Mass Grave of Holocaust Victims Found in Western Belarus

By Belapan news agency, Minsk, in English 1120 11 May 06
BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union

Text of report in English by Belarusian news agency Belapan

Brest, 11 May: A mass grave of Jews killed by Nazis during World War II has been discovered at Smalyarka, Byaroza District, Brest Region.

According to official records, photographs and witnesses’ reports collected by a special commission after the war, around 1,500 Jews were executed and buried in four mass graves there.

The excavations were initiated by a local couple of business owners, Halina and Alik Arslanow. Students studying at the general education school in the village of Bronnaya Hara found official papers about the massacre site in the Brest Regional Public Record Office.

The remains of Holocaust victims were discovered some 0.3 to 0.5 metres below the ground surface. The grave was 5 m. wide and 10 m. long.

Jewish traditions ban reburying the dead. The local authorities and the Jewish community in Brest have not yet decided what to do with the remains. The couple said that they were ready to put up a memorial at the site with their own money.