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Euro-Asian Jewish (EAJ) Policy Papers, No 12 (Feb 10, 2019)
In Memoriam of the Ghetto Minsk: What should be done to know more about the Holocaust in Belarus?

Belarus became the first Soviet republic where the Nazis tested their mechanism of mass murder of the Jews: about 800,000 people (more than 80% of all Belorussian Jews) perished there during 1941-1944. The fate of the Minsk ghetto became a symbol of both the tragedy and the heroism of the Jewish people. The subject was hushed up in USSR, and Belarus was not an exception. Literature on the history of the Holocaust appeared there only after 1991 when the archives were opened and conferences, symposia, and defense of dissertations were allowed. The circulation of the scientific literature on the subject remains scanty, despite the considerable contribution of Belorussian historians during the last 20 years. The former concept of the genocide of the Belorussian people without any emphasis on the peculiar state of the local Jews has been preserved. The history of the Holocaust in Belarus is to be included in the overall history of World War II, but without state financial support it is unachievable.

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Senior Fellow, Center for Diaspora Studies, Tel Aviv University