MOre information about Ponary crime (Panerai)
Convicted victims were taken to Ponary by trucks, by train or they were driven on foot. They were shot close to or inside the ditches. There were often maltreated close to the ditch in order to receive valuable information.
Polish blood had flown in Katyń, Miednoje, Charkow, Oświęcim or Majdanek – but also in Ponary, place 10 km far from Wilno. There is lack of information of that events in Poland and in the world.
Till the outbreak of WWII Ponary was spa for Wilno’s inhabitants. After incorporation of Lithuania in 15 June 1940 Russians began the construction of the fuel base for fighters. They dug 7 or 8 huge ditches; 3 or 4 were 32m in diameter and with depth of 4 meters, rest were 12m in diameter and with 3m depth.
After the beginning of German-Russian war, 2 days after pursuit of Wilno’s area (26 June 1941) Germans started mass murders on Polish Nation. They used former fuel base – they surrounded it with barbed wire and they took there first prisoners (incl. Jews of Wilno’s ghetto approximately 70thousands people).
The first execution in Ponary took place in 4th July 1941, - Germans and Lithuanians killed 54 Jews. The biggest execution took place on Jews on 2nd September 1941, in revenge of alleged Jews actions - Jews were accused of shooting to German solders. On that day Germans killed 3,7 thousand Jews.
There were horror scenes in Ponary. Kazimierz Sakowicz was the witness of that events(he saw everything from his house’s attic). We wrote memory and hid it in the bottles burred in the garden. When the bottles were found the author didn’t live anymore. He died in Wilno during the Burza action on 5th July 1944 (His diary is in central State Archives in Wilno).
During 3 years long occupation since July 1941 till July 1944 there were approximately 100.000 victims killed in Ponary. The exact number is not known.
The executions on Jews, Gypsies, Poles and communists were committed by Germans but also with big help of Lithuanian helpers of paramilitary Unit called Lietuvos Szauliu Sajunga (Lithuanian Shooting Assosiation) – so they were called „szaulisi” (they probably also took part in Warsaw Uprising – on Germans’ side). That organisation was established in Lithuania in 1919 and was known for its chauvinism and anti-Semitism. There were 62 thousands members in 1940. On that time Lithuanians population was 2,2-milion people. It should be remembered that some of Szaulisi were also solders of Lithuanians Activists Front – organisation established in Germany in 1940. The front made intelligence service for Germans. The organiser of Wilno’s Sonderkommando, officially assigned to Gestapo, was German Martin Weiss, and the commander was Lithuanian Army Second Lieutenant Balys Norwaisz.
The troop what made execution in Ponary was called – Ypatingas Buris „ponar’s schooters”. They had green uniforms of Sicherheitsdienst. In each execution there were involved approx. 80 szaulises, and about 100 were guarding the base.
The ponar’s executions were extremely cruel. Most of the executioners were drunk. So they often missed – wounded victims were not killed but buried alive. They also often aimed at victims’ legs or stomachs on purpose. Some of the victims were tortured before throwing them into the ditches. Mothers were forced to see their children’s death. Small babies were thrown alive directly into the ditches - it was people’s slaughterhouse.
Starting with October 1943 murderers became to burn down gathered bodies. Corpses were arranged into great piles. Every pile was burning 8-9 days.
After WWII end only 20 Ponar’s schooters from 108 were caught.
And other interesting information of war murderers “Szaulisi”:
http://www.diapozytyw.pl/en/site/slowni ... now/wilno/
http://www.forum-znak.org.pl/index-en.p ... ad&id=1561
Polish state investigations:
Investigation into mass killings of Polish citizens of Jewish nationality, committed between June 1941 and July 1944 by German members of different formations, assisted by members of paramilitary formations and Belarusian, Lithuanian and Latvian police detachments, within the territory of the Nowogródek Province (presently in western Belarus). Owing to the large scale of executions, it is impossible to estimate the number of the victims. In that area, the Nazis did not prepare any list of people murdered. In the course of the investigation, the number of victims and their identity are established solely on the basis of witnesses of the crime. To give an idea of the scale of the homicide, approximate numbers of victims in each town can be provided. And so, in Dereczyn the Nazis murdered about 5,500 people, in Lida about 5,600, in Nowogródek – between ten and twenty thousand, in Wołożyn and Nieśwież – about 3,000 each, in Ejszyszki – about 2,500, in Żołudek – about 1,500, in Iwie – about 1,700. The testimony given by witnesses interrogated in the course of the investigation is shocking. This is how the witness Regina Ł. recalls the homicide of Jews in Szczuczyn: “[...]Being at home about 10:00 am, I saw the airport area through the window. I saw about 3,000 Jews there, kneeling in rows, their heads down. There were men, women, and children. They were surrounded by Nazis [...] Nearby the place where the Jews were kneeling, there were trenches some ten to twenty meters long. Every quarter of an hour of so, the Jews kneeling in a row had to get up, get undressed, and run a ditch. When they reached it, they were machine gunned to death. This way the Jews kneeling in all the rows ran to the ditches. By about 6:00 pm they had all been murdered [...]”. The IPN prosecutor intends to identify the persons who witnessed the crime, and whose testimony may help to identify the perpetrators who have not yet been punished for their crimes.
Investigation into mass killings of Polish citizens, committed in the summer of 1943 by members of the Gestapo, the German military police, and other German formations, as well as the police and members of Belarusian, Lithuanian and Latvian detachments collaborating with the Germans during the pacification of a number of localities in the Nalibocka Forest region (presently in western Belarus). The Nazis committed the murders during the pacification of about 60 villages, colonies, settlements and granges. Persons suspected of co-operating or supporting partisans, members of partisans’ families and persons who refused or were unable (due to old age or illness) to leave their homes were shot on the spot or collected in different buildings, which the Nazis then set on fire. In the Orthodox church in the village of Dory, Pierszaje commune, between 100 and 500 people (according to different testimonies) were burned alive. The investigation conducted by the IPN prosecutor also deals with killings of representatives of the intelligentsia, gentry, and priests. Based on the investigation findings so far, in view of the mass nature of the crime, the exact number of the victims cannot be determined. The IPN prosecutor has heard 37 witnesses. What poses a difficulty in the investigation is the arduous process of looking for current addresses of witnesses of the crime, living throughout Poland and outside the country.