Encyclopedia

Swieciany

(Svencionys) is a small town in eastern Lithuania north-east of Vilna. A small ghetto was located there. The ghetto was liquidated April 4, 1943. The people were told that they were being resettled in either the Vilna or the Kovno ghettos.

The train with the Jews of Swieciany was detained at the Vilna depot while murder operations proceeded with the Jews of Sol. Then the train went to Ponary. When Swieciany Jews found themselves at Ponary they realized that they had been tricked. They burst out of the cattle cars and began to run away. Others violently resisted the German and Lithuanian guards with bare hands, with knives and with a few pistols. The guards fired into the crowd. They ordered the train to move and many were crushed beneath the wheels.

Some 600 people were killed at the railroad depot at Ponary. There were casualties among the German and Lithuanian guards. That day altogether 4,000 people were killed at Ponary. A few escaped back into the Vilna ghetto.

In April 1943, a report to the Reich Security Headquarters in Berlin stated that Swieciany was in an area, 35 by 65 miles, which was completely purged of Jews. "About 4,000 received special treatment at Ponary on April 5, 1943..."

There had been a partisan group in Swieciany whose members were mostly young men. It has been stated that the incident involving the revolt of the Swieciany Jews would not have taken place if it were not for the partisans.


Source: Arad, Ghetto In Flames.



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