PAIN DOWN THE YEARS
On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Minsk ghetto tragedy of in the memorial complex “Yama” took place a meeting-requiem with participation of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
Three red roses, notwithstanding the thorns, are fisted — Savely Kaplinsky brought one flower for each killed member of the family to Minsk “Yama”, the memorial complex located on the place of one of the biggest Jewish ghettos in Europe. His mother, father and brother died here. He was the only one to escape by miracle from the Nazi bullets, he ran away to the forest to partisans and though he was a small boy he took revenge for his relatives together with the adults till the end of the war. Savely Kaplinsky has been recently living in New-York, and the reason for return to his native city was the 65th anniversary of destruction of the Minsk ghetto.
Before the war at the intersection of Zaslavskaya and Melnikayte streets there was a pit. The Nazi used it as a cemetery and after the next bashing they threw off the corps here. After the liberation of the city on this place appeared an obelisk with an inscription in Yiddish “To Jews — victims of Nazism”. To that time in Minsk few people left, who understood this language and could tell about the great tragedy, which occurred here. In the 90’s in winter children sledged on scarp slopes of “Yama”. On July 10, 2000 a memorial complex was opened in memory of 100 thousand people, who died in Minsk ghetto. Besides, Alexander Lukashenko also took part in the opening.
I settled in Minsk, when sculptors Finsky and Polak have already “sent to death” 27 bronze figures. Each time, passing by this terrible sculptural composition and looking on lowered heads and shoulders, I was amazed how accurately the authors managed to convey the feeling of fatality and anticipation of disaster. For me “Yama” on Melnikayte street is the same original symbol of war as Khatyn or Brest fortress. Only facts testify, that immortalization in Belarus of the memory about the “Holocaust” is the matter of our days.
“Holocaust” is translated from Greek as “burnt sacrifice”. On the eve of the Great Patriotic War on the territory of Belarus lived almost one million of Jews. For almost four years the Nazi killed 800000 people of this nationality by different data. 50 thousand of Jews were deported from other European states and shot down. Often deported people were brought to Trostenets village from the railway station.
Near Minsk was situated one of the biggest death camps. On October 20 the President reported: in Trostenets will be established a memorial to the victims of Nazism. “We can’t forget about the deed, made by our people, including Jews, — said Alexander Lukashenko. — Let other people look and think what is done in Belarus for memory preservation”.
Being in Minsk “Yama”, it is impossible to miss one more important element of the memorial — the Alley of the Righteous Men of the World Nation. This is how people are called, who in war years, risking their lives, saved the Jews. The Hierosolymitan Institute of the disaster “Yad Vashem” counted 696 righteous men in Belarus. This is more, than in any other country of the world.
Fania Geller-Grozovskaya has been living in Israel for long. She didn’t see her Motherland during 9 years. She couldn’t hold tears, when she told how she and her mother after the next bashing ran away from Minsk ghetto, how an unknown Belarusian family put them up or, how she said, “saved”. She says that till the end of her days she will gratefully remember those kind people...
This ceremony wasn`t long and pompous. As effeirs to a mournful event, everything was rather reserved but stridently. Laying of wreath, ambassadors of Israel and Germany at that moment held their hands, the speech of the President, a moment of silence...