Brest Ghetto


At the time of the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, about 25,000 Jews lived in Brest. Brest was captured on the first day of operation Barbarossa (as at Brest fort) and the city’s Jews were subordinated to anti-Semitic decrees. At the end of June or early July 1941, about 5,000 Jews were murdered in the suburb of Kotelna by Sonderkommando 7b within Einsatzgruppe B and police battalion 307. In mid-December of 1941, two ghettos were established that were isolated from the outside world and only with special passports could it move between the ghettos. In mid-October 1942, the ghettos were dismantled in Brest and about 20,000 Jews were transported by train to Bronnaya Gora, about ten miles east of Brest, where they were murdered. In the subsequent ghetto clean-up operations, about 4,000 more Jews were found murdered in the ghetto itself.

Current status: Partly preserved/razed with monument (2010).

Location: Central Brest.

Get there: Walk.

My comment:

When you travel out into the world, you always have an idea of how things are, prejudice in other words, and this is something we have been provided with from home. As a Swede, we have been trained to interpret the historical events from a western perspective. These were the interpretations I had with me when I visited countries in the former. Soviet Union for the first time. I was initially of the opinion that Eastern Europe had not interpreted history correctly, that is, the western interpretation. But all because I got in touch with both museums, guides and locals, I began to understand that history (and our own time) can be interpreted from several different perspectives without one being right and the other being wrong. Eastern Europe can also be divided into a west and east where the former satellite states of the Soviet Union and the Baltics represent the west and the former. Soviet union represents east. Then it is actually also possible to divide certain countries into a western and eastern part, among other things. Ukraine. I have also noticed that the war is still very close to people in the former. Soviet Union and not infrequently, the guides become emotional.

Follow up in books: Arad, Yitzhak: Holocaust in the Soviet union (2009).