Peres in Lithuania: Ponar Slaughter is a Warning to Us All

On the second and final day of his state visit to Lithuania, President Shimon Peres, escorted by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, visited what is known as the Valley of Slaughter – the Ponar forest where some 100,000 Jews, gypsies, members of the Polish intelligentsia and some Soviet prisoners were mercilessly killed by the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators.

Approximately 70,000 of the murdered victims were Jews, who had been brought to the Ponar forest to be killed following the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto.

Immediately after the official addresses to the large crowd – which included Holocaust survivors and leading figures from the Jewish community headed by Lithuanian Chief Rabbi Chaim Burstein – which gathered by the monument at the entrance to the forest, Peres and Grybauskaite entered accompanied by Holocaust survivor Fania Kalinski. They stopped at the edge of the gorge into which the dead had fallen after being shot.


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