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April 5: Resistance at Ponary

April 4, 2015

ponaryAccording to The Holocaust Chronicle, “Three hundred Jews from Soly and Smorgen, Belorussia” were transported by rail to be ghettoized in Vilna on this date in 1943. “En route, the captives shatter[ed] the railcars’ wire-reinforced glass and attempt[ed] to flee, but [were] shot to death by guards.” Survivors were later shot “at Ponary, southwest of Vilna, by German and Lithuanian SS troops. About 4,000 Jews from in and around Vilna [were] trucked to Ponary, slaughtered, and dumped into mass graves. Jews arriving at the Ponary station... from Oszmiana and Swieciany, Lithuania, resist[ed] with revolvers, knives, and their bare hands; a few dozen escape[d] to Vilna and the rest [were] shot. During the massacre, a Lithuanian policeman [was] wounded by Jews and an SS sergeant [was] hospitalized after being stabbed in the back and hand.” (Drawing by Fajwel Segal of Jews being marched to Ponary for execution.)

“From June 1941 until July 1944 over 75,000 people were murdered in Ponary, most of whom were Jewish, the others were Soviet prisoners of war and local opponents to the Nazi regime. The victims were brought to the murder site on foot, by motor vehicles and by train; in groups of tens, hundreds and thousands. There, they were shot and buried.” —Yad Vashem