Investigations at the Heereskraftfahrpark (HKP) 562 Forced-Labor Camp in Vilnius, Lithuania
cultural heritage, geoarchaeology, Heereskraftfahrpark (HKP) 562, Holocaust, near-surface geophysics
This research, examining the site of the HKP Forced-Labor Camp in Vilnius, Lithuania, located and better defined the characteristics and remaining features of the 1944 camp. There were four over-arching objectives for this research. First, to find the entrance into the principal hiding place where Jews interned in the camp took refuge just before the camp’s liquidation by the Nazis and their local collaborators. Next, find the location of the burial trench(es) where Jewish prisoners who were found in hiding were murdered and initially buried. Next, to find the mass-burial site where Jewish survivors reburied the remains from the trench(es). Lastly, to locate any other evidence related to the murder of Jews at the HKP 562 site. Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) found the principal hiding place in the basement of Building 2. Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) discovered the two trenches where camp inhabitants who were shot on-site during liquidation were first buried. ERT also found the location of the mass grave that holds the reburied remains from the trenches. Bullet-scarred walls near the burial trenches indicate where the Jews were shot on-site. This research solved one of the thousands of unknowns about the Holocaust, using geoscience to uncover forgotten and hidden history. The materials and methodologies used in this research can be applied in uncovering this history at thousands of other Holocaust and genocide sites worldwide.
Reeder, P., Jol, H., Freund, R., McClymont, A., Bauman, P., & Šmigelskas, R. (2023). Investigations at the Heereskraftfahrpark (HKP) 562 Forced-Labor Camp in Vilnius, Lithuania. Heritage, 6 (1), 466-482. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage6010024