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Commemoration of Jewish Victims

Monument at the murder site in the Vyazovenskaya grove to the Jewish victims from Smolensk Monument at the murder site in the Vyazovenskaya grove to the Jewish victims from Smolensk YVA Photo Collection 232807

Around 1947 or 1948, despite the prohibition of the local authorities, members of local Jewish families, especially soldiers who had returned from the front and discovered that their families had been murdered by the Germans during the occupation, collected money and bought a small house to serve as a prayer house. After the prayer house was closed by the authorities, the local Jewish community decided to erect a memorial to the local Holocaust victims. The project, which was announced in the local and central press, was initiated and carried through by Yefim Sosin, a resident of Smolensk. The money was collected from local residents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and from former Smolensk residents who had moved to other parts of the country after the war. The memorial was dedicated on May 21, 1967. The area was fenced off and cared for with support from the local authorities. The Russian inscription on the monument says "To the victims of Fascism. Here are buried 3,000 Soviet civilians from Smolensk who were brutally tortured to death in the ghetto or shot in 1942 by the German barbarians." Starting on July 15, 1992, an annual ceremony in memory of the Jewish victims has been conducted at the monument.