Paneriai (Ponar)
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228 reviews
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52
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Richard L
Freethorpe, UK9 contributions
Jul 2021
I was aware of the history of this place before my visit to Vilnius. To fullu appeciate what happened there i suggest you use the services of a local guide.
We used Ema (jewishguidelithuania@gmail.com) who has great local knowledge and is an excellent communicator.
Written July 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Culture24821
Brussels, Belgium1 contribution
In 1941 the fleeing Red Army left oil storage pits here, 10 km from Vilnius. Over the next few months 100,000 men, women and children, 70,000 Jews, were lined up around the pits and shot, one layer at a time, by the Nazis and their Lithuanian helpers. The pits are still quite visible and the memorial site, in a peaceful forest glade, hauntingly beautiful. The museum was supposed to be open when we were there but it was not. Take a Trakai bound train to Paneriai (the Vilnius tourist office has the times). The trip is about 20 minutes. There are no signs there to the memorial. Exit the station and turn right, walking down the road about 1 km; the road ends at the memorial site.
Written July 23, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DonPaulus
Syracuse, New York1 contribution
Take the train from Vilnius to Panerai, cost about a dollar and after getting off the train turn right and walk about a kilometer down to the memorial. There are no signs and the people speak Lithuanian not English. But, there is only one road down and it is parallel to the railroad tracks. The memorial is well laid out and very carefully maintained. It is so quiet and so mysteriously beautiful that I was quite stunned at the horrors that took place there sixty plus years ago. Remains of the pits still remain where Jews and others were shot and then buried by the Nazis and their Lithuanian helpers. The museum mentioned above was closed when I was there in late October. So were the buildings (forts) where the prisoners were temporarily held. Still, I was the only visitor at the time so it doesn't make sense economically to keep these places open. One of the most moving holocaust sites I have ever visited.
Written November 7, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marko Z
6 contributions
Aug 2020
The Paneriai memorial park has different monuments for the victims of the nazi regime. You will see the death pits where people were killed and monuments not only for the jews but for the Polish people and even for the Romas. But we went there with a guide and the guide is necessary to get an idea of what actually happened there. It's nice to just walk around in the area, but alone, you might miss out on the importance of this place.
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

traveliz
70 contributions
Paneriai would be on my "must see" list for Vilnius. It has not gotten easier to find or more well advertised. Unlike the tour bus crowded streets of Old Town, we found ourselves alone and wondering if there was really anything there after leaving the train.
It was an easy train ride and an easy walk to the site itself.... just keep walking down the road in the direction the train is traveling in and you will get there. The museam was actually open and reading the testimony of survivors and townspeople who listened to the shootings and smelled the burnings was terrifying. The pits themselves are haunting. I felt very strongly that no trip to Vilnius would be complete without seeing and attempting to understand this part of it's history. Fully 1/2 of the city of Vilnius was murdered here. Imagine, 1/2 of the city! How is it that this memorial is still so difficult to find? Why aren't all the tour busses visiting it????? If we don't learn from our history, we repeat it over and over.
Written September 23, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Paula Griffin
London, UK885 contributions
You can take a tour bus here, personally if regard this as journey of remembrance take the train out of Vilnius and walk the rutted track to the memorials and contemplate what awaits you. The train costs peanuts and gets you there in next to no time. The walk, though along an unmade road, should be doable for most and is a lot more straightforward than the Lonely Planet directions suggested! No signposts there so keep walking until you reach a coach park with a carved stone sign. I arrived there in a shower that seemed to cleanse the air. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when the museum was closed but being the only one there at the time of arrival, it would have seemed churlish to expect the chap who looks after it to be on duty just for me. The memorials are haunting but it is the simple, now mostly grassed over, pits where a 100,000 (at a conservative estimate) of Vilnius Polish and Jewish citizens where murdered, only to be dug up later as the Allies approached by prisoners who were given the gruesome task of burning the evidence of these crimes. Those prisoners were forced to sleep in one of the pits as they carried out their task. Fortunately the perpetrators failed to erase the crime. As I walked around the site, I heard the sounds of a Jewish lament floating through the woods as I realised I was no longer alone. Not the ghosts of the past but a coach party though surely one of the most heartrending experiences of my life.
Maybe Lithuanian embarrassment at their own collaborators active involvement in such a hideous crime still haunts them, which is why this site could be so poorly publicised but take time to pay your respects at Paneriai and remember those who have no one to remember them.
Written May 26, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Benamard
Rehovot, Israel2,530 contributions
Oct 2019 • Family
Walking through the forest with my family, 3rd and 4th generation of holocaust survivors, looking at the murder pits, seeing our shadows against the pit, all while hearing the trains whistle in the background sent shivers down my spine. Never forget!
Written October 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

246Gramps
Asheville, NC88 contributions
Oct 2017 • Couples
The small museum is a must stop with photos and videos of locals talking about the times when Jews were stripped and shot. The remains were then exhumed and destroyed to limit evidence of the massacres. Walking through the green forest calms your disbelief at the reality of history. You wonder what we have learned.
Written November 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

simmondsi
Darmstadt, Germany760 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
The history is of course horrific - 100,000 murdered here, mostly jews, by the nazis. We visited on a Sunday in August and unfortunately the small museum was closed. Oddly our small group were the only visitors, which gave us the feeling this was an under-visited location. If you're in Vilnius, be sure to book a day trip to Trakai that includes a stop here.

If you found my review helpful, I'd appreciate your vote.
Written August 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rosemary W
Warminster, UK237 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
This was the site of one o the first massacres of the Holocaust - in the summer of 1941 Soviet Prisoners of War , Jewish men, women and children from the Vilnius Ghetto were brought into th forest - separated and shot by the Nazi's. the labour camps were emptied , the Jews forced into trucks and driven into the forest for execution. More than 2,000 Jews were murdered in a period of 2 days. In 1944ma Special State Commission determined that more than 100,000 people were killed in Paneria - approx. 70,000 were Jews - others were Lithuanian soldiers, gypsies, resistance fighters, Soviet POW's, communists and Catholic Priests.

The forest today is a beautiful and tranquil place with memorials to the victims. there is a large car park, a walking trail, a small museum with a curator who will tell the story and basic toilet facilities.
Written September 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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