Museum of Genocide Victims

Top choice museum in Vilnius

Image by Ian Trower Getty Images

This former headquarters of the KGB (and before them the Gestapo, Polish occupiers and Tsarist judiciary) houses a museum dedicated to thousands of Lithuanians who were murdered, imprisoned or deported by the Soviet Union from WWII until the 1960s. Back-lit photographs, wooden annexes and a disorienting layout sharpen the impact of past horrors outlined in graphic detail. Most unsettling is the descent to the prison cells and execution yard.

Between 1944 and the 1960s, more than 1000 prisoners were shot or stabbed in the skull here. Messages of despair and defiance from those awaiting execution remain etched into cell walls. Memorial plaques honouring the dead tile the outside of the building.