Holocaust in Belorussia Yizkor Book

Project Name. Translation of Holocaust in Belorussia

Project Leader
Irene Newhouse
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JewishGen Yizkor Book Project Manager: Lance Ackerfeld

Project Synopsis

Under this project, JewishGen will complete the translation from Russian into English of the 432-page Katastrofa evreev v Belorusii 1941-1944, The Holocaust in Belorussia, by Dr. Leonid Smilovitsky (Tel Aviv: Biblioteka Motveya Chernogo, 2000) and place the entire translated document online under the auspices of the Yizkor Book Project. This work is the first scholarly study of the Holocaust in Belarus, due to the fact that until the 1990s the government of the former Soviet Union classified and restricted access to primary source material that could have shed light on the Holocaust experience in Belarus. Dr. Smilovitsky, a prominent scholar of the Holocaust and the histories of Jewish communities in Belarus, is currently at the Diaspora Research Institute of Tel Aviv University.

Key Audiences

Jewish genealogists seeking to trace their roots in this town constitute the primary audience for the material.  However, the material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars specializing in Jewish history and society in this region.

Project Importance

Research for this book was conducted in archives in the East and West, and is the definitive work thus far on the Holocaust in Belarus, making it of immense value to researchers.

The book is not a chronological history; rather, it is organized into sections on various aspects of the Holocaust in Belarus. These include town-by-town summaries of the evidence collected by the Soviet Extraordinary Commission in 1944, as well as a 1944 document by Ilya Ehrenberg on the Holocaust in Belarus, classified and "lost" in archives until 1998.

Project Description

The main text is 313 pages. In addition, the book includes a glossary of terms, a bibliography, a list of the serial “Pamiat,” a bibliography of documents in Hebrew, various appendices, an index, and a geographical index, as well as maps and photographs, bringing the entire book to 432 pages.

JewishGen recently placed the English and Russian-language versions of the table of contents as well as a list of picture captions online. Soon, JewishGen also will place online donations from Dr. Smilovitsky of parts of the book that were previously professionally translated and published in English-language scholarly journals. In addition, a volunteer has donated a translation of a large section of the book which will be placed online. This project will support the services of a professional to translate the remaining 67 pages of Russian text and make them accessible online.

JewishGen recently placed the English and Russian-language versions of the table of contents as well as a list of picture captions online at

Estimated Cost. $1900


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Updated September 20, 2018 by Anne Vaccari