Over 800 Jews were brought to Lithuania from France in May of 1944 – they were told they would have to work but some were murdered in Kaunas and the rest were taken to Estonia.
“They were our fathers, our brothers, our uncles, our cousins,” said Louise Cohen, one of pioneers of the trips, said at the event in Kaunas.
“We thank you for helping in the path of memory. Those who are present here today will probably come back in two years. If we do not come, our children or grandchildren will take over our duty,” Louise Cohen, one of pioneers of the trips, said at the event in Kaunas.
The families of the victims usually come to Lithuania once every two years to commemorate the killings.
She said the fate of these people was only discovered after the three Baltic states regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1990s.
Gercas Zakas, the chairman of the Jewish community of Kaunas, emphasized that Jews of Lithuania understood the pain of the French nationals, as nearly all Jewish population was annihilated in Lithuania during the Holocaust.
“I can say that the tragic face of people unites our countries – Lithuania and France,” said Zakas.
He said the French people coming to Lithuania were a superb example of honouring and remembering the victims of the Holocaust.