Belarus Jews commemorate ghetto raid

Jews in Belarus held a three-day memorial for victims of an SS raid on the Brest ghetto.

German SS troops razed a ghetto in this town on the border with Poland in the fall of 1942, killing 26,000 of its 34,000 residents, among 50 thousand Jews killed during Germany’s four- year of occupation of this westernmost republic of the then Soviet Union.

Israel’s Ambassador in Belarus, Zeev Ben-Arie, representatives of Polish Consulate General, the Byelorussian Union of Jewish Communities and other public organizations took part in the commemorations this week.

The Brest ghetto was the largest in Byelorussia. Byelorussian Jews who managed to escape from ghettos created guerilla units and fought against the German occupation. After the war ended, the chief commander of Jewish units, Tuvia Belski, emigrated to the United States. He died in 1986 and was buried in Jerusalem.

Also this week, 15 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery were vandalized in the Byelorussian town of Bobruysk. Anti-Semitic graffiti was painted on the gates of the cemetery along with a swastika.

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