Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gestapo death camp banknotes of Vilnus Ghetto

The Vilna Ghetto, Wilno Ghetto or Vilnius Ghetto a Jewish ghetto established by Nazi Germany in the city of Vilnius during the Holocaust in World War II. During roughly two years of its existence, starvation, disease, street executions, maltreatment and deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps reduced the population of the ghetto from an estimated 40,000 to zero. Only several hundred people managed to survive, mostly by hiding in the forests surrounding the town, joining the Soviet partisans or finding shelter among sympathetic locals.
German troops entered Vilnius on 26 June 1941, followed by units of the Einsatzgruppe A. Over the course of the summer, German troops and Lithuanian civilians and Lithuanian police killed more than 21,000 Jews living in Vilnius in a rapid extermination program. Vilna or Vilnius was a predominantly Polish and Jewish city until Joseph Stalin gave it back to Lithuania in October 1939 according to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty. The Republic of Lithuania had claimed it as its capital and the dispute between Poland and Lithuania was a long-standing one at the League of Nations. The Republic of Lithuania, operating out of the provisional capital Kaunas, sent in the Lithuanian Army to reclaim the city and embarked on a project to Lithuanianize the city. This included operations by the Lithuanian State Security agency, who seized on the opportunity for ethnic cleansing offered by the arrival of the Third Reich and helped orchestrate the kidnapping and murder of Jews in the city before the ghetto was set up. The deportation from the United States of Aleksandras Lileikis to face (an ultimately unsuccessful) trial in Lithuania revolves around the role he played in the Lithuanian State Security apparatus in the murder of Jews. These kidnappers were known in Yiddish as hapunes, meaning grabbers or snatchers. In the months that followed Poles were also targeted by Lithuanian and German authorities. Newspapers published by the Polish underground in Lithuania and Poland were virulently anti-Semitic[citation needed] early on and remained so until late into World War II. The Jewish population of Vilnius on the eve of the Holocaust was probably more than 60,000, including refugees from Poland and subtracting the small number who managed to flee onward to the Soviet Union.


1 comment:

  1. Your report is very interesting indeed.
    I invite You to visit htto://www.pillandia.blogspot.com , a great collection of large views of political borders, from all the world.
    In the page about Poland there is the photo of the Germans who broke tre Polish border 70 years ago.
    Helping text in 32 languages.
    Best wishes from Italy!