Uzipis, a Happy Place
Uzipis (meaning the other side of the river) is a small Bohemian area next to the Vilnia river.
In 1997 it was declared a republic with a flag and its own constitution. This is displayed on a wall near the entrance in nine languages. Independence day is celebrated on the 1st of April.
Of course this conveniently makes for a perfect tourist visit.
The Genocide Museum, a Sad Place
Uzipis is a happy place but the Museum of Genocide Victims in the KGB building is very different.
I have never been anywhere more chilling. I didn’t take many photos.
This building was used by the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of 1941 – 1944. Then it was used by the KGB until independence in 1991 .
You learn the story of the partisans who lived in the woods and about their daily lives.
Also about the exile of so many to the harsh conditions of Siberia.
Then you go to see the prison cells and the torture chamber. There was a cell with a small platform in the middle. I had to read the explanation to understand what it was for. The prisoner had to balance on the platform which was surrounded by icy water . Of course he would soon become too exhausted to keep his balance and fall in to the freezing water. Again and again.
It is hard to understand how human beings could invent these tortures.
Lastly you visit the execution room. The display in the room is outstanding but so chilling you need to leave quickly. Over a thousand men were executed in the room from 1944 until as late as the early 1960’s while we were listening to the Beatles and wearing mini skirts in blissful ignorance.
A Place to Cheer You Up!
An entire room made of chocolate inside the chocolate cafe. Makes everyone feel better!