Truth – Legends / Action in the Small Ghetto
The Jews in the ghetto did not know what had befallen those who were taken to the Ninth Fort. They failed to understand how it was possible to kill so many human beings just because they were Jews, particularly when a war was being fought and everyone was needed for the war effort – why should people be murdered instead of exploiting them for work? This seemed to be utterly illogical. Actually, the Jews were reluctant to dwell on such matters as murder, death, victims.
Thursday, October 2, SA Captain Fritz Jordan, commander of the ghetto, and the adviser to the municipality on Jewish matters, and the Lithuanian Kaminskas arrived in the little ghetto. They stood for quite a while outside the hospital for contagious diseases. On Friday, October 3, the word was going round that on the next day, Saturday, the Germans would conduct an action in the small ghetto.
One no longer had the strength or patience to hear about sickness in the ghetto. People were becoming completely confused trying to guess what was going to happen next. All they hoped for was that it would not end like the fable about the shepherd and the wolves.
Saturday, October 4. From Broliu Street, adjoining the square, one could see what was happening in the small ghetto. At the same time, groups of armed Germans from the third company of the police and Lithuanian “partisans” from the first police battalion, arrived on the spot. They surrounded the small ghetto and began to evacuate the Jews from their homes and drive them towards Sajungos Square. There they were classified and sorted out by Captain Alfred Tornbaum and Lithuanian Air Force Major Kazys Shimkus. Those who possessed Captain Jordan’s artisan's certificates or documents from any workplace were assigned to one place together with their families. The remainder was expelled under heavy guard to Zemaiciu Road, towards the Ninth Fort. During the sorting process, the Germans set fire to the hospital for contagious diseases after bolting the windows and locking the doors, so that none of the patients or the doctors and personnel could escape. Sixty patients and the entire medical staff were burnt alive. The patients from the general hospital, Jews from old-age homes and the children from the orphanage were all brought to the Ninth Fort in trucks which were awaiting them for this purpose.
On October 4, 1941, 1608 Jews were murdered in the Ninth Fort: 412 men, 615 women and 581 children.