Kailis forced labor camp
Kailis forced labor camp (kailis is Lithuanian for fur) was a Nazi
labor camp for Jews in
Vilnius (pre-war Second Polish Republic,
post-war Lithuanian SSR) during World War II. It was based on a
pre-war fur and leather factory and mostly produced winter clothing
for the German military. At its peak, after the liquidation of the
Vilna Ghetto in September 1943, the camp housed about 1,500 Jews. The
camp was liquidated and its workers executed at Ponary on 3 July 1944,
just ten days before
Red Army captured the city.
2 The "quiet period"
There were several fur and leather workshops and factories in Vilnius,
most of them owned by Jews. After the Soviet occupation in June 1940,
private enterprises were nationalized. The three fur factories Furs,
Nutria,[a] and Ursus were consolidated and merged into one fur
factory. One factory was located behind the
Vilnius Town Hall.[b]
Almost immediately after the German invasion of Russia in June 1941,
the factory was given orders to produce winter clothing for the
Wehrmacht. Its director took measures to protect factory workers
who were mostly Jewish from the atrocities committed in the Vilna
Ghetto and Ponary massacre. For example, on 9 September, the director
successfully petitioned the German administration to dedicate four
houses within the ghetto to workers of Kailis.
On 5 October 1941, the factory was moved to the larger premises of the
evacuated radio receiver factory Elektrit.[c] The move was arranged by
Oscar Glik, an Austrian Jew who managed to obtain
and later, in effect, became director of the factory. At the time,
the factory had 448 workers. Together with family members (a total of
about 800–1,000 people), they lived in two large buildings at the
factory site.[d] It was a relatively safe place; the workers were
one of the first to receive work permits (known as yellow Schein) that
protected them from Aktions – round ups for executions at Ponary.
Ghetto inhabitants considered Kailis workers as "privileged" and
The "quiet period"
A sample miniature fur jacket produced at Kailis
On 18 January 1942, the factory suffered a major fire. The cause is
not entirely clear. According to Abraham Sutzkever, it was a sabotage
Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje
Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje (FPO), but Isaak Kowalski
stated that it was an accident. During the investigation, Germans
discovered that Glik was a Jew and executed him and his wife.
In May 1942, Germans conducted a census in the Generalbezirk Litauen
of the Reichskommissariat Ostland. The census counted 1,016 people
from 348 families at Kailis. 1942 was the "quiet period" which
provided an opportunity to establish some cultural life at the camp.
The Jews established a school for children, a small library, sports
competitions. The camp had its own Jewish police and clinic.
In August–September 1943,
Vilna Ghetto was liquidated and only the
Kailis and HKP 562 forced labor camps and two other small groups[e]
remained in the city. The population of Kailis swelled up. Many
Jews used the camp as a temporary refuge before finding a better
hideout or joining the
Jewish partisans in the forests. According to
Yitzhak Arad, about 600 Jews passed through the camp. On 15
Bruno Kittel conducted a thorough inspection of the camp and
executed about 30 Jews who could not account for their presence at the
camp. The inspections were carried out a few more times. In
November, Kailis received a new commander, SS-man Richter. He
instituted a greater control of the camp and compiled a list of its
residents. The list contained about 1,350 names, though another 100 or
so were too afraid to register.
On 27 March 1944, the camp's children under age 16 were rounded up in
an operation commanded by Martin Weiss. They were taken to the train
station; their further fate is not known. Without a concrete
evidence of their fate, various rumors spread. The Black Book
published a testimony that the children were taken to
they were used as blood and skin donors for injured German
soldiers. On 20 April, 80 workers from Kailis were taken to Ponary
to exhume and burn corpses according to the Sonderaktion 1005. On 3
July 1944, remaining workers of Kailis were rounded up, transported to
Ponary, and executed. In total, about 2,000–2,500 Jews from various
camps were executed in Ponary that day.
^ Nutria was located in Paupys district (present-day Paupio street
^ The building is located on the corner of Didžioji st. and Etmonų
st. Before 2011, it had a dual address of Didžioji st. 29 and Etmonų
st. 1. In Polish, the street was known as ulica Hetmańska.
Elektrit was located at present-day Ševčenkos street. In 1941, it
was Mortos Mindaugienės street. Before that it was named after
Stanisław Szeptycki (ulica Generała Szeptyckiego).
^ The two blocks were at M. Mindaugienės st. 7/8 and M. Mindaugienės
^ The first was about 70 Jewish working at a military hospital in
Antakalnis and the second was about 60 Jews working for the
^ "Istorija" (in Lithuanian). AB "Vilniaus kailiai". 2010. Archived
from the original on 3 February 2003.
^ Žiugžda, Juozas (1972). Vilniaus miesto istorija nuo Spalio
revoliucijos iki dabartinių dienų (in Lithuanian). Mintis.
p. 130. OCLC 551459086.
^ "Dėl adresų (Panevėžio g. 14/a. Jaroševičiaus g. 22 ir kt.)
keitimo Vilniaus miesto savivaldybėje, Naujininkų seniūnijoje.
Įsakymas Nr. A30-120" (in Lithuanian).
Vilnius City Municipality. 25
January 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ Shevelev, Igor (2007). Улицы Вильнюса. О
Вильнюсе (in Russian). Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Guzenberg, Irina (2 July 2008). "Vilniaus geto
darbo stovyklos ir 1942 m. gyventojų surašymas" (in Lithuanian). The
Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ Regelskis, Dalius (3 March 2015). "Slaptos T. Ševčenkos loftų
istorijos" (in Lithuanian). Mano namai. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ a b c d e f g Bubnys, Arūnas (2011). "Vilniaus žydų žudynės ir
Vilniaus getas". Holokaustas Lietuvoje 1941-1944 m (in Lithuanian).
Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimų centras.
pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-609-8037-13-5.
^ a b Arad, Yitshak (1980). Ghetto in Flames: The Struggle and
Destruction of the Jews in Vilna in the Holocaust. Jerusalem: Yad
Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. pp. 158, 443.
^ Ehrenburg, Ilya; Grossman, Vasily (2009). Patterson, David, ed. The
Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry (4th ed.). Transaction
Publishers. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-7658-0543-0.
The Holocaust in Lithuania
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See also: Songs of the Vilna Ghetto
See also: List of Lithuanian Righteous Among the Nations
Lithuanian Security Police
Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje
Kaunas June 1941
Kaunas 29 October 1941
Ninth Fort November 1941
HKP 562 forced labor camp
Kailis forced labor camp
Lithuania by Nazi Germany
History of the