The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/poland/minsk/minsk.001


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Liquidation of the Minsk Ghetto
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www.nizkor.org
Keywords: Minsk,Novitch,Pechersky

Archive/File: holocaust/ussa/minsk minsk.001
Last-Modified: 1993/12/03

   "On the eve of the liquidation of the Minsk ghetto, in the summer of
   1943, there were 6,000 to 8,000 Jews out of the 75,000 who had lived
   there at the beginning of the German occupation at the end of June
   1941.  About 500 of them, skilled workers, were kept in the SS labor
   camp on Shiroka Street, where an additional 100 Jewish prisoners of
   war from the Soviet army were employed.  Before the deportation more
   Jews were brought from the ghetto to the Shiroka Street labor camp.

   On September 18, 1943, a transport with 2,000 Jews let  Minsk for
   Sobibor.  First Lieutenant Alexander (Sasha) Pechersky, a prisoner of
   war who was with this transport, wrote: 

      On September 18, all the Jews were ordered to assemble in the
      courtyard.  It was four o'clock in the morning, still dark.  We
      stood in a line to get the 300 grams of break we received for the
      journey.  The courtyard was full of people, but no noise could be
      heard.  Scared children kept close to their mothers.  Commander Wat
      announced to us: `Soon you will be taken to the station.  You are
      going to Germany; there you will work.  Hitler has made it possible
      to grant life to each Jew who will work honestly.  You are going
      with your families.' The women and children were taken to the
      station in trucks, the men by foot....We were pushed -- seventy
      people in a freight car...  On the fifth day of travelling, we
      arrived in the evening at an isolated station.  A white sign bore
      the name: Sobibor....  We were kept in the closed freight cards
      overnight.  On September 23, in the morning, a locomotive pushed
      the train into the camp....  Tired and hungry we left the cars.
      Oberscharfuhrer Gomerski shouted: `Cabinetmakers and carpenters
      without families, forward.' Eighty men, most of them war prisoners,
      reported.  We were rushed into a fenced yard inside a barrack...  A
      Jew from the camp who returned from some work approached up.
      During the conversation I noticed grey smoke rising in the
      northwest direction and a sharp smell of burning hovering in the
      air.  I asked: `What is burning there?' `They are burning the
      bodies of your friends who arrived with you,' the Jew answered.  I
      was shocked...." <1>

   "The Jews from Minsk, who had witnessed mass extermination in their
   ghetto, as tens of thousands of them were shot in the vicinity of the
   city from the beginning of German rule, knew nothing about the
   existence of death camps.  The Minsk ghetto was a remote and isolated
   ghetto.  As part of the Soviet Union, the Jews of Minsk had almost no
   connections with the Jews in the ghettos in Poland itself.  The very
   existence of the death camps and of Sobibor was a secret to them.
   They came to Sobibor and filed into the gas chambers without knowing
   what fate awaited them." <2> (Arad)

   <1> Alexander Pechersky, "Der Ufshtand in Sobibor" (The Uprising in
       Sobibor), Moscow, 1946, pp. 6-8
   <2> Novitch, Miriam, editor, "Sobibor, Martydom and Revolt", New York
       1980, p.112, testimony of Yehuda Lerner

                           Work Cited

   Arad, Yitzhak. BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard 
   Death Camps. Indiana University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-253-3429-7

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