Thursday, 28 January 2016

Genocide memorial in Klaipeda

On the crossroad of I. Kanto and Simonas Daukanto streets in Klaipeda a memorial to victims of Nazi and Soviet occupation during 1940-1990 was unveiled and blessed in 1997.  On the other side of Simonas Daukantis street you will find a building that during communist occupation was used to torture Lithuanian men and women.  Prisoners could not stretch out, nor lie down, they were held down in water until they passed out.  The building was the KGB offices.  The memorial is located in a square named for those exiled, shielded by a wide canopy of leaves from the 200 year old oak tree that grows there.  By the tree political prisoners and exiled people erected a statue from a large stone, in memory of those who perished between 1940 – 1990.  Near this memorial another was erected from Lithuanian stone with the names and dates of those who were killed or died. 

Many fathers, brothers, sisters of those who fled Lithuanian were tortured or died in Siberia or in the Partisan war.  To memorialise your family you needed to write their details and send it to Lithuania along with $50 US.  The Adelaide President at that time was collecting payment for anyone from Adelaide who wished to participate.
In the square also stands a statue, "Kančia" ("The Suffering") created by Juozas Genevičius.   It depicts a sitting prisoner with steel wire around his head.  It is similar to the old Lithuanian symbol - Pensive Christ; the difference is that instead of crown of thorns, a steel wire is strapped. In front of the sculpture are plaques with the names of the victims.

The survivors from all Lithuania – deportees, prisoners or their relatives brought black granite and field stones with carved names of martyred persons. There are about 500 such stones.

The plaque reads:

šie krauju ir ašaromis aplaistyti
vardiniai akmenys žiauria komunistine ir nacistine
lietuvos okupacija 1940-1990 m.
Blood and tears wet the named stones
as we remember the cruel Communist and Nazi occupation of Lithuania 1940-1990

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