International Holocaust Remembrance Day Observed in Belarus

On November 1, 2005 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating January 27 — the day on which in 1945 the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi death camp Auscwitz–Birkenau (Poland) – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 2012, the theme of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is "Children and the Holocaust."

On November 1, 2005 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating January 27 — the day on which in 1945 the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi death camp Auscwitz–Birkenau (Poland) – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In 2012, the theme of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is "Children and the Holocaust." The United Nations pays homage to the memory of one–and–a–half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, as well as thousands of Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) children, disabled persons and other minorities who suffered and perished at the hands of the Nazis and their henchmen.

The UN Country Office in Belarus with assistance from the NGO “The National Holocaust Foundation” and the Union of Belarusian Jewish NGOs and Communities organized a commemorative event dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day that took place in the Small Hall of the National Cultural Education Center on January 27.

As the UN Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon says in his foreword to the Study Guide for students devoted to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, “The Holocaust was a time of terror and uncertainty for Jewish children and their families. Despite their fears, many children bravely faced this danger armed with creativity and strength…The best tribute to their memory is an ongoing effort to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust so that no such horror is ever visited on future generations.”

The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Committee on Religious Affairs and National Minorities of the Republic of Belarus, former ghetto prisoners, teachers and students of Belarusian schools from the Minsk, Hrodna, Brest and Viciebsk regions who are actively involved in studying the subject of the Holocaust in Belarus were among participants of the event.

Mr. Vladimir Rubezhin, a former underage Minsk ghetto prisoner and a legendary underground resistance and guerilla fighter, and Mr. Leonid Levin, the Chairman of the Union of Belarusian Jewish NGOs and Communities, a renowned architect and creator of the memorial to the children–victims of fascism located in the village of Krasny Bereg in the Zlobin District of the Homiel Region shared their memories during the solemn event.

In the wartime years, about a quarter of more than 900,000 exterminated Belarusian Jews were children. In the Minsk ghetto alone, all the residents of two orphanages were killed; many children were exterminated in gas chamber trucks or shot dead at the pitfalls. More than 35,000 children were killed in specialized children's death camps located throughout the country. However, despite all the horrors of war, children fought on the frontlines side by side with adults as children of regiments, fought in guerilla units, and became underground resistance fighters.

More photos are here.