Žemaitija (Samogitia) is the western region of Lithuania with its own dialect, history and culture. It’s also where the mass murder of Jews in Lithuania began.
The onset of the Holocaust in Lithuania hasn’t been sufficiently researched. Mostly, myths still abound. Lithuanian propaganda talks much of an “uprising,” placing significance on one set of mass murders, while simultaneously suppressing the slaughter of Jews by Lithuanians. Truth and facts are needed. Here is a start:
As far as is known, the first mass-shooting of Jews in Lithuania was in Gargždai on June 24, 1941. Some claim these were the first such massacres of Jews in Europe, but the truth seems to be that there were similar episodes earlier in Poland after the 1939 invasion.
In Gargždai the total extermination of the Jews of Lithuania began in what is now known as the “Holocaust by Bullets”. Two hundred men and one woman were shot on June 24 in Gargždai. Stahlecker, the commander of Einsatzgruppe A, issued the orders for this mass murder. The RSHA (ReichsSicherheitsHauptAmt, or Supreme Reich Security Department) confirmed his orders on June 23. Tilsit, East Prussia, Gestapo commander Hans Joachim Böhme planned the mass murder operation and Tilsit SD commander Werner Hersmann carried it out.
Perpetrators of the mass murder in Gargždai:
Tilsit Gestapo commander Hans Joachim Böhme;
Tilsit SD commander Werner Hersmann;
Memel/Klaipėda chief of police Dr. Erich Frohwann;