Between July 1941 and end 1944, 70,000 to 100,000 people were shot by the German occupier on this location.

Most victims were Polish and Lithuanian Jews from nearby Polish and Lithuanian cities, while the rest were primarily Poles (about 20,000, mostly intelligentsia and members of the resistance) and Russians (about 8,000, mostly POW’s). There were also smaller numbers of victims of other nationalities, including local Russians, Roma and Lithuanians.

The Germans tried to cover up the crime. Inmates from nearby Stutthof concentration camp were forced to dig up the bodies, pile them on wood and burn them. The ashes were then mixed with sand and buried. They were aware that they would be executed themselves and they managed to escape on 19 April 1944. Eleven of them managed to survive, and their testimony contributed to revealing the massacre.

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