet affiliation, initiated contact with the Germans as soon as they entered the Lithuanian territories. A rogue unit of insurgents headed by Algirdas Klimaitis and encouraged by Germans from the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst, started anti-Jewish pogroms in Kaunas (Polish: Kovno) on the night of 25–27 June 1941. Over a thousand Jews perished over the next few days in what was the first pogrom in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in what was later known as the Lietūkis Garage Massacre.
Lithuanian nationalists clubbing Jewish Lithuanians to death. Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, June 27, 1941
During the Lietūkis Garage Massacre, carried out before the invading Germans had actually set up their administration, 40-60 people were killed and publicly humiliated in the process. Jews were forced to gather on the afternoon in the courtyard of a garage at 43 Vitautas Avenue, in the center of the city. Some of them were killed with shovels, iron bars or by other barbaric methods. Lithuanian children were lifted onto the shoulder of their parents to catch a glimpse of the “Death Dealer of Kovno”, a sight that one German regular army officer later described as the most frightful event he’d witnessed in the course of two world wars.
An unknown perpetrator (nicknamed the “Death Dealer”) at the massacre in the Lietūkis garage
“On the concrete forecourt of the petrol station a blond man of medium height, aged about twenty-five, stood leaning on a wooden club, resting. The club was as thick as his arm and came up to his chest. At his feet lay about fifteen to twenty dead or dying people. Water flowed continuously from a hose washing blood away into the drainage gully. Just a few steps behind this man some twenty men, guarded by armed civilians, stood waiting for their cruel execution in silent submission. In response to a cursory wave the next man stepped forward silently and was beaten to death with the wooden club in the most bestial manner, each blow accompanied by enthusiastic shouts from the audience”.
Once the mound of the bodies at his feet had reach fifty, the Death Dealer fetched an accordion, climbed to the top of the pile of the corpses, and played the Lithuanian national anthem.
This incident is well documented and well photographed, partly because it was a public event. There are various accounts of it from both German and Lithuanian sources. Laimonas Noreika was a resident of Kovno:
“I can’t remember whether we left work early that day (my elder brother Albertas and I) or whether we went home at our usual time. Opposite the Kovno cemetery at the corner of Greenwald St and Vytautas Boulevard there was a small garage, which serviced light vehicles. A large crowd had gathered alongside the perimeter fence of the garage yard. So we also went over to see what was happening. I keep asking myself whether I just imagined it all but I know I did not.
Those horrific events have been burned onto my memory and will remain there until my dying day. In the middle of the yard, in broad daylight and in full view of the assembled crowd, a group of well dressed, spruce intelligent looking people held iron bars which they used to viciously beat another group of similarly well dressed, spruce, intelligent people. It was obvious the yard also served as a horse stable as animal droppings were littered everywhere.
The assailants yelled the word “norma” (move it) repeatedly as they relentlessly battered the Jews until they fell to the ground and began gathering feces. They kept hitting them until finally they lay inert. Then, using a hosepipe for washing cars, they doused them with water until they came round following which the abuse would start all over again. And so it went on and on until the hapless victims lay dead. Bodies began to pile up everywhere. I stood next to the fence and watched it all until finally, my brother Albertas pulled me away…”.
This incident is well documented and well photographed, partly because it was a public event
Excerpt from testimony given by Colonel L. Von Bischoffshausen:
“I arrived in Kovno on the afternoon of June 27 1941. Whilst patrolling the city I came across a crowd of people that had gathered alongside a gas station to watch was happening in the adjacent yard. There were women in the crowd and many of them clambered onto chairs and crates so that they and their children could get a better view of the “spectacle” taking place in the yard below. At first I thought this must be a victory celebration or some type of sporting event because of the cheering, clapping and laughter that kept breaking out.
However, when I asked what was happening I was told the “death dealer of Kovno” is at work and he would make sure that all “traitors and collaborators” received a fitting punishment for their “treachery.” When I drew closer I witnessed a display of brutality that was unparalleled by anything I saw in combat during two world wars.
Standing on the tarmac in the yard was a fair haired young man of around 25. He leaned on a long iron bar as thick as human arm and around his feet lay between fifteen to twenty people who were either dying or already dead. A few feet away from him stood another group of individuals who were guarded by armed men. Every few minutes he signaled with his hand and another person quietly stepped forward and had his skull shattered with one blow from the huge iron bar the killer held in his hand. Each blow he struck drew another round of clapping and cheering from the enthralled crowd”.
During World War II, 91-95% of Lithuania’s Jewish population of Lithuanian Jews were killed – almost all the Jews who had not managed to leave Lithuania and its environs. This was the highest casualty rate of Jews in any nation in the Holocaust. An important component to the Holocaust in Lithuania was that the occupying Nazi German administration fanned antisemitism by blaming the Soviet regime’s recent annexation of Lithuania, a year earlier, on the Jewish community. Another factor was the German plan for early colonization of Lithuania – which shared a border with German East Prussia – in accordance with their Generalplan Ost; hence the high priority given to the extermination of the relatively small Lithuanian Jewish community.
Originally published on 2016-08-05
Photo credit: Dokumetationsarchiv Des Osterreichischen Wiederstand / Yad Vashem / Hirsch (Zvi) Kadushin.
Source: Rare Historical Photos
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Lithuanian children were lifted onto the shoulder of their parents to catch a glimpse of the “Death Dealer of Kovno”, a sight that one German regular army officer later described as the most frightful event he’d witnessed in the course of two world wars
“Fool me once, shame on you; but fool me twice, shame on me.”
Ancient proverb, (sometimes attributed to an Italian, Russian or Chinese proverb)
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
Ernst F. Schumacher (1911-1977) (in ‘Small is Beautiful’, an essay, in The Radical Humanist, Aug. 1973, p. 22).
“The powers-that-be understand that to create the appropriate atmosphere for war, it’s necessary to create within the general populace a hatred, fear or mistrust of others regardless of whether those others belong ...
It is 70-years anniversary of the end of the WWII – the bloodiest and most horrible war ever fought in the human history. The war that caused creation of the UN in 1945 in order to protect the world from similar events in the future – a pan-global political-security organization of which first issued legal act was the UN Charter, which inspired the 1948 Geneva Conventions’ definition of genocide.
The Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials were organized as “The Last Battles” for justice as the first ever global trials for the war criminals and mass murderers including and the top-hierarchy statesmen and ...
Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day: A state-sponsored institution in Vilnius rewrites history to the delight of Europe’s new ultranationalists
This past winter here in Vilnius, the charming capital of Lithuania, was much like any other. During long solid weeks of subzero temperatures, as the flow of tourists and roots-seekers slowed to a trickle, I adjusted the route of my daily walk to pass by up to a dozen top tourist sights. Day after day, there was one constant: The most popular, winter-defying “must-visit” for foreigners is “The Museum of Genocide Victims.” Perhaps there is something grotesquely sexy about “genocide.” Maybe the promise ...
Is Israel and its infamous Wall of Separation representative of a modern evolving democratic state, based upon Biblical principles and teachings, as applied towards the original indigenous Palestinian peoples of Palestine, or is it an example of yet another ethnic-cleansing, apartheid state, possessive of the same genocidal-racist tendencies as those 19th century colonial-imperialistic powers – like the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa – who also once invaded and committed wholesale destruction of other ancient indigenous peoples entire ways of life; sweeping their survivors aside onto reservations, reserves and Bantustan-type compounds to be ultimately ignored and forgotten?
Professor Ilan Pappe, ...
The current Ukrainian crisis and in fact civil war which stared at the very end of 2013 are grounded in for decades lasting internal interethnic antagonisms primarily on the Ukrainian-Russian relations including above all the “Crimean Question” as an apple of discord from 1954 between Ukraine and Russia. The crisis came from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius were in November 2013 an Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine had to be signed. Lithuania at that time (July 1st−December 31st, 2013) presided the European (Union) Council and formally had a full political responsibility for the breaking out of the crisis as being ...
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by ...
The historical Western policy of „Russophobia Vulgaris“, which is currently promulgated by the British Cabinet of Theresa May, is nothing new. It was originally started by the British Empire in the XIX century, followed up by the US after the WWII and now, as Russia it getting notably reinforced, is escalated in the form of the “New Cold War”. The Russian exodus from the West (diplomatic only yet), presented as a punishment for Russia’s alleged nerve gas poisoning of a former Russian/MI6 double-agent reminds us of the baiting of Jews in the Middle Age for alleged ‘poisoning of wells‘.
We have ...
The struggle for peace and the struggle for full respect of universal human rights, as defined by UN Declaration on protection of human rights, are interdependent and non-separable. Violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military interventions, aggressions and occupations go hand in hand with massive violations of the basic human rights.It is clear that there are no humanitarian military interventions.NATO military aggression against Yugoslavia ( Serbia ) which started March 24rth, 1999 was launched to allegedly protect human rights of Kosovo Albanians. It was carried out in blatant violation of the basic principals of International Law and without approval of ...
One of the negative characteristics of the Israeli “Left” is how it terms the military rule over the West Bank and Gaza “The Occupation.” Part of the Left even accuses Palestinians who claim there is no difference between Petah Tikva and Ariel of being like the Right, because “that’s what the Israeli Right claims.” For most Palestinians, however, this exaggerated and Orwellian talk of “The Occupation” blurs Israel’s real shame, and the skeleton buried deep in the closet: The brutal and criminal occupation of 1948.Ethnic cleansing and massive land expropriation, and then settlement of that land, are the mother of ...
Former slogan that has been so thunderously shouted within pre-election debates, and that was the last glimmer of declarative patriotism, dear both to politicians and football fans, by the development of the situation these days gets quite a different meaning.
Kosovo is Serbia sometimes means that the Serbs, if not otherwise, at least in their souls will not give up the holy Serbian land.
However, it might sound completely different today. Columns of Albanians from Kosovo carrying everything they own, leave Kosovo, pushing to catch last buses for a better life, moving towards Subotica, in order to try to reach some ...
So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish ...
The Western power centers use the “Republic of Kosovo” as a testing ground for working out the ways to create a quasi-state that could be defined as an abnormal criminal case of global scope. The final goal is reshaping the whole of South East Europe. (www.strategic-culture.org)
The states below the «first echelon» are subject to the formula «back to slavery and barbarity». This is a model of authoritative outside governance entailing devastation of natural environment, extraction of resources and creation of disastrous economy and ‘stillborn» state structures along with extreme pauperization of population. And this is not all. Control over vast ...
The fundamental and justifiable reasons of a Russophobic hysteria around the world by liberal-democratic governments, politicians, academics and political parties/movements are:Constant Russian global imperialism.Russian policy to transform world into Pax Russiana.Russian war crimes across the globe.Russian military presence across the globe.Russian occupation of foreign countries.Russian installation of puppet regimes across the globe.Russian collaboration with the terrorists.Corruption of Russian government.Etc.See below images as proves of justifiable reasons of a Russophobic hysteria around the world:SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to ...
For decades, much of the world seemed to believe the fairy tale that the United States was a neutral broker, working for a solution to the issues plaguing Palestine and Israel. The U.S. sponsored endless rounds of negotiations, ostensibly looking for an end to these issues.
Before this writer points out the nonsense of that belief, allow him to state two, self-evident (one would think) truths:
(1) No broker is needed. All that is required is for Israel to adhere to international law. This means removing all the illegal settlers, ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing all Palestinian refugees to ...
During the recent years of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, there has been one issue where the Western mainstream press simply cannot fully ignore or reject the Russian arguments. This issue concerns the life and actions of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) and his followers from what is known as the “Banderite” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, a far-right organization that took terrorist actions against Polish and Soviet officials from the 1920s to the 1950s and which is now legally protected from any criticism in Ukraine).THE “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” VICTIMSBecause Bandera was born on January 1, 1909, celebrations ...
Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe.
This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics ...
1. Kosovo is not ancient Albanian land
Its very name comes from the Serbian word "kos," meaning blackbird. Its Albanian name, "Kosova," means nothing whatsoever.
Kosovo was the heartland of medieval Serbian state and the site of the 1389 battle in which both the Serbian prince and the Ottoman sultan died, checking the Turkish expansion into the Balkans for almost 70 years. Ethnic Albanians were settled there by the Ottomans over the intervening centuries, and became a majority due to pogroms and persecution of Serbs - which began under Ottoman rule but continued under Austro-Hungarian occupation in WWI and German/Italian occupation in ...
While much is said in some American media outlets about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.
As we reported back in October, Ukrainian media outlet Radio Svoboda — the Ukrainian arm of the US Government-funded arm of RFERL — posted a picture from the US Holocaust Museum. It is an image of Polish Jews being deported to a death camp. There was just one problem. Radio Svoboda claimed the picture was ...
(JTA) — A Lithuanian judge postponed a precedent-setting trial in which a U.S. citizen is demanding that a state museum end its glorification of a deceased Nazi collaborator.Jonas Noreika - "General Storm"The case is thought to be the first in which civil servants intend to publicly defend in court the actions and good name of an alleged collaborator. Lawyers representing the museum said they needed more time to review materials relevant to the case, which involves the late Jonas Noreika. The postponement was announced Tuesday in Vilnius.The state-funded museum, known as the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the ...
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
False Flags and the Trump Administration
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
Lithuania’s Museum of Holocaust Denial
Israeli-Zionist Genocide and Racism Unmasked
The 2014 Coup d’État and the Ukrainian Crisis
US has Killed More than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” since World War II
Russophobia Vulgaris: A la Lietuva
Violation of Human Rights of Serbs in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija
When will the Israeli Left Accept the Occupation Started in ’48, not ’67?
Those Who have Erected the Monument to Bill Clinton Now Flee From the Valley of Tears
The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
Independent” Kosovo: Gangland Spills Savagery Worldwide
Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
Five Facts About Kosovo the Fakenews Media is Lying to You About
More Fake News, Again from Ukraine and Once More — About the Holocaust
Lithuanian Judge Postpones Trial over Reputation of Deceased Nazi Collaborator
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes