Army dress-up ‘feast’ planned at Lithuanian WWII killing site for Jews


(JTA) — A Lithuanian museum housed in a camp where Nazis and collaborators murdered 50,000 Jews is hosting an event for families featuring battle re-enactments.

The May 12 event, which the Kas Vyksta news website billed as a “feast,” is scheduled to take place at the Ninth Fort, a 19th century bunker complex that the Nazis and their helpers turned into a camp and execution area.

Titled “Past History — Today’s Strength,” the event will feature mock cavalry and men wearing Lithuanian army uniforms, complete with weapons.

According tot he U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, German SS and police units and Lithuanian police auxiliaries at the Ninth Fort murdered 9,200 residents of the Jewish ghetto in Kovno in 1941. The Nonth Fort museum’s website for the May 12 event does not mention Jews or the execution of civilians on the site.

According to an official website of Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city, the museum “reveals the Jews’ tragedy in Lithuania and tells the story of Kaunas Ghetto and massacre,” in addition to showcasing “examples of weaponry and equipment of World War I.”

The event is part of this year’s centenary celebrations of Lithuanian sovereignty, according to the website of the state-run Ninth Fort museum.

Active-duty soldiers will explain to visitors about their various armaments, including the GOL rifle, which is produced in the German town of Birkenau. Also present will be police officers and firefighters as well as municipal officials.

In 2016, Lithuanian authorities came under pressure to stop allowing the operators of a different museum, the Seventh Fort, to hold private parties and camping activities on the premises, where Nazis also killed thousands of Jews.

The city privatized the Seventh Fort in 2009, handing over the land to a nonprofit called the Military Heritage Center, which is headed by a 37-year-old amateur historian and computer information expert, Vladimir Orlov.

Last year, Lithuanian troops camped out at the Seventh Fort as part of an army drill.

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