The concept: The land with burn scars is the idea pursued by the complex renovation of the Paneriai Memorial in remembrance of all victims of the Holocaust (from the Greek word ὁλόκαυστος, holókaustos, meaning “completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)”) and Nazism.
Paneriai is a small patch of Lithuanian land which witnessed the horrendous crime against humanity in the 20th century. One is speechless upon the comprehension of thousands of innocent victims killed, buried and burnt there. Universally recognisable symbols are to immortalise the victims and to create a realistic and emotionally effective view.
The project aims at marking pits which are the authentic sites of mass killings. Steel paths lead to the pits giving the impression of the land scarred with burns. The paths are interconnected by the Star of David reminding of the stigma of the doomed in the Nazi years.
While the perpetrators were retreating, they wanted to conceal the traces of their crime by burning all the bodies there.
That is why the concept behind the memorial is the image of land burnt in memory of victims, which means that this land would never forget the loss of over a hundred thousand lives.
Steel and cast iron paths have been suggested by the geometry of the Star of David. The path system serves several purposes – to connect the exhibits of the memorial into an interactive exposition, to provide information, to signpost, to exhibit items and some audio, video and photo information about them, to light the area and the exhibits, to mark places of rest. All this creates the environment for comprehension and feeling of the atrocious crimes to humanity perpetrated on this site.
Realisation: The main materials to be used: cast iron and steel (because both are hard and stable and make an allusion to instruments of killing) for the path system; stones to cobble the central square where memorial gatherings will take place. The main façade and the square will bear the inscriptions to immortalise the victims (dates, major events, names, surnames, etc.)