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24 Jan 2018

Ghetto prisoners, Righteous among Nations commemorated in Belarus

Pukhovichi District, 24 January (BelTA) - The ghetto prisoners and the Righteous among the Nations were commemorated in a ceremony in the village of Porechie, Pukhovichi District ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, BelTA has learned.

A monument to the Righteous among the Nations in the village of Porechie was one of the first in Europe. The residents of this village saved 40 Jewish children who escaped from the Minsk ghetto during the Great Patriotic War.

The ceremony gathered former prisoners of ghettos and Nazi concentration camps, the righteous and other witnesses of the war events, diplomatic personnel, representatives of the local authorities, non-governmental organizations, culture figures, youth. As it was noted during the ceremony, there are six mass graves of the Jews killed by the Nazis in Pukhovichi District. Today the organizations of former ghetto prisoners maintain close ties with representatives of Germany.

Deputy head of the Embassy of Germany to Belarus Anya Luther attended the ceremony in Porechie. She stressed the importance of preserving the memory of the heroism of ordinary people, who, risking their lives, rescued Jewish children. “Belarus is doing a lot to preserve the memory of the Holocaust victims. Monuments are built on the personal initiative of people. The state also pays great attention to the effort to perpetuate the memory of innocent victims of Nazism. For example, the Trostenets memorial complex was opened not so long ago,” the diplomat said.

Maya Krapina told a touching story about the rescue of Jewish children during the war by the residents of Porechie. Despite the fact that the elderly woman now lives in Minsk, she often comes to Pukhovichi District to honor the memory of the ghetto prisoners and the fallen righteous. Four people, her included, from among those kids rescued back then, are alive today. Now these people live abroad but they have not lost contact with the place that actually gave them a second life. Chairman of the Minsk charity public association Gilf Frida Reisman told the participants about the inextricable link between the Jewish communities and the living righteous.

The flowers at the monument in Porechie were laid on behalf of the diplomatic missions and various public organizations. Those in attendance read the Kaddish, lit oil lamps and candles in memory of the six million innocent victims. After the event the former ghetto prisoners and the righteous met with students of local schools in Maryina Gorka. The regional local history museum launched the thematic exposition dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by the UN in 2005 and is observed on 27 January. The Righteous among the Nations is an honorary title bestowed by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. The Medal of the Righteous among the Nations reads “Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe”.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus