PANERIAI: SIXTEEN IDEAS FOR MEMORIAL RECONSTRUCTION
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum hereby presents to the society sixteen architectural ideas developed by Lithuanian and foreign authors in response to the announced international competition for comprehensive rearrangement of Paneriai Memorial.
Paneriai memorial has been erected to mark the place of the biggest “death plant” founded by the Nazis. During the post-war period, thousands of half-burned and mutilated bodies were unearthed there. It was there that the Nazis were killing mothers and children, old people and random civilians (dolls, combs, and other artefacts were excavated there). The new rearrangement projects, covering also the current buildings of Paneriai Memorial, are meant to mark the biggest site of the Nazi occupation regime in Lithuania and to commemorate thousands of civilians who weren’t subjected to forced labour, but fell victims to barbaric killings. It was impossible to escape from Paneriai and only one heroic attempt of the corps burners’ brigade to escape was a success (their story is told at the current Paneriai Memorial).
Paneriai Memorial is of great relevance for both Lithuania and the rest of the civilised world. First of all, it marks the historic end of a cultural phenomenon known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. According to the existing data, as many as a hundred thousand people were killed there.The majority of them were of Jewish origin, including those who fought against Nazism, hostages, prisoners of war and other victims of the Nazi regime.
Second, it is one of the biggest sites of the Nazi crimes known as Holocaust by bullets located to the East from the River Nemunas and the River Bug, and not far from yet another similar site in Ukraine called Babij Yar.
Bearing in mind the importance of instigating humanistic values in modern Europe and the rest of the world, it is absolutely important to make sure that Paneriai Memorial leaves an indelible impression on its visitors, irrespective of where they come from. Thus, with the aim to educate the current and future young generations and to turn Paneriai into a centre of educational tourism of European importance, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and the VGSJM announced an international competition for a design concept to comprehensively rearrange the current memorial, which is morally outdated, by placing emphasis on the authentic details found on the site.
We hereby present the submitted projects to the public at large for their review.
Director of VGSJM
Chairman of the Commission for Evaluation of open design concepts for a comprehensive rearrangement of
Paneriai Memorial to victims of the Holocaust and all victims of Nazism