About Belarus

Articles dedicated to Belarus history, Belarus politics, Belarus economy, Belarus culture and other issues and Belarus tourist destinations.

Jewish Resistance Museum in Novogrudok

updated on 06/08/2016

The occupation of Novogrudok and the area started almost immediately after the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. According to the survivors, bombings and fires wiped away the center of the city and the local residents had to struggle for space. Executions of the Jewish population followed soon after – fifty prominent community members were gunned down in the main square of Novogrudok. Thousands from the area murdered in winter 1941 were followed by others who perished in the Aktions of spring and summer 1942 leaving only a few hundred craftsmen in a dedicated ghetto.

The constant debate about breaking out from the ghetto and working for the Nazi resolved once two hundred specialists had been killed in February 1943. It was immediately clear to the survivors that their turn would come, too, and they started one of the most daring escape projects in the history of the occupation of Belarus – an underground tunnel.

In deep secrecy starving specialists distributed the roles: the tunnel diggers were to get their extra meals, others would extract the earth to get rid of it, others would provide the required tools – planks, spades, ropes and so on… In two months’ time by August the tunnel was ready and the last surviving Novogrudok Jews were about to use it when…

To hear more about the story of the Novogrudok ghetto you can visit the Jewish Resistance Museum of Novogrudok. Established in 2006, it is based in one of the surviving buildings of the ghetto, moreover, the building from which the tunnel started (confirmed by archaeologists in 2010). The museum has a collection of pictures of the escape participants and their list (about 200 persons – particularly amazing to their kids and grandkids to see when in Novogrudok), artifacts related to the escape.

If you wish to take a tour of the Jewish Resistance Museum in Novogrudok, do not hesitate to contact me. The tour to the museum can be a part of the venture into the surviving dugouts of the Bielski Brothers camp.

Questions are welcome!

Andrei Burdenkov - your personal guide in Belarus
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