Thursday, May 18, 2017

A message from Dokshitz, Belarus

A Message from Belarus

Dear Friends, I miss you all.  I just want to let you know what I have been up to. I will see you during Shavuot. Aaron
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Maria Balash with Aaron Ginsburg
A brief update from Aaron Ginsburg, president of the Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy. As many of you know I am visiting Dokshitsy this week. 
Alan Kaul, my friend from Massachusetts, who also traces his routes to Belarus, and our able guide Daria Khaparikha accompanied me. We viewed the work that was done in cooperation with the Dokshitsy District in 2008 at the Jewish cemetery and holocaust site in Dokshitsy.
In Begomel, about 17 miles east of Dokshitsy, we met with Nikolai Trahinin to review our projects to mark the sites associated with the murder of that Jewish community on October 2, 1941. Subsequently, we met with Alla Vladimirovna Korolevich, the head of the Begomel museum, which is devoted largely to the partisan activity in the area during World War II. Near Begomel, we were warmly welcomed by residents of three small villages; Bradok, Uskrimie, and Karolina.
Today we visited the public school in Parafyanovo where about twenty students entertained us with a half hour version of Pygmalion, including music and song, in English. While in Parafyanovo, we visited Maria Balash(see picture), a childhood witness who with tears described being forced to watch the horror of the local Jews being murdered. Seventy-five years ago, in May, 1942, the Jews in Parafyanovo were murdered leaving less than ten survivors. We also saw the town's Holocaust site.
Thanks to the local government head, Galina Azarevich and to school principal Victor Korostik, on Monday, May 22 in the early afternoon, there will be a holocaust memorial ceremony in Parafyanovo. We will walk from the ghetto, where the Jews were forced to live by the Nazis during the war, to the site where they were killed, and then have a brief ceremony.