Kaunas pogrom

The Kaunas pogrom was a massacre of Jewish people living in Kaunas, Lithuania that took place on June 25–29, 1941 – the first days of the Operation Barbarossa and of Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in the Lietūkis garage, where several dozen Jewish men were publicly tortured and executed on June 27, most of them killed by a single club-wielding assailant nicknamed the "Death Dealer." After June, systematic executions took place at various forts of the Kaunas Fortress, especially the Seventh and Ninth Fort.[2]

Dead dealer Lietukis Garage Kovno
An unknown perpetrator (nicknamed the "Death Dealer") at the massacre in the Lietūkis garage, though possible names are known.[1]
Massacre Kovno Garage 27 JUNE 1941b
Civilians looking at the massacre of 68 Jews in the Lietūkis garage of Kaunas on June 25 or 27, 1941


The Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), a national liberation organisation operating inside Soviet Lithuania, took control of the city[3] and much of the Lithuanian countryside on the evening of June 23. Nazi SS Brigadeführer Franz Walter Stahlecker arrived in Kaunas on the morning of June 25. He visited the headquarters of the Lithuanian Security Police and delivered a long anti-Semitic speech encouraging Lithuanians to solve the "Jewish problem".[4] According to Stahlecker's report of October 15, local Lithuanians were not enthusiastic about the pogrom and so he had to use Algirdas Klimaitis and his men.[4] Klimaitis controlled a paramilitary unit of roughly 600 men that was organized in Tilsit by SD and was not subordinated to the LAF.[4]


Map used to illustrate Stahlecker's report to Heydrich on January 31, 1942
Map sent by Stahlecker to Heydrich January 31, 1942 illustrating 1941 killings of Jews in the Baltic states under Stahlecker's command

Starting on June 25, Nazi-organized units attacked Jewish civilians in Slobodka (Vilijampolė), the Jewish suburb of Kaunas that hosted the world-famous Slabodka yeshiva. According to Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, there were Germans present on the bridge to Slobodka, but it was the Lithuanian volunteers who killed the Jews. The rabbi of Slobodka, Rav Zalman Osovsky, was tied hand and foot to a chair, "then his head was laid upon an open volume of gemora (volume of the Talmud) and [they] sawed his head off", after which they murdered his wife and son. His head was placed in a window of the residence, bearing a sign: "This is what we'll do to all the Jews."[5]

As of June 28, 1941, according to Stahlecker, 3,800 people had been killed in Kaunas and a further 1,200 in other towns in the immediate region.[3] Some believe Stahlecker exaggerated his murder tally.[6][7]


There is controversy over who is primarily responsible for initiating the massacres, local Lithuanians or Nazi officials.

Lithuanians cite Franz Walter Stahlecker's report of October 15 to Heinrich Himmler. Stahlecker wrote that he had succeeded in covering up actions of the Vorkommando (German vanguard unit) and made it look like an initiative of the local population.[4]

Other authors claim that massacres began even before Germans arrived.[8] They point out that executions took place in the countryside and not just in the city of Kaunas.

Photographies montage experts also notes that many pictures from the Kaunas pogrom might have been falsified by gluing multiple pictures into one because there are many discrepancies in the pictures (e.g., different walls, doors locations, illuminations and perspectives does not match). The famous Death Dealer with blonde hair could have been not a Lithuanian, but a German Nazi Joachim Hamann who at the time acted in the territory.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "The Death Dealer of Kovno - Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog". 31 March 2011.
  2. ^ Arvydas Anušauskas; et al., eds. (2005). Lietuva, 1940–1990 (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras. p. 203. ISBN 9986-757-65-7.
  3. ^ a b MacQueen, Michael (1998). "Nazi Policy towards the Jews in the Reichskommissariat Ostland, June–December 1941: From White Terror to Holocaust in Lithuania". In Gitelman, Zvi (ed.). Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR. Indiana University Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-253-33359-8.
  4. ^ a b c d Bubnys, Arūnas (2003). "Lietuvių saugumo policija ir holokaustas (1941–1944)". Genocidas ir rezistencija (in Lithuanian). 13. ISSN 1392-3463. English translation of excerpts from Stahlecker's report available here: "The Einsatzgruppen: Report by Einsatzgruppe A in the Baltic Countries (October 15, 1941)". Jewish Virtual Library. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  5. ^ Oshry, Ephraim (1995). Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry. New York: Judaica Press, Inc. p. 3. ISBN 1-880582-18-X.
  6. ^ Budreckis, Algirdas M. (1968). The Lithuanian National Revolt of 1941. Boston: Lithuanian Encyclopedia Press. pp. 62–63. OCLC 47283. Again for some unknown reason, Stahlecker exaggerates his statistics. The account by L. Shauss to the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission stated that in "the first pogrom on June 25–26, in the Kaunas suburb of Slobodka (Vilijampolė), 600 Jews were killed on Arbarski, Paverski, Vilyuski, Irogalski streets."
  7. ^ Sužiedėlis, Saulius (Winter 2001). "The Burden of 1941". Lituanus. 4 (47). ISSN 0024-5089. On the other hand, notwithstanding a number of such incidents, the available evidence does not support the image of huge mobs of locals hunting down Jews by the thousands even before the arrival of the Germans as some have claimed.
  8. ^ Greenbaum, Masha (1995). The Jews of Lithuania: A History of a Remarkable Community 1316–1945. Gefen Publishing House. p. 307. ISBN 9789652291325.
  9. ^ "'Lietūkio' garažo tragedija". Lzinios.lt. Retrieved 22 June 2007.

Coordinates: 54°53′36″N 23°55′23″E / 54.89333°N 23.92306°E

1033 Fez massacre

In 1033, following their conquest of the city from the Maghrawa tribe, the forces of Tamim, chief of the Zenata Berber Banu Ifran tribe, perpetrated a massacre of Jews in Fez in an anti-Jewish pogrom. The city of Fez in Morocco had been contested between the Zenata Berber tribes of Miknasa, Maghrawa and Banu Ifran for the previous half century, in the aftermath of the fall of the Idrisid dynasty.

Tamim's forces killed over six thousand Jews, appropriated their belongings, and captured the Jewish women of the city. The killings took place in the month of Jumaada al-Akhir 424 AH (May–June 1033 AD). The killings have been called a "pogrom" by some recent writers. Sometime in the period 1038-1040 the Maghrawa tribe retook Fez, forcing Tamīm to flee to Salé.

1517 Hebron attacks

1517 Hebron attacks occurred in the final phases of the 1513–17 Ottoman–Mamluk War, when Turkish Ottomans had ousted the Mamluks and taken Palestine. The massacre targeted the Jewish population of the city and is also referred to as a pogrom.

1934 Constantine Pogrom

The 1934 Constantine pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that erupted in the Algerian city of Constantine.

1934 Thrace pogroms

The 1934 Thrace pogroms (Turkish: Trakya Olayları) refers to a series of violent attacks against Jewish citizens of Turkey in June and July 1934 in the Thrace region of Turkey. According to Corry Guttstadt, a "crucial factor" behind the events was the 1934 Turkish Resettlement Law passed by the Turkish Assembly on 14 June 1934.

1941 in the Soviet Union

The following lists events that happened during 1941 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Algirdas Klimaitis

Algirdas Klimaitis (1910 in Kaunas – August 29, 1988 in Hamburg) was a Lithuanian paramilitary commander, infamous for his role in the Kaunas pogrom in June 1941.

It is likely that Klimaitis was an officer in the Lithuanian Army. During the pre-war years he was editor of the tabloid Dešimt centų (Ten Cents). His attitudes shifted to anti-communism and anti-semitism. He joined the Voldemarininkai movement.When the Nazi Germans occupied Lithuania in June 1941, at the start of Operation Barbarossa, Klimaitis formed a military unit of roughly 600 members, which was not subordinate to the Lithuanian Activist Front or the Provisional Government of Lithuania, and engaged in firefights with the Soviet army for the control of Kaunas. On the evening of June 23, most of the city was in the hands of the insurgents.On the night of 25–26 June, Kaunas pogrom led by Klimaitis' unit was instigated by SS Brigadeführer Franz Walter Stahlecker, commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A. By 28 June 1941, according to Stahlecker, 3,800 people had been killed in Kaunas and a further 1,200 in surrounding towns in the region. Klimaitis' men destroyed several synagogues and about sixty Jewish houses. Modern sources claim that the number of victims in Stahlecker's report were probably exaggerated.After the war, Klimaitis moved to Hamburg, Germany, where he was discovered in the late 1970s. Hamburg Police launched an investigation, but Klimaitis died before the case could be brought to trial. He died in 1988.

Army Group North Rear Area

Army Group North Rear Area (Rückwärtiges Heeresgebiet North) was one of the three Army Group Rear Area Commands, established during the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Initially commanded by General Franz von Roques, it was an area of military jurisdiction behind Wehrmacht's Army Group North.

The Group North Rear Area's outward function was to provide security behind the fighting troops. It was also a site of mass murder during The Holocaust and other crimes against humanity targeting the civilian population. In the words of historian Michael Parrish, the army commander "presided over an empire of terror and brutality".

Kaunas massacre of October 29, 1941

The Kaunas massacre of October 29, 1941 also known as the Great Action was the largest mass murder of Lithuanian Jews.By the order of SS-Standartenführer Karl Jäger and SS-Rottenführer Helmut Rauca, the Sonderkommando under the leadership of SS-Obersturmführer Joachim Hamann, and 8 to 10 men from Einsatzkommando 3, murdered 2,007 Jewish men, 2,920 women, and 4,273 children in a single day at the Ninth Fort, Kaunas, Lithuania.The Nazis destroyed the small ghetto on October 4, 1941, and killed almost all of its inhabitants at the Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 28, SS-Rottenführer Helmut Rauca of the Kaunas Gestapo (secret state police) conducted the selection in the Kaunas Ghetto. All ghetto inhabitants were forced to assemble in the central square of the ghetto. Rauca selected 9,200 Jewish men, women, and children, about one-third of the ghetto's population. The next day, October 29, all of these people were shot at the Ninth Fort in huge pits dug in advance.

Kielce cemetery massacre

The Kielce cemetery massacre refers to the shooting action by the Nazi German police that took place on May 23, 1943 in occupied Poland during World War II, in which 45 Jewish children who had survived the Kielce Ghetto liquidation, and remained with their working parents at the Kielce forced-labour camps, were rounded up and brought to the Pakosz cemetery in Kielce, Poland, where they were murdered by the German paramilitary police. The children ranged in age from 15 months to 15 years old.During the ghetto liquidation action which began on 20 August 1942 approximately 20,000-21,000 Jews were led to awaiting Holocaust trains and sent to Treblinka extermination camp. By the end of 24 August 1942, there were only 2,000 skilled workers left alive in the labour camp at Stolarska-and-Jasna Streets (pl) within the small ghetto, including members of the Judenrat and the Jewish policemen. In May 1943, most Jewish prisoners from Kielce were transported to forced-labour camps in Starachowice, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Pionki, and Bliżyn. The 45 Jewish children murdered at the cemetery were the ones who stayed behind at the liquidated camp.

Kunmadaras pogrom

The Kunmadaras pogrom was a post-World War II anti-Semitic pogrom in Kunmadaras, Hungary.

The pogrom resulted in the killing of two and wounding of fifteen Jews on 22 May 1946. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, four Jews died.The riot started in the marketplace as a spontaneous protest against a suspected profiteer. Since traditional occupation of the Jews in the area was trading, the image of a profiteer was conflated with that of a Jew. Therefore the riot grew into an anti-Jewish pogrom. The frenzy was further instigated by the rumors that the Jews were stealing Christian children. The historian Péter Apor made a peculiar observation about the subsequent trial of the pogromists: "The People's Tribunal managed to produce a narrative of an anti-Semitic pogrom without involving the Jewish victims." The pogrom was portrayed as a resurgence of fascism pitched against the nascent people's democracy.

List of anti-Jewish pogroms in Poland during World War II

A number of massacres (pogroms) targeting the Jewish population took place in German-occupied Poland during World War II. They occurred in the early months of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.

Lviv pogroms (1941)

The Lviv pogroms were the consecutive massacres of Jews living in the city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine), perpetrated by the German commandos, local crowds and the Ukrainian nationalists from 30 June to 2 July 1941, and from 25 to 29 July 1941, during the Wehrmacht's attack on the Soviet positions in occupied eastern Poland in World War II. Historian Peter Longerich and the Holocaust Encyclopedia estimate that the first pogrom cost at least 4,000 lives. It was followed by the additional 2,500 to 3,000 arrests and executions in subsequent Einsatzgruppe killings, and culminated in the so-called "Petlura Days" massacre of more than 2,000 Jews, all killed in a one-month span.Prior to the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and the ensuing Holocaust in Europe, the city of Lviv had the third-largest Jewish population in Poland during the interwar period, which swelled further to over 200,000 Jews as the refugees fled east from the Nazis. Right after the conquest of Poland, on 28 September 1939, the USSR and Germany signed a frontier treaty assigning about 200,000 km² of land inhabited by 13.5 million people of all nationalities to the Soviet Union. Lviv remained in the Soviet zone of occupation for two years. Of the estimated total of 20,000–30,000 former citizens of Poland executed by the Soviet NKVD as "enemies of the people," nearly 9,000 were murdered in the newly-acquired western Ukraine. Sovietization policies in Polish lands – cordoned off from the rest of the USSR – included confiscation of property and mass deportations of the hundreds of thousands of local citizens to Siberia. On Sunday, 22 June 1941 Germany attacked the Soviet Union.

Mass murders in Tykocin

The Mass murders in Tykocin occurred in August 25, 1941, during World War II, where the local Jewish population of Tykocin (Poland) was killed by German Einsatzkommando.

Nikolaev massacre

The Nikolaev Massacre was a massacre which resulted in the deaths of 35,782 Soviet citizens, most of whom were Jews, during World War II, on September 16–30, 1941. It took place in and around the city of Mykolaiv (also known as Nikolaev) and the neighboring city of Kherson in (current) southern Ukraine (then USSR). The massacre was carried out by German troops of Einsatzgruppe D under the command of Otto Ohlendorf, who was later convicted at the Einsatzgruppen trial of the Nuremberg Trials and was sentenced to death by hanging. The killings were committed by many of the same troops who carried out the massacre at Babi Yar, and the victims were counted and described in an Einsatzgruppen document dated October 2, 1941 as "Jews and Communists". This document was entered into evidence at the Nuremberg Trials as NO-3137.

Proskurov pogrom

The Proskurov pogrom took place on 15 February 1919 in the town of Proskurov during the Ukraine Civil War, (now, Khmelnytskyi) which was taken over from under the Bolshevik control by the Haidamacks. In mere three and a half hours at least 1,500 Jews were murdered, up to 1,700 by other estimates, and more than 1,000 wounded including women, children and the old. The massacre was carried out by Ukrainian People's Republic soldiers of Ivan Samosenko. They were ordered to save the ammunition in the process and use only lances and bayonets.

Rintfleisch massacres

The Rintfleisch or Rindfleisch movement was a series of massacres against Jews in the year 1298. The event, in later terminology a pogrom, was the first large-scale persecution in Germany since the First Crusade.

Szczuczyn pogrom

Szczuczyn pogrom was the massacre of some 300 Jews in the community of Szczuczyn carried out by its Polish inhabitants in June 1941 after the town was bypassed by the invading German soldiers in the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. The June massacre was stopped by German soldiers.

A subsequent massacre by Poles in July killed some 100 Jews, and following the German Gestapo takeover in August 1941 some 600 Jews were killed by the Germans, the remaining Jews placed in a ghetto, and subsequently sent to Treblinka extermination camp.

Wąsosz pogrom

The Wąsosz pogrom was the World War II mass murder of Jewish residents of Wąsosz in German-occupied Poland, on 5 July 1941.

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