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Yama Memorial (Minsk, Republic of Belarus)

Out of the 2.5 million Belarusian citizens who died during World War II, more than 800,000 were imprisoned in the ghetto. This should not be forgotten today especially in the city of Minsk at Yama Memorial.

During the occupation of Belarus Jubilee Square, parts of the streets Ostrowskaya and Dimitrova entered the borders of the Jewish ghetto in Minsk, where there were regularly conducted programs. The largest punitive action was conducted in March 1942. Within three days, large groups of prisoners were led to the ravine on the outskirts of the ghetto and shot. In all as a result of atrocities committed by March 2, 1942 more than 5,000 Jews had been shot. About 500 corpses were dumped in a pit located near the intersection of the current streets Zaslavskaya and Melnikaite in Minsk.

Only 13 prisoners of the ghetto survived hiding in a crypt near the old Jewish cemetery before the liberation of Minsk from the occupants. Since 1947 on this place was a modest obelisk with the text in Yiddish – “Devote to the Jews – the victims of Nazism”, built by the efforts of Belarusian Jews. It was the first and only one for a long time as a memorial to victims of the Holocaust on the territory of the former Soviet Union.

Today in this terrible place is a memorial complex called “Yama” (or “Pit” in English) at the junction of Zaslavskaya and Melnikaite street, reminiscing of those Jews killed during the war. This is a really deep hole, in the bottom of which there is an obelisk of black granite. Steps lead down to the pit, which is surrounded by old trees. Along the granite steps are sculptures of twenty-seven figures from the ghetto, going to eternity. They are left to walk a few steps and die on the bottom of the pit.

At the bottom of a small playground paved with rubble stone there is the obelisk of black granite with commemorative inscriptions in Russian and Hebrew. Near the monument is the Path of Righteous Men of Belarus. In their honor, lime trees have been planted and each tree has a metal plate with the name of a righteous man set onto it.

written by plyshbel

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