Minsk Ghetto

The ghetto in Minsk was established in July 1941 and at most there were about 90,000 jews in the ghetto. Minsk ghetto was thus the largest ghetto established by the Nazis on Soviet soil. In november 1941, german and czech jews arrived in the ghetto and this was a big reason why the Einsatzgruppen carried out regular killings against the ghetto’s inhabitants to make room for new arrivals. It was mainly Jews from Hamburg who arrived in Minsk and therefore it was called ”Hamburg ghetto”. The murders led to the formation of a resistance movement in the ghetto. But instead of rebelling against the Germans inside the ghetto, the resistance movement organized opportunities for Jews to escape from the ghetto. Once they had fled the ghetto, several of them joined the partisan units that were in the forests around Minsk. Between 1941 and 1944, about 10,000 Jews fled the ghetto. The area around Minsk was thus directly dangerous for the Germans to move around in. In 1942, 30,000 Jews were deported from the ghetto by police and security forces. Most were murdered in Maly Trostenets east of Minsk. After that murder action there were only about 9,000 Jews left in the ghetto. In october 1943, the ghetto was finally dismantled and destroyed by the germans. The remaining 2,000 Jews were collected and murdered in the Maly Trostenets.

Current status: Monument (2007).

Location: 53°54'35.4"N 27°32'34.1"E

Get there: Bus from central Minsk.

My comment:

The monument (Yama memorial) is located right on the outskirts of what was once the Jewish ghetto. It is set up on the site where about 5,000 Jews were murdered in March 1942. The monument is a sculpture consisting of a group of people who, under dejected and tragic circumstances, wander down into the pit where they are murdered a few minutes later. To what extent there are any houses left in the former ghetto, I do not know.

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