Investigating the Trakas Holocaust Mass Execution Site : Subsurface Imaging
Beck, Joseph D.
Schneider, Samuel G.
Fuerstenberg, Madeline M.
Kofman, Chloe C.
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The Trakas-Pempiškis woods, located to the south of Rokiškis, Lithuania, is the site of a mass execution of an estimated 28 Svėdasai Jews in the summer of 1941. During WWII, 95 percent of the Jewish population in Lithuania were killed by the Nazis, Lithuanian militiamen and Nazi sympathizers. The militiamen were of a group known as the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and as the then-Soviet occupied Lithuania awaited the inevitable German invasion of the Soviet Union, LAF used this opportunity to eliminate the Jewish presence in Lithuania under the guise of patriotism and support for the Nazis. According eyewitness accounts, the 28 Jews who were killed at Trakas were brought to the forest in horse-drawn carts. Two eyewitnesses identified two potential locations for the mass grave. In the summer of 2018, an investigation of the subsurface of the two potential burial sites was undertaken. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) was used to examine the stratigraphic layers of each site, and a laser-leveler was used to take topographic measurements at each location. The datasets gathered at Trakas have proven effective, showing indications of what may be a mass grave; just as GPR has done so in past studies of mass burial sites.
Ground penetrating radar
Color poster with text, images, maps, photographs, and graphs.