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Opinions & Interviews

22 Oct 2018

Landver: Belarus, Israel share Holocaust pain

Landver: Belarus, Israel share Holocaust pain

MINSK, 22 October (BelTA) - Israel is grateful to Belarus for preserving the memory of the Holocaust victims, Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Sofa Landver said at the commemorative meeting to mark the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Minsk Ghetto in the Yama memorial complex in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

Sofa Landver noted that the Yama memorial is one of the most powerful monuments to the victims of the Second World War. “We all bow our heads in memory of the innocent victims: the elderly, women, children. Thousands of prisoners of the Minsk Ghetto were killed in this place. It is impossible to understand how, in the middle of the twentieth century, the world sank into the chaos of horrendous massacre, how it could happen that entire families were led to slaughter only because they did not fit the Nazi ideology about the purity of the race. Both our peoples, Belarusians and Jews, drank the cup of hatred and monstrous mass destruction to the end,” she said.

For nearly a thousand years Belarus has been home for Jews. It gave the world many outstanding artists such as Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, former Israeli President Shimon Peres and other famous people, noted the minister. She admitted that her family also hails from Minsk. “My mom's parents lost three sons here at the very beginning of the war. My father’s mother together with her brother joined the partisans, fought and died. After demobilization, my father returned to Minsk. He was Lieutenant Colonel, communications officer, who fought from the beginning to the end of the war. He began fighting when he was 17. He is my hero! I know well the history of the Belarusian nation, one of the calmest, friendliest and most persevering in the world. The war dealt Belarusians a terrible blow, having killed lots of them including almost 1 million Jews. The world remembers the tragedies of Khatyn and Trostenets,” Sofa Landver said.

On behalf of the Israeli government, she expressed deep gratitude to the Belarusian people for preserving the memory of the Holocaust victims, and also to President Alexander Lukashenko for his personal involvement in the Trostenets memorial complex project.

“We are forever indebted with the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives for saving others. Today, Belarusian Jews are a strong link between our countries. It hurts me to see the current international discord and intolerance, the non-acceptance of dissenting views. The fight against neo-Nazism requires the consolidation of humanity. We must unite so that the nightmare of the past, which has become our common disaster, will never be repeated. It is our duty not only before our descendants, but also before our families and friends, the Holocaust victims. Eternal memory to them, and peace and prosperity to our peoples,” said Sofa Landver.

The events marking the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Minsk Ghetto were attended by a representative delegation from Israel which comprised members of the Knesset and representatives of the Israeli government. The events were also attended by diplomats, foreign guests from the United States, European countries, representatives of large Jewish international organizations, public associations, and former ghetto prisoners.

The Minsk Ghetto was one of Europe’s biggest death camps for Jews. By late October 1943 the Nazis had killed more than 100,000 people there.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus