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As part of the pogroms and murder of the Kaunas (Kovno) Jews that Lithuanians carried out independently during the first ten days of the German invasion, the Lithuanian Partisan headquarters, led by the murderer Jurgis Bobelis, organized the biggest massacre carried out until then in Lithuania. During one week Lithuanians kidnapped more than seven thousand Jews from streets and homes, taking them to the Seventh Fort in Kaunas where they underwent extreme torture before all were murdered, except for thirty men who had been volunteers in the Lithuanian War of Independence.
Murder of thousands at the 7th Fort
Between ten and twelve thousand Jews were caught in the partisans’ net during the wave of mass arrests in Kaunas. They were taken from the assembly points to a military stockade known as the “7th Fort located near a suburb called the “Green Mountain.”
Only a few individuals who paid ransom or used deception managed to escape the inferno. The rest, mainly men but also women and children, were held at the fort. Women and children were held in the barracks while the men had to camp out in the open.
Prisoners were subjected to inhumane treatment prior to their execution. The slightest “misdemeanor” was punishable by death at short notice. Male inmates, suffering daily under the sweltering summer heat, were forced to lie down and forbidden to move or talk with one another. Any prisoner who raised his head or tried to move into a more comfortable position was immediately shot by patrolling partisans. Some prisoners, unable to stand the thirst any longer, persuaded their guards to allow them access to a nearby tap. On their return they were shot for “attempting to escape.”
To make them immune to any sense of compassion, the camp guards were deliberately given ample rations of alcohol, which ensured that many of them remained permanently intoxicated.
(Read the testimony of Mr. Nementschik at " "Lithuania, Crime & Punishment" issue #7)
The deadly Basketball game.
While Jews were being kidnapped and brought to the Seventh Fort, a basketball game was held in Kaunas (Kovno) between selected Lithuanian stars, most of whom belonged to the official European champion Lithuanian basketball team, and a group from the invading German Army. Of course the Lithuanians won. As a prize the winning managers chose to grant the players the right to kill Jews. Immediately after the game the players were brought to the Seventh Fort for the reward of shooting ten Jews each.
For the full acount see article: "The Basketball Game & Murderous Prize (from an eyewitness account)" In the section "Crime and Punishment #7 part 1"
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