IX Fort of the Kaunas Fortress

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Žemaičių rd. 75, Kaunas
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Until 1890, according to the original plan of the Kaunas Fortress confirmed by Tsar Aleksandras II (Alexander II), the city was surrounded by a ring of eight forts and nine batteries. As soon as the work was completed and war was inevitable, it was necessary to rethink the concept of the fortress. In 1903, near Kumpė village, the construction of the IX Fort, which took a decade to complete, began.

The new fort was built according to an 1897 design by professor Velička, and was the most modern of all the forts that were completed. Its fortifications were made of concrete and electric lighting was installed. During the First World War the fort was hardly damaged, and in 1915 it was taken over by the Kaiser’s Army.

After the establishment of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania and the subsequent shortage of prison space, the IX Fort was taken over by the Ministry of Justice. Criminal, political and administratively punished prisoners were held here and engaged in agricultural work. Most of the prisoners at the time were members of the Lithuanian Communist Party.

In 1940, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union for the first time, the NKVD took over the management of the IX Fort. Prisoners were sent here from all over the country and were eventually sent to the Gulag, the network of forced labour camps inside the Soviet Union. During the summer of 1941, the Germans took control of the fort. Between October 1941 and the second Soviet invasion of the city in August 1944, the IX Fort was used as a place of mass murder. It’s estimated that some 50,000 people from Lithuania, Austria, Poland, France, the Soviet Union and Germany lost their lives at the site.

In 1959, the Museum of Revolution History was established at the IX Fort, and investigations into the Nazi massacres began the next year. A memorial was planned, and a contest was arranged for its design. Now one of the main symbols of the city, the winning monument was designed by Alfonsas Vincentas Ambraziūnas, Gediminas Baravykas and Vytautas Vielius and was unveiled in 1983. The memorial-monument, commemorating the victims of Nazism, stands at 32 metres high and is composed of three sculptural groups. It’s one of the largest memorials in Europe, and one of the most recognisable signs of contemporary Kaunas.

After the restoration of independence, new exhibitions were arranged at the museum exhibiting the crimes against humanity committed by both the Nazis and the Soviets. Regular events, commemorations, films screenings and meetings are held at the fort.

IX Fort of the Kaunas Fortress

Žemaičių rd. 75, Kaunas

Until 1890, according to the original plan of the Kaunas Fortress confirmed by Tsar Aleksandras II (Alexander II), the city was surrounded by a ring of eight forts and nine batteries. As soon as the work was completed and war was inevitable, it was necessary to rethink the concept of the fortress. In 1903, near Kumpė village, the construction of the IX Fort, which took a decade to complete, began.

The new fort was built according to an 1897 design by professor Velička, and was the most modern of all the forts that were completed. Its fortifications were made of concrete and electric lighting was installed. During the First World War the fort was hardly damaged, and in 1915 it was taken over by the Kaiser’s Army.

After the establishment of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania and the subsequent shortage of prison space, the IX Fort was taken over by the Ministry of Justice. Criminal, political and administratively punished prisoners were held here and engaged in agricultural work. Most of the prisoners at the time were members of the Lithuanian Communist Party.

In 1940, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union for the first time, the NKVD took over the management of the IX Fort. Prisoners were sent here from all over the country and were eventually sent to the Gulag, the network of forced labour camps inside the Soviet Union. During the summer of 1941, the Germans took control of the fort. Between October 1941 and the second Soviet invasion of the city in August 1944, the IX Fort was used as a place of mass murder. It’s estimated that some 50,000 people from Lithuania, Austria, Poland, France, the Soviet Union and Germany lost their lives at the site.

In 1959, the Museum of Revolution History was established at the IX Fort, and investigations into the Nazi massacres began the next year. A memorial was planned, and a contest was arranged for its design. Now one of the main symbols of the city, the winning monument was designed by Alfonsas Vincentas Ambraziūnas, Gediminas Baravykas and Vytautas Vielius and was unveiled in 1983. The memorial-monument, commemorating the victims of Nazism, stands at 32 metres high and is composed of three sculptural groups. It’s one of the largest memorials in Europe, and one of the most recognisable signs of contemporary Kaunas.

After the restoration of independence, new exhibitions were arranged at the museum exhibiting the crimes against humanity committed by both the Nazis and the Soviets. Regular events, commemorations, films screenings and meetings are held at the fort.

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