• Memorial to the murdered Jews of Pinsk
In Pinsk and its surroundings several memorials are dedicated to the up to 27.000 Jews who were murdered there in 1941 and 1942.
Image: Pinsk, before 1939, Panoramic view of the city, Tomasz Wiśniewski Collection
Pinsk, before 1939, Panoramic view of the city, Tomasz Wiśniewski Collection

Image: Pinsk, 2011, Memorial from 1992 in »Dobraya Volya« to the victims of mass shootings in 1942, Vadim Akopyan
Pinsk, 2011, Memorial from 1992 in »Dobraya Volya« to the victims of mass shootings in 1942, Vadim Akopyan
The city of Pinsk is located in the Polesia region in the southern parts of Belarus. Before World War II, there were about 30,000 Jews living in Pinsk, which was at the time Polish, constituting almost 70 per cent of the local population. In September 1939, the city was occupied by Soviet forces.
On July 4, 1941, the German Wehrmacht took Pinsk. Not long afterwards, a »Judenrat« (»Jewish council«) was appointed to carry out German orders. At the beginning of August, SS cavalry regiment 2 under the command of Franz Magill marched into Pinsk. Between August 5 and 8, 1941, members of the cavalry regiment shot between 4,000 and 8,000 Jewish men, first near the village Posenitchi and afterwards near the village Koslyakovitchi.
On May 1, 1942, the remaining Jews of Pinsk were forced to move into a ghetto upon orders of the German occupying power. About 20,000 people were crowded together in the small area. The ghetto existed only for half a year. Between October 29 and November 1, the security service of the SS (SD) shot the approximately 20,000 remaining Jews upon direct orders of SS leader Heinrich Himmler. The Jews were executed in previously dug out pits, about ten kilometres from the ghetto. A group who managed to organise weapons beforehand put up resistance. A few of them managed to flee to the partisans operating in nearby areas.
Image: Pinsk, before 1939, Panoramic view of the city, Tomasz Wiśniewski Collection
Pinsk, before 1939, Panoramic view of the city, Tomasz Wiśniewski Collection

Image: Pinsk, 2011, Memorial from 1992 in »Dobraya Volya« to the victims of mass shootings in 1942, Vadim Akopyan
Pinsk, 2011, Memorial from 1992 in »Dobraya Volya« to the victims of mass shootings in 1942, Vadim Akopyan
Almost the entire Jewish population of Pinsk fell victim to the killing operations of the SS. The exact number of victims can only be estimated: presumably between 16,000 and 26,000 Jews perished in Pinsk. Several estimates cite an even higher death toll. The number of victims of the mass shooting conducted by SS cavalry regiment 2 close to Posenichi can also be estimated only vaguely: it is assumed that 4,000 - possibly up to 8,000 - Jewish men were murdered.
Image: near Pinsk, August 6, 1941, Corpses of Jewish men who were murdered the day before by members of SS cavalry regiment 2, private property, Erich Mirek
near Pinsk, August 6, 1941, Corpses of Jewish men who were murdered the day before by members of SS cavalry regiment 2, private property, Erich Mirek

Image: Posenitchi, 2014, Memorial on the side of the road to the victims of the mass shootings in August 1941, Avner
Posenitchi, 2014, Memorial on the side of the road to the victims of the mass shootings in August 1941, Avner
In 1964, a memorial was erected in a wooded area called »Dobraya Volya« near to the premises of a shut down airfield. It was dedicated to civilians who were murdered in the mass shootings of autumn 1942. It failed to mention however that most of the victims had been Jews. On the initiative of the Jewish community of Pinsk the memorial was replaced by a new one in 1992. The central sculpture is surrounded by three memorial stones with memorial plaques in Yiddish, Hebrew and Belarusian that commemorate the Jewish victims but also the partisans and the prisoners of war who had been murdered there. On the street that leads to the memorial a sign signals the way to the »Memorial to the victims of the Holocaust«.
In the same year a further memorial was unveiled. It is on Pushkin street on the premises of a former Jewish cemetery that was destroyed in the 1970s. It is dedicated to the victims of the ghetto. Among with Jews, the description also mentions »gypsies«, prisoners, partisans and resistance fighters as victims. Below the Belarusian inscription there is also a memorial plaque in Hebrew and Yiddish.
Further to the west, near the district Koslyakovitchi, a memorial was erected in 1993. Here too there was a mass shooting site where in 1941 and 1942 thousands of Jews, prisoners of war and inmates of Pinsk prisons were murdered.
Near the village of Posenitchi there is a similar memorial stone. There are two different inscriptions on the memorial stone. While the Hebrew and Yiddish inscriptions commemorate the 8,000 Jewish men murdered on August 5, 1941, the Belarusian inscription speaks of »26,000 victims of genocide and prisoners of war«.
Image: Pinsk-Koslyakovitchi, 2012, Memorial to the victims of mass shootings in 1941 and 1942, Avner
Pinsk-Koslyakovitchi, 2012, Memorial to the victims of mass shootings in 1941 and 1942, Avner

Image: Pinsk, 2012, Memorial in Pushkin street for the victims of the ghetto, Avner
Pinsk, 2012, Memorial in Pushkin street for the victims of the ghetto, Avner
Name
Pamjat ubytich ewrejem Pinska
Phone
+375 (80)165 324 320
Fax
+375 (80)165 351 602
Web
http://www.pinskjews.org.il
E-Mail
info@pinskjews.org.il
Open
The memorials are accessible at all times