Paneriai railway tunnel
In 1857, the Russian Empire began the construction of the St. Petersburg–Warsaw railway. The railway reached the territory of Lithuania, which belonged to the Russian Empire at that time, the following year. On 1 January 1859, construction of the Paneriai railway tunnel began. After three years of construction, the length of the tunnel crossing the Paneriai hills was 427 m, height – 6.4 m, width – 8 m. On 5 April 1943, this tunnel was crossed by a set of 60 railway cars bringing several thousand prisoners from the ‘small’ ghettos of Eastern Lithuania (Švenčionys, Ašmena, and Salos) to Paneriai.
The 5th of April, 1943 stands out in the history of the Holocaust in Paneriai for three reasons: it is one of the three cases identified so far when victims were taken to Paneriai by train; it is the only known case where people tried to escape en masse; the mass killing was witnessed by many locals of Paneriai, including the Polish writer Jozef Mackiewicz. In 1945, he wrote a famous essay Paneriai-Base (Ponary-baza) about the events of that day.