About 1000 Jews Survive in Kaunas; Many Burned Alive by Germans Before Their Retreat

Less than 1000 Jews have survived in the liberated city of Kaunas, capital of Lithuania, it was reported here today. Of the thirty thousand Jews who lived there before the war and of the many thousands that were brought there by the Germans from Holland, Beligum, and Austria, only three thousand were yet living during the last days of the German occupation. This number was further reduced to one thousand when the Gestapo demolition units broke into the ghetto and blew up house after house prior to the retreat of the German army.

When the Russian army entered Kaunas, they found in the basements of the burning houses many bodies of Jews burned alive. One of the Jewish survivors, Nahum Diner, a lawyer, told the Russian officers that the Gestapo demolition squads killed with machine guns all those Jews who tried to escape from the houses set fire to by the Nazis.

Relating the gruesome details on the German mass-extermination of Jews in Kaunas, Diner stated that as late as March 27, 1944, the German military commandant Gokke issued an order that all Jewish mothers forthwith deliver their children to the center of the city from which point they would be taken on trucks to a specially-arranged children’s pionic. Efforts of the mothers to hide their children were in vain. More than 2000 Jewish children were carried away by force outside the city and massacred.

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