Site where victims were incinerated
Between October 1943 and July 1944, the Sonderaktion 1005A operation was conducted in Paneriai (Ponary). During the action Jews brought from Vilnius and Soviet prisoners of war were ordered to exhume the mass graves of people killed earlier and burn the bodies thus trying to conceal the evidence of the crime. The remains (called “figures” by the Nazis) were exhumed, placed on stretchers and piled into pyramids 4-5 m high. Prior to being splashed with petrol and set alight the remains were inspected to see if there were any gold teeth in their mouths. According to the testimonies of those who carried out the operation, the fires containing about 3,500 exhumed bodies would blaze for 7-10 days; altogether some 54,000 to 68,000 human bodies were burnt. The location of the site was identified in 2015–2019 by the Lithuanian Institute of History and the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum by performing a non-invasive geophysical survey.