Monday, June 6, 2016. Today we accomplished a daring air photo reconnaissance, flying a drone from inside the walls, and over a prison in the beautiful city of Vilnius, Lithuania. Alistair McClymont and I are in Lithuania from June 4 through June 18. We are carrying out geophysical surveys in and around Vilnius at various sites connected to the Holocaust and the liquidation of the estimated 70,000 Jews in the Vilnius Ghetto. Today, we carried out geophysical and aerial photographic surveys in an attempt to locate the grave of the controversial Jewish chief of police of the Jewish police force of the Vilnius Ghetto, Jacob Gens. Of greater historical interest than the burial itself is the account of a cigar box full of personal documents buried alongside Gens. As few of the 70,000 inhabitants of the Ghetto survived the Gestapo ordered liquidation of September 23, 1943, contemporary documentation from the Ghetto administrators are valuable historic resources.
NOVA`s Lithuanian sound man, Vitus, is part of a film crew that is documenting our work in Vilnius, and in the outskirts of nearby Ponary where 100,000 people were murdered and buried in massive pits. Having been in Vilnius less than 24 hours, and knowing very few words of Lithuanian, I am still struggling to distinguish between graffiti and the abundant, creative street art that is everywhere in the City.
An eye witness account reported that Jacob Gens was shot and buried inside the Rasu Prison wall. Here, Alastair McClymont is collecting one of two electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and induced polarization (IP) lines we collected to assist in locating the burial. The concept is that the grave itself will change the resistivity of the ground by perhaps increasing pore space and moisture content. The IP is intended to identify small pieces of metal like, say, a cigar box in which Jacob Gens`s personal documents were stored and buried. Metal dectors, of course, are great tools for finding small pieces of buried metal, but not at the depth at which Gens was likely buried.