• Garage Massacre Memorial
A memorial in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas (Russian: Kovno) calls into remembrance the massacre of June 1941, during which Lithuanian nationalists murdered dozens of Jews in the courtyard of the Lietūkis Garage.
Image: Kaunas, 1941, Lithuanian perpetrators during the massacre, Yad Vashem
Kaunas, 1941, Lithuanian perpetrators during the massacre, Yad Vashem

Image: Kaunas, 2011, Memorial stone to the victims of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Stiftung Denkmal
Kaunas, 2011, Memorial stone to the victims of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Stiftung Denkmal
Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania, is located at the junction of the Neman and the Neris rivers. Between 1920 and 1940, Kaunas was the temporary capital of independent Lithuania. About a quarter of the 160,000 inhabitants of Kaunas were Jewish. In 1940, Lithuania was occupied and eventually annexed by the Soviet Union.
In June 1941, a few days after its invasion of the Soviet Union, the German Wehrmacht occupied Kaunas. Many Lithuanians welcomed the Germans' arrival and especially the withdrawal of the Red Army. Lithuanian nationals accused the Jewish population of having collaborated with the Soviets, and committed pogroms in revenge for the Soviet occupation - these were frequently supported or initiated by the German occupation authorities. Such a pogrom took place - most likely on June 27, 1941 - at the Lietūkis Garage, the courtyard of an agricultural cooperative with an associated petrol station. Lithuanian nationalists beat several dozens of Jewish men to death with iron rods, cheered on by onlookers, among them women and children. There were also German soldiers among the bystanders. The Jewish men had to step forward one by one, and they were beaten to death by a small group of men. Other participants hosed the blood from the courtyard. Similar pogroms took place in all of Lithuania during the first days of German occupation, during which about 800 Jews were murdered by Lithuanian nationalists.
Image: Kaunas, 1941, Lithuanian perpetrators during the massacre, Yad Vashem
Kaunas, 1941, Lithuanian perpetrators during the massacre, Yad Vashem

Image: Kaunas, 2011, Memorial stone to the victims of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Stiftung Denkmal
Kaunas, 2011, Memorial stone to the victims of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Stiftung Denkmal
It is estimated that up to 60 Jewish men were beaten to death in the garage of the Lietūkis cooperative in June 1941.
Image: Kaunas, 1941, Scene of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Yad Vashem
Kaunas, 1941, Scene of the massacre at the Lietūkis garage, Yad Vashem

The pogrom at the Lietūkis Garage is broadly known due to a series of disturbing photos which were taken during the massacre. The role of German officers during the pogrom is still disputed among historians: while some believe they were merely passive observers, others consider them active perpetrators. Moreover, it is not clear whether the Lithuanian attackers were an organised unit, which had participated in similar crimes in other towns.
After the war, the premises of the Lietūkis cooperative were built on; the garage was torn down and the courtyard is now part of a school. In 2002, a memorial stone to the victims of the massacre was erected by the municipal authorities. However, the memorial cannot be seen from the street, and the memorial site remains practically unknown in Kaunas.
Image: Kaunas, 2011, Inscription on the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal
Kaunas, 2011, Inscription on the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Kaunas, 2011, Location of the memorial in a schoolyard, Stiftung Denkmal
Kaunas, 2011, Location of the memorial in a schoolyard, Stiftung Denkmal
Address
Miško gatvė 3, on the courtyard
44321 Kaunas