23 June 2016
Marking the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa – Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 – the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union of Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research has published Pariahs Among Pariahs by Dr. Aron Shneyer (Yad Vashem Publications).
Aside from being a central battle during World War II, Operation Barbarossa marked the escalation of Nazi Germany's aggression towards the Soviet Union and the beginning of mass killings of Jews throughout Europe. During the course of the war, over 15 million soldiers were captured and taken as prisoners of war, nearly half of whom were Allied forces captives. Among the Soviet POWs were also thousands of Jewish soldiers. Using deceptive tactics, the Nazis coaxed non-Jewish captives to betray the identities of their Jewish comrades, many of whom were then marked for forced hard labor and death. Pariahs Among Pariahs retraces the stories and experiences of many of these Jewish Soviet and Polish POWs, most of whom did not survive captivity.
Dr. Aron Shneyer is a researcher at Yad Vashem and an accomplished author. He has dedicated his academic endeavors to the fields of Jewish History and World War II, for which he has received various awards, including the Viktor Nekrasov Prize for Literature. He is also recognized for his efforts and contributions to Russian-Israeli relations.
"The fate of Jewish prisoners of war is a one of the most important historical aspects of the Holocaust in the USSR, says Dr. Arkady Zeltser, Director of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union at Yad Vashem. "Dr. Shneyer's book is the first of its kind that presents a wealth of information about the tragic fate of these Jews, previously unavailable and unknown. By brilliantly exposing the immense difference in the fate of the millions of Soviet POWs to that of their Jewish comrades, he demonstrates that at least the former had a hope of surviving."
For additional information, or to review this book, please contact Simmy Allen, Head of the International Media Section, Communications Division.