Rostov’s Jewish community gathered on August 11 to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the mass shootings in Zmiyovskaya Balka. It is the largest mass murder site of Jews during the Holocaust in Russia and is often referred to as “Russian Babi Yar”. About 27,000 Jews and Soviet civilians were massacred and buried there in August 1942.
Rostov-on-Don was occupied by the Nazis on July 24, 1942. On August 11, the local Jews were ordered to come to one of the six collection points, seemingly for resettlement to another area. Among those murdered that day were mainly women, seniors and children.
The memorial event was attended by the members of the Rostov Jewish community, representatives of the local authorities and city residents. The Chairman of the Rostov Jewish community Mikhail Potapov told FJC News that the participants walked along the mourning route towards the Eternal Flame and lit six candles in memory of the six million Jews who died tragically during the Holocaust. Those present have also read a memorial prayer and recited Mourner’s Kaddish.
“August 11, 1942 is a black page in the history of Jews on the Don. When the Nazis occupied our city during the war, almost the entire Jewish community ended up in the Zmiyovskaya Balka,” said Potapov, “this tragedy did not touch upon my family, but many members of our community are the descendants of those resting in this terrible place.”
The organizers added that the main message of such events is ‘to preserve and pass the historical truth about the Holocaust to our children and grandchildren and to make sure this could never happen again’.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the memorial service was limited to 50 people.
Photos provided by the Jewish community of Rostov-on-Don.
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