CEMETERIES AND MASS GRAVES | POLITICS OF MEMORY | LITVAK AFFAIRS
by Julius Norwilla
The Holocaust Mass Grave Site
The best way to reach the mass killing site in Garliava (Yiddish Gúdleve, Polish Godlewo), is to take a train from the central train station in Kaunas. It is just one stop. The railway runs south, through a picturesque valley of the languid river Jiesia. Garliava is a township historically in the Suwałki region. It is named after an ancient landlord and noble family Godlewski. It seems that twentieth century ethnic purity zealots renamed the township into Garliava to sever any obvious link to the personage commemorated by the town’s naming, thereby reducing the historical chronicle of the entire region to a narrow and assertively ethnonationalist narrative
When you step out of the old railway station in Garliava, the town itself is still one kilometer away. The train line and the station were built in 1862, and one can wonder, what the point was, with the then cutting-edge train technology of the time, to make a long detour around the town and build the station somewhere in the middle of the fields, or as one might put it, right in the middle of nowhere?