The ‘Museum of Genocide Victims’ was established in the former KGB building where plans for deportations and the arrests of peaceful inhabitants, the persecution of opponents and the suppression of the resistance were devised and carried out by Soviet institutions between 1940 and 1991. For the Lithuanian nation, this building is a powerful symbol of the 50-year-long Soviet occupation.
This recent history is now taught in Lithuanian schools from the 5th to 12th grade and the Museum has been active in developing material that contributes to this learning and to the mapping of these events in a way that also integrates history with other important subjects such as geography and religion.
The Museum building, now a place of openness and exchange, of participation and interaction, encourages visitors and schoolchildren to learn through experience and to develop their own insights.
Learning and engaging in a building which has such a direct connection to this previously suppressed history enables participants to understand the ‘historical facts’ in a very direct and powerful way. The Museum itself is innovative in its approach to display with for example glass display cases embedded in the floor in some sections so that visitors walk about above artifacts belonging to those murdered in the building. The Museum of Genocide Victims, as well as other museums in Lithuania, gathers material (people donate their/their relatives’ things), material that reflects the physical and spiritual forms of genocide performed by the Soviet occupiers against the Lithuanian inhabitants, demonstrates the methods and extent of resistance to the occupying regime, and commemorates genocide victims and freedom fighters.
The Museum focuses on a specific dark period of Europe’s History and exposes an attempt to erase individuals from history.
The Museum of Genocide Victim: www.genocid.lt/muziejus/en/