VII Fort of the Kaunas Fortress

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Archyvo str. 61, Kaunas
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Just like in the 14th century, when the Lithuanians strategized their fights against the German Crusaders, or during the 19th century, when Russian emperor Aleksandras II (Alexander II) was thinking about the immediate future, one of the centres of the governorate, Kaunas City, was given an important role due to its geographical location. A railway bridge, tunnel and new roads were added to the list of advantages of the city at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. On July 7, 1879, a decision was made to surround the city with the ring of fortresses.

The first owner of the VII Fort, which was built between 1883 and 1890, was the 11th company of the Kaunas Fortress Artillery (Imperial Russian Army). The fort is asymmetrical in design, with its right wing similar to a typical design and the left more simplified. The fort is equipped with barracks, a capital traverse with a postern, five ammunition stores and two gunners’ galleries. A distinctive feature is its four casemates dedicated to cannons (resistant facilities of a defence building that can’t be damaged by artillery shells and bombs).

During the First World War the fort was undamaged and subsequently taken over by the Kaiser’s Army without resistance. Later the building became useful to the developing army of independent Lithuania. Already in 1919, a company was established there, which collected weapons, iron and other materials from other objects of the fortress. In 1924, the fort was adapted for the use of the Central State Archive of Lithuania to by the architect Vladimiras Dubeneckis who also designed the city’s Vytautas the Great War Museum. The archive was later moved to the Pažaislis Monastery.

The darkest phase of the history of the VII Fort took place during the Second World War. It was here that the first concentration camp was set up on June 30, 1941, on territory occupied by the Nazis. Until August 10, 1941, between 3,000 to 5,000 people were murdered here, almost all of them Jewish. Later, Soviet prisoners of war were held here.

After the Soviets occupied Lithuania completely, the pioneers looked after the VII Fort for some time, and a military trade division was later established there. Until the restoration of independence, the fort was in a state of significant disrepair.

Until 2007, the National Defence Volunteer Forces were deployed here. In 2009, the fort was privatised and it began to be restored and adapted for modern needs. Today, exhibitions, educational programmes and non-formal education classes take place here. In 2016, a monument to the Jews who died at the site was unveiled on the territory.

VII Fort of the Kaunas Fortress

Archyvo str. 61, Kaunas

Just like in the 14th century, when the Lithuanians strategized their fights against the German Crusaders, or during the 19th century, when Russian emperor Aleksandras II (Alexander II) was thinking about the immediate future, one of the centres of the governorate, Kaunas City, was given an important role due to its geographical location. A railway bridge, tunnel and new roads were added to the list of advantages of the city at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. On July 7, 1879, a decision was made to surround the city with the ring of fortresses.

The first owner of the VII Fort, which was built between 1883 and 1890, was the 11th company of the Kaunas Fortress Artillery (Imperial Russian Army). The fort is asymmetrical in design, with its right wing similar to a typical design and the left more simplified. The fort is equipped with barracks, a capital traverse with a postern, five ammunition stores and two gunners’ galleries. A distinctive feature is its four casemates dedicated to cannons (resistant facilities of a defence building that can’t be damaged by artillery shells and bombs).

During the First World War the fort was undamaged and subsequently taken over by the Kaiser’s Army without resistance. Later the building became useful to the developing army of independent Lithuania. Already in 1919, a company was established there, which collected weapons, iron and other materials from other objects of the fortress. In 1924, the fort was adapted for the use of the Central State Archive of Lithuania to by the architect Vladimiras Dubeneckis who also designed the city’s Vytautas the Great War Museum. The archive was later moved to the Pažaislis Monastery.

The darkest phase of the history of the VII Fort took place during the Second World War. It was here that the first concentration camp was set up on June 30, 1941, on territory occupied by the Nazis. Until August 10, 1941, between 3,000 to 5,000 people were murdered here, almost all of them Jewish. Later, Soviet prisoners of war were held here.

After the Soviets occupied Lithuania completely, the pioneers looked after the VII Fort for some time, and a military trade division was later established there. Until the restoration of independence, the fort was in a state of significant disrepair.

Until 2007, the National Defence Volunteer Forces were deployed here. In 2009, the fort was privatised and it began to be restored and adapted for modern needs. Today, exhibitions, educational programmes and non-formal education classes take place here. In 2016, a monument to the Jews who died at the site was unveiled on the territory.

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