Jewish Kaunas

Jews are first believed to have arrived in Kaunas at the start of the 15th century, settling according to local law in nearby Slobodka (now Kaunas' Vilijampolė neighbourhood). By the time of the German invasion of 1941 just 6,000 of Kaunas' 30,000 Jews still lived in Slobodka. That summer the Nazis ordered all Jews back to the area, turning it into the notorious Kovno Ghetto, which housed around 40,000 Jews of whom almost all were murdered at the nearby killing fields of the Ninth Fort. Today, an estimated population of less than 1,000 Kaunas Jews still lives in the city. The story of Kaunas' Jews is simply too big to fit here. The following barely starts to scratch the surface.

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