24 September 2010 - 16 Tishri 5771 - ט"ז תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"א
Rostov Jewish Community calls for survivors and children to remember Zmievskaya Balka Print E-mail

The Jewish community of Rostov working in partnership with the city’s Chabad Rabbi, Chaim Danzinger, has launched a project to establish a permanent memorial for 27,000 Jews and civilians murdered at Zmievskaya Balka 68 years ago.

The project, sponsored by Yuri Dombrovsky, a Moscow based business man, seeks to collect names and information about the men, women and children rounded up for death here between 11 and 12 August 1942.

A website,  www.rememberingrostov.com was set up where survivors and family members can share information. On that date,  German soldiers herded 27, 000 resi dent s of Rost ov – most of them Jewish citizens – to a secluded area at the edge of the city, where they were executed.

It was the largest massacre of innocent civilians in Russia, and yet, until recently, information about it remained buried among the horrors of the Holocaust.  

Yevgeni Mavshovitch, 79, whose family escaped just before the Nazis entered the city, has already collected the names of 2,500 Jewish victims massacred here. Most of the names col lected thus far have been culled from government archives, but those involved in the project say they hope that survivors living all over the world will come forth with more information. “The largest genocide of Jewish people in Russia took place right here. It is our responsibility that their memory be kept alive forever,” says Yevgeni.

Some family members of survivors live in the area. Daniel Popov, a 21-year-old student living in Rostov-on-Don, participated in a memorial event last month. He stood on the same spot where 68 years ago his grandmother’s family was murdered.

Rabbi Danzinger, who sees momentum for the project growing, hopes readers will pass the word along. “There is an urgent need to gather names,  stories and historical information while we still have an opportunity to hear about it from survivors and relatives of those killed at Zmievskaya Balka. We want to hear from anyone with information about victims or survivors, and we urge them to contact us.”

The community recently held a memorial service at the site of the massacre. They invited holocaust survivors as well as young kids from the school, so that they could hear the survivors pass on their stories to their generation. Following the memorial a banquet was held to honour survivors and Jewish war veterans.

(Issue July/August 2010)

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