Simon Wiesenthal Center Protests Disgraceful Misuse of Kaunas, Lithuania Holocaust Mass Murder Site

August 2, 2016

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today sent a strong letter of protest to Kaunas mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis regarding entertainment and amusement activities being conducted for profit at the Seventh Fort (pictured), the mass murder site of 5,000 Kaunas Jews in the summer of 1941. In his letter to Mayor Matijosaitis, the Center's Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff called the current situation "disgraceful" and urged the mayor to immediately suspend such activities at the site.

According to Zuroff:
"As you no doubt are aware, the site of the mass murder of several thousand Jews in 1941 was privatized several years ago, and has now been turned into a recreation and entertainment center which violates the memory of the victims.

"This sad situation was revealed already several months ago in Musiskiai, the book Ruta Vanagaite and I wrote about the subject of Holocaust memory and commemoration in Lithuania. More recently, a feature by Israeli journalist Cnaan Lipshiz of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency revealed that one could even hold a wedding reception at the site.

"These revelations have justifiably aroused widespread indignation, and a call for action to put an end to this disgraceful situation.

"I urge you to immediately suspend such activities at the Seventh Fort and find a way to restore the site to the municipality or to an organization whose purpose will be to honor the memory of the victims, rather than insult them."

For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center:
Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156, 
join the Center on Facebook,, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed. Follow Dr. Zuroff on Twitter: @EZuroff

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament