Mass killing pit
According to the data of the Special Soviet Commission that examined the area of mass killings in August 1944, up to 12,000 people could have been shot to death in this 34 m diameter. pit Next to the pit, there were two special sites and three places for bonfires to burn corpses. Members of the Nazi-assembled ‘burning brigade’ (Sonderkommando 1005A) who performed exhumation work from the end of 1943 onwards, testified to the Commission that the sand excavated from this pit was mixed with the ashes of burnt remains with visible bone residues. The Commission discovered 27 bodies near the pit that had not been burnt.
In the course of implementing the project on the architectural arrangement of the territory of the Paneriai Memorial, a commemoration stone was erected in this pit in 1985 with the inscription (in Lithuanian and Russian): ‘Corpses exhumed from mass killings sites were burned here’. The inscription is not entirely accurate, because exhumed human bodies were not burned in the pits but taken from the pits to bonfires which were up to 4-5 m. high Subsequently, the victims’ ashes were spread back into the pit or mixed with sand near the pit.
Most of the relief features around the pit were destroyed by the Nazis when they were erasing traces of the mass killings in 1943–1944.