Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

The Holocaust’s Final Act

NPR visits Yatarny, Russia

Print Email
Wikimedia Commons(Wikimedia Commons)

European history buffs already know how fascinating the Russian province of Kaliningrad Oblast is. Sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea—it does not border any other part of Russia; the awesome term for such a thing is an exclave—it had been the German territory of East Prussia until after World War II, when Russia took it over and repopulated it with their own people. Königsberg, the native city of Immanuel Kant and other prominent Germans throughout history, became Kaliningrad. Etcetera.

A brief NPR story reports on another, less-discussed part of East Prussia/Kaliningrad’s history: Its village of Yantarny was the site of arguably the final event of the Holocaust. In January 1945, several days after the liberation of Auschwitz, a group of 7,000 Jews were marched to the Yantarny beach, ordered into the (unimaginably frigid) water, and shot to death.

There is a small memorial recognizing the event at the out-of-the-way beach; even it was not put in place until 2000, because, among other reasons, prevailing Soviet ideology discouraged the singling out of ethnic or religious groups that invariably takes place when you commemorate the Holocaust.

The story is excellent: Give it a listen.

Russian Village Haunted By A Hidden Holocaust Past [NPR]

Print Email

I’m not sure why you’re calling this the last act of the Holocaust. At the same time Jews were being marched into the Reich on the infamous death marches – Elie Wiesel and his father were on one of them. Unfortunately, Jews died until and after the German surrender in May, 1945, as a result of Nazi persecution, so I don’t think we can really speak of one final act of genocide.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Be a Mensch. Support Tablet.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Holocaust’s Final Act

NPR visits Yatarny, Russia

More on Tablet:

Wolf Blitzer Explores His Jewish Roots

By David Meir Grossman — CNN host visits Yad Vashem and Auschwitz for the network’s ‘Roots’ series