Moscow – Russian and German officials gathered Sunday in the Baltic Sea coastal town of Yantarnyy to mark the 65th anniversary of one of the last crimes of the Holocaust, the murder of 3,000 Nazi concentration camp inmates. Some 100 people placed flowers and candles at the site located in what at the time had been the German enclave of Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad, to recall the bloodbath of January 31, 1945.
German Consul General Aristide Fenster in remarks said it was Germany’s moral obligation never to let such horrors become forgotten.
The massacre took place on the beach at what was then called Palmnicken in then-East Prussia, when SS death squads shot to death the 3,000 inmates – most of them young Jewish women from Poland and Hungary. Only 21 people survived.
After the war, the massacre went unmentioned for decades until a former resident of Yantarnyy broke the silence and wrote a book on it, creating a furor.
Yantarnyy is famous for its wealth of bernsteins which are mined in an open-pit mine.
The re-established Jewish community of Yanarnyy, which has been marking the massacre anniversary since the end of the 1990s, has complained that local officials have tried to thwart remembrance of the crime because they want to develop the coastal town for tourism.