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1 Execution site(s)
Eugenija speaks: "Y.U.: Were the Jews shot here in the village?
Witness: It happened behind the Shapiro hill. I remember one forest ranger shot a Jewish doctor named Kreiden. The latter pleaded for mercy and promised to treat him for free for the whole year, but the forest ranger didn‘t change his mind.
Y.U.: Where did he shoot him – in the house or in the forest?
Witness: The forest ranger took the doctor from his home, led him through Pušyno street and the square to a place behind the stadium and shot him. But there is no marked grave.
Y.U.: What happened to the body of the doctor after he was shot?
Witness: He was buried. He was a very good doctor. (Witness N°9, interviewed in Tytuvėnai, on November 23, 2013)
“I joined the policemen and we started searching for the Jews in their homes. Then we brought them by truck to the forest called “Pušynas”, outside the village of Tytuvėnai. The pit, already dug, was 7 meters long and about 2-3 meters wide. When we got there, the Jews who wore nice clothes had to take them off. After that, they were led by groups of 20 people to the pit. They were ordered to descend into the pit and lie down, and then the policemen standing on the edge of the pit, including me, opened fire on the people who were in it. After the shooting of a group of Jews, people who had dug the pit had to bury the bodies. Then the next group was brought to the same pit. That day, 150-160 people were shot in that pit.” [Deposition of Vincas, born in 1908, a factory worker who participated in the mass shooting, done on September 22, 1950, RG-22.002M.7021-94/436]
Before WWII, Tytuvėnai was popular as a resort town due to its location among lakes and forests. In 1923, the town had 1164 inhabitants; 221 of them were Jews who made their living in agriculture and small trades. They owned three textile shops, a heating fuel shop and a wool combine workshop. There was a synagogue and a Beth-Midrash in the town.
Two mass executions in Tytuvėnai forest took place in August 1941, but before that, according to witnesses, about 30-40 Jews were taken by carts to Raseiniai and never came back. 15 Jewish men were shot during the first execution in Tytuvėnai forest. The second one took place about a week later, when women, children and the elderly were assembled in the synagogue, then brought to the forest in several trips and shot. Victims had to undress before the execution, while local villagers who were requisitioned to dig waited nearby to cover the bodies. About 160 Jewish women, children and the elderly were shot that day.
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