Before the Second World War, Vilnius was known as "Jerusalem of the North," and it was a home for 80,000 Jews for which a special ghetto was made with the arrival of the Nazis. In the area once populated by 4,000 people, suddenly 40,000 had to squeeze. Many were killed in the streets as they moved towards the ghetto.
A figure that particulary sttod out was Franz Murer, the Austrian SS officer, nicknamed "the Butcher of Vilnius", who is considered to have personally killed 5,000 Jews and commanded over 10,000 murders. At the end of the war there were only barely 400 surviving Jews.
Murer was arrested in 1961 in his yard and sent to an investigative prison. The trial against him began in June 1963 in Graz and lasted for only a week. He was freed and died in 1994, in his deep old age, free. In his homeland in Austria, Murer has been celebrated as a national hero, and all of this is brilliantly depicted in the film Murer - Anatomy of a Trial, which is on the programme of the Festival of Tolerance today, at 7 PM at Student Centre cinema. Director Christian Frosch will personally present the film to the audience.