Belarus SIG #Belarus Re: Deportation to Minsk #belarus
Saul Issroff <email@example.com> writes:
<< Charlotte gives a figure of 800,000 people killed in this area. I would
be interested in any references to the numbers of Jews killed in or
around Minsk. >>
I saw one such marker with my own eyes, giving the 800,000 victim
number--others with lower numbers. Some 'only' a few hundred.
My non-Jewish co-author/friend here in the US argued with me about these
numbers (also?) stating 'there were no such large numbers killed, or it would
be in the history books'.
Well, I won't "back down", pls don't misunderstand me: I don't think you doubt
my word. I SAW this number and others (in arabic nbrs) engraved on various
memorial monuments and was -for the same reason- totally blown away by it.
Also, as I told David Fox/Belarus.gen moderator, my experience trying to
forward the lists (obtained >from the Minsk Patriotic Museum director) of
former Theresienstadt re-deportees were met with doubt--Milos Karny had just
buried Margita and was under great stress.
pls dbl check w/ your USHMM contact if they have the info below:
(until I can come up for air and search for the complete lists...am terribly
swamped and way behind with many other commitments)
I have shared all of my info with the Theresienstadt Archives and (edu.dir)
Ludmilla Chladkova and Dr Blodnik and Dr Munk were delighted and very
1. Da 220 AAx 14/07/42 Theresienstadt 1, Minsk 17/07 1000; Maly Trostinez,
2. Da 222 Aaz 04/08/42 Theresienstadt 2 Minsk 10/08 1000; Trostinez,
3. Da 224 Bc 25/08/42 Theresienstadt 3 Minsk 28/08 1000
4. Da 226 bk 08/09/42 Theresienstadt 4 Minsk 11/09 1000 Trostinez
5. Da 228 Bn 22/09/42 Theresienstadt 5 Min25/09 1000 Trostinez 1
There are confirming records fr the Killer-Commandos to Aax and Aaz (numbers
1 and 2) (see letter fr.P.Witte)
Terezin Initiative in Prague (my and P.Witte's friend Miroslav Karny) told
me "there was one transport of 1000 people to Minsk, and we have the names"...
and also Beit Terezin/Israel (Alissa Schiller?) wrote 'there were no
transports to Minsk".
(In all fairness, Miroslav Karny was in deep morning because his wife had just
I have a photo of one such monument, giving credit for its construction to
Israeli organisation, hidden in the woods, but indicated by one or two
A German fellow tourist photographed some of the other markers (my camera was
having battery problems / not working) -- I shall see this man again this
summer and will ask him --for the third time-- for prints of his photos.
Iwenez hostess Larissa (I can send you her and husband Pavel's address in
Russian, can't read last name), the principal of the Iwenez school told me
"Israeli group interviewed local residents / witnesses, identified the sites
and erected these monuments" (fenced-in mass grave sites with red plastic
Local area residents still remember the events.
I was also shown other former ghettos and assembly-'Umschlagplatz'-locales.
now serving as weekday market location. The houses of those former ghetto
holding compounds still stand.
As I clearly recall, the text of the marker was in Hebrew (no vowels given, so
I could not attempt to read it) and also in Russian/Belarussian (which I
cannot speak or read) but I took my Minsk and Iwenez hosts' word for proper
translation into German.
They do not speak English.
My Iwenez hosts originally had expected/planned to take me to German war
soldier cemeteries near Smolensk, and quickly re-planned this excursion when I
cleared up the mistake.
Local people do know about such sites, but hate to speak of them.
The HIS (Reemtsma, Hamburg Sozial Institut) video 'Als Soldaten Moerder
wurden' also interviews Minsk and other local area residents, many >from small
towns nearby, who witnessed the shootings, it also interviews German war vets
who report on their activities at that time in great detail. Some --with a
smirk-- admitting, "well I did not actually shoot anyone...but I did push them
a little bit now and then, when they would not move fast enough..."
I hope this is helpful.
There is a chance that I may get back to Belarus.
I shall certainly try:
The orphanage in Iwenez is holding several boxes with ceramic Mogen David re-
creations of a special Holocaust pendant I own, as well as small Love-Faith-
Hope church bells...which they prepared for me as a thank-you.
I had hoped to use these as gifts upon my return home.
So far I have been unable to find a way to have these sent to me.
The director of the orphanage (with a very Jewish name), a former Kommissar,
is probably the only Jewish person left in that area....although noone seems
to think he is Jewish and, of course, I may be mistaken in that regard.
Maybe he is not -- but I can't fathom an ethnic Belorussian with a name like
"Goldschmidt". He spoke to us in Yiddish which he mistook for German.
He telephoned me recently and offered to bring me all these ceramic Mogen
Davids creations and the bells...I am sure they are in the way at the
orphanage...if I could or would find a place here in the US where he could
spend a few days in between his plane's arrival and return trip home.
He seemed to think that the Peace Committee in Minsk or some other such group
would help fund his plane ticket >from Minsk to Houston.
Charlotte Guthmann Opfermann
College of the Mainland, Texas City-Houston TX USA
for several related H-Holocaust posts
( Go to H-Net homepage http://h-net2.msu.edu/~holoweb/
and then click on "logs" --near the end of the page)