Jews in Minsk Massacred for Refusing to Expose Leaders of Underground Movement

Nearly half of the 1,500 Jews who remained in Minsk – the remnants of a pre-war Jewish population of 80,000 – were murdered by the Nazis during the last week of January, this year, it was disclosed here today by Byelo-Russian guerrillas who were sent to Moscow to recuperate from wounds suffered in battling the Nazi occupation forces.

Early in January, these partisan fighters report, the German authorities summoned the oldest Jews in the Minsk ghetto and told them that the Gestapo had received information that underground activity was being carried on there. Unless the persons who were active in organizing anti-Nazi resistance and in recruiting members for guerrilla bands were exposed, the entire Jewish population would suffer, the Nazi commander said. At the same time the “Minsk Gazatte,” published by the Germans in the Byelo-Russian language, urged the non-Jewish population of the city to emulate the example of other “liberated towns,” and wipe out the ghetto and all its residents.

These threats, however, were unavailing, the guerrillas said, and consequently on January 25 a group of Gestapo men broke into the ghetto and opened machinegun fire at random. Hundreds of Jews were killed. Those who remain, numbering less than a thousand, live in constant dread that they, too, will soon be massacred, since the Germans have been unable to capture the leaders of the underground movement.

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