Last Synagogue in Minsk Demolished; 56, 000 Jews Live in City

The last synagogue in Minsk has been razed, the demolition starting without prior notice, while Jews were attending services in the structure, it was reported here today from Moscow.

The worshippers had been expecting the razing of the synagogue, a small wooden structure, to provide room for a new apartment house, for at least a year. But they had not been given any notice of the date and were at services when workman appeared on May 29 to start tearing the building down, according to the report.

There are now about 56, 000 Jews as compared to the 600, 000 who lived there prior to the Nazi occupation of this Soviet City where they annihilated the Jewish population. The Minsk religious Jews reportedly are planning to hold services in apartments, using whatever religious requisites they were able to salvage from the razed synagogue.

The structure, believed to have been centuries old, had become delapidated in recent years. It had been a small part of what once had been a series of synagogue schools and buildings, since converted into apartments. Minsk city officials reportedly asserted that the Jewish community did not ask for another building to replace the razed synagogue, but it was also reported that the Jews made such a request and that the request was rejected.

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