Paneriai Memorial Museum

Paneriai Memorial Museum is a subsidiary of National Vilnius Gaon Jewish Museum. It is located just 16 kilometers from Vilnius city center. It is a little building standing in the same place where Soviets decided to establish a military base during the Second World War. 7 deep potholes were prepared for stores of liquid fuel there. The same potholes, however, were used for other purposes by Nazis.

The Paneriai Memorial Museum was opened in 1960 in the place of mass massacre. According to various sources, the number of people killed there is terribly big – from 50 000 to 100 000 people. Most of them were Jews.  The museum got a new look in 1985 when a new museum building was built and the local territory was cleared up under the project by Jaunutis Makariūnas.  Paths were asphalted, mortuary potholes cleaned, monumental stones were brought there with  records carved in Lithuanian and Russian. Years passed and more and more monuments were here erected for separate nations: Polish, Jews, Lithuanians.

2009 was the year when Paneriai Memorial Museum celebrated 50 years of establishment. For this occasion the exposition was renewed. Visitors now here can get acquainted with real historical facts about Vilnius ghetto, destiny of Jewish children, Nazi responsible for killing Jews in Lithuania, work of brigade of burners and the escape to partisans. In one of the potholes an authentic ladder from which dead bodies were thrown to the fire is put. Original photos of people killed here, original occupant documents, working tools, clothes and shoes are exposed there telling visitors the sad tragic story of thousands of destinies. The new exposition reflects the memories in proportional parts comparing with the number of various nations killed here.

The Paneriai Memorial Museum is often visited by foreign tourists and school groups as this is the only one memorial museum in Lithuania established in the same place where terrible actions took place many years ago.  Various events for casualties to remember here are held quite often. That still means that people do not forget the torment once felt by ancestries and the terrible massacre left a deep scarf on the face of humanity.

The address of the museum is Agrastų str. 15, LT-2028 Vilnius, the manager of it now is Mr. Algis Karosas. The Paneriai Memorial Museum is open all year round Mon – Thu  9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sun - 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  The  entrance is free of charge.