Jewish Minsk

Jewish life in Minsk and Belarus in general can be traced back to the 8th century. Before the German invasion of Belarus in 1941, the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Minsk made up over half the population of the city. At war’s end almost all of Minsk’s Jewish men, women and children had been murdered by the Nazis and their willing local collaborators, most of them at the nearby extermination camp at Maly Trostenets. Of the many notable Jews born in Belarus are the artist Marc Chagall (Moishe Shagal, 1887-1985) and the current Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres (b. 1923). Today’s Jews make up less than one per cent of the population of the country.

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