President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President at the commemoration of the Great Action: we have a moral duty to speak up for those who have lost their voice

2021-10-28

On Thursday, President Gitanas Nausėda participated in a civic procession and commemoration to remember and pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust who were killed during the Great Action.

The President joined the participants in the procession who walked in silence along the road where almost 10,000 Jews had been forced to go and meet their death at the Kaunas Ninth Fort eighty years ago.

According to Gitanas Nausėda, by commemorating the tragic consequences of the Great Action, we link hundreds of places in Lithuania together along a symbolic road of memory, through which the bloody trace of the history of pain stretches.

“By being here, we have a better understanding of a catastrophe whose true scale can never be measured. A catastrophe that mercilessly took the lives of Jews in countless towns and cities in Lithuania and other countries,” the President said at the commemoration ceremony at the Kaunas Ninth Fort memorial complex.

Gitanas Nausėda urged to remember those who, even in the darkest hour, did not get lost and chose courage and generosity, and those who, even after surviving the horrors of the massacre, were able to spread the love of neighbor throughout their lives.

According to the President, Stefanija Ladigienė was one of thousands of these bright people. During the war, she took in a girl – Irena Veisaitė – who survived the Great Action. Professor Irena Veisaitė, a woman of great memory, bore witness with her life not only to what we have preserved, but also to what we have lost in the Holocaust. 

“Irena Veisaitė said that it took two soldiers with submachine guns to kill 1,000 people, but it took the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of many people to save one person. I wish us to be many people – for the sake of the few. May humanity and compassion be with us always and may the Catastrophe never happen again,” Gitanas Nausėda said.

The Great Action was the largest massacre of the Kaunas Ghetto population in 1941, on the eve of which the Gestapo selected almost 10,000 Jews for death. Eighty years ago, on October 29, large families, physically weak persons, the elderly, and the sick were murdered at the Kaunas Ninth Fort. 

The commemoration of the Great Action is part of the national project The Road of Memory 1941-2021 dedicated to commemorating the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust in Lithuania.

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2021.10.28 15:56

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