Holocaust Remembrance Day: Walking tour in former Hrodna ghetto (photos)

On January 27, the world marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 74 years ago, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. By various sources, up to 1.6 mln people, mainly Jews, were killed in Auschwitz.

The day designated by the 2005 UN General Assembly resolution commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 8.7 million Slavs, 1.8 million ethnic Poles, 220,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, 312,000 Serb civilians, 1,900 Jehovah’s Witnesses, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

During the Second World War, Nazis forced Jews to reside in ghettos, enclosed districts that isolated them from the rest of population. At least 1,000 ghettos were established in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union and Poland.

The ghetto in the Belarusian city of Hrodna was created on November 1, 1941 and divided into 2 two parts. One part was located in downtown while the other was situated on the outskirts in the east of the city. In 1941-1943, there were several stages of exterminating Jews who used to live in Hrodna and its suburbs before the war.

On Sunday, an unusual walking tour took place in the territory of the former Jewish ghetto; it was initiated by local journalist and historian Ruslan Kulevich who was telling a group of excursionists about the fate of Hrodna victims of Nazis.

At each point, the group was met by volunteers who were bearing a close resemblance to the shadows of the past. The symbol of the tour was a loaf of bread that the storytellers handed over from one to the next.

84-year-old Hrodna resident Yauhen Pikalovich, who he lived to tell the tale, was present at the event. His family did not end up in the crosshairs of Nazis, but he witnessed driving the Jews into the ghetto as well as their gradually disappearing.

Telling the story, Mr Pikalovich could not hold his tears; he also called on the Belarusians to cherish peace.

АК, photo by Vasil Malchanau/Belsat.eu

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