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Belarusian Jews have been rebuffed in efforts to establish a national Holocaust day.

Jewish organizations have approached government agencies with the idea of establishing a day of memory for Belarusian Jews who perished in the Holocaust, said Leonid Levin, the head of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Associations and Communities.

“Officials tell us that there is no need for a national day of memory because there are several international Holocaust days,” Levin said. “But we are sure that a special day in Belarus is necessary because the tragedy of the Belarusian Jews was really great.”

Approximately 800,000 Jews perished in Belarus during World War II.

Levin noted that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the annihilation of the Minsk ghetto.

“The Belarusian Holocaust day could be established on Oct. 21-23, when the ghetto was annihilated,” he told JTA.

Levin said a memorial day would help to provide more information about the Holocaust in Belarus. “We need a national Holocaust day,” he said, “because people in Belarus and other countries don’t know much about the tragedy that happened here.”

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