In eastern Lithuania there is a small town called Kretinga (german Crottingen). The city was only about twenty kilometres from the German-Soviet border when Germany attacked the Soviet union in June 1941. On June 24, Kretinga was captured by the Germans. The city became one of the first cities to be affected by the actions of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen. The area where Kretinga is located fell under the operational area of Einsatzgruppe A, but even before the ”official” murder of the Kretinga Jews began, pogroms were carried out by Lithuanian nationalists. The pogroms were an expression of revenge against Soviet rule. On June 28, the first executions of about 200 Jews from Kretinga were carried out in an area west of Kretinga called Prysmanciai. The Germans used deep tank ditches as execution sites and mass graves. Other Jews were imprisoned and locked in the Kretinga synagogue. A few days later, a fire broke out in the synagogue. Jews were convicted of the fire and more than sixty Jews were murdered in Prysmanciai. 120 Jews were murdered at the Jewish cemetery, but it was in Prysmanciai that most of the Kretinga Jews were murdered. Initially, only Jewish men were murdered, but in September the remaining 120 older men, women and children were murdered by Lithuanian voluntary units. In addition to Jews from Kretinga, Jews from the nearby towns of Palanga and Gargzdai were also murdered in Prysmanciai. A total of 700 Jews were murdered and buried in Prysmanciai. The Jewish population of Kretinga was wiped out in just a few months.

Current status: Monument (2009).

Location: 55°53'38.98"N 21°12'32.37"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Prysmanciai is not one of the major execution sites, but places like Prysmanciai are found all over Eastern Europe.

Follow up in books: Gordon, Harry: The Shadow of Death: The Holocaust in Lithuania (2008).