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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Slutsk, Belarus
53 14 20 N 027 42 15 E

The city of Slutzk in White Russia was one of the foremost Jewish centers in Eastern Europe. Though not large in size and population, it occupied at many important moments in the history of Russian Jewry a more prominent place, and was better known, than the state capital city of Minsk. The Jews of Slutzk were noted for their excessive pride in their city, for which they were often taunted.

Slutsk, was the capital of a district in the Government of Minsk, Russia, situated 123 miles south of Minsk. Population in 1910 was 16,190. Slutsk passed to Lithuania in the thirteenth century and attained great importance as the capital of the Principality of Slutsk. It came into the possession of Russia in 1795.

The campaign of Stanislav Bulak-Balakhovich to Byelorussia turned into a tragedy for the Jews. An adventurer by nature, he tried to play the Jewish card as much as possible. The "peasant general" used the anti-Semitism of the Poles, the Black-Hundred mood of the white officers and the discontent of the Belarusian village with the Bolshevik prodrazvrstkoy. Jews, like no other, came to the role of a potential victim. The pretext for violence was always at hand: personal grievances, economic disputes and conflicts, property claims. Jews belonged to different strata of society, were politically active, and were literate. They professed a different religion, spoke their own language, followed a tradition that had no analogues in the Slavic culture. War and devastation, famine and robbery gave birth to the need for violence, which was most conveniently satisfied at the expense of the Jews. It is not known which social group, religious or national minority could act as a social lightning rod, were it not for the Jews. As a result, in a few weeks in the autumn of 1920, dozens of towns in Belarus were destroyed, thousands of residents were devastated, hundreds were killed and maimed, children were orphaned. Among the victims were people of different nationalities, but only Jews were victims, elected pogromists on a national basis.

Soviet sources, covering the pogroms of Bulak-Balakhovich and Savinkov, preferred to talk about political banditry. This obscured anti-Semitism as a phenomenon and remained acceptable to the layman, with whom Soviet power flirted. However, most Jews did not have a relationship with the Bolsheviks, let alone their families, parents, wives and children, who were tortured and killed on an equal basis with adults.

The inspirers of the pogroms put an equal sign between the concepts "Jew" and "commissar", putting forward slogans: "We will destroy the Jews so that they do not interfere with the peasants!", "Down with commissars, death to Jews!" Agitators-antisemites claimed that the Jews were to blame for the red terror, and their destruction will ensure the fall of the Soviets and the rejection of the idea of ??a world reorganization of society.

A description of the physical annihilation of Slutzk Jewry by the Hitler battalions in 1941 is given in the following report of the Nazi district commissioner to his superior in Minsk. This secret document was presented at the Nuremberg Inter- national Military Trial and is included in the United States Government report of those proceedings published under the name of Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume III, page 785 (United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 1946).

"... the police battalion had received the assignment to effect the liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Slutzk, within two days... All Jews without exception were taken out of the factories and shops ... a large part was loaded directly on trucks and liquidated without further delay outside of the town.... The town itself offered a picture of horror during the action. With indescribable brutality on the part of both the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them White Ruthenians, were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot Jews accumulated.... persons shot have worked themselves out of their graves some time after they had been covered."

The noted British historian and commentator of the London Observer, Edward Crankshaw, after quoting some excerpts from the above in his book "Gestapo" remarks: "This was the impression made on a German official, who had already in the nature of his job seen many dreadful things, who has prepared to see the Jews of Slutzk completely liquidated provided be had a day's warning to organize the affairs in an orderly manner, but who, nevertheless, was so shocked and affronted by the reality that, after brooding about it for three days, he still could not overcome his indignation and, taking courage in both hands, laid bare his heart to his Fuehrer, via Goering. He was an innocent, of course. The Fuehrer had ordered that these people should be killed, and did not care how."

From June 1941 to June 1944, during the Second World War, it was occupied by German fascist troops. During the war it was virtually destroyed, so today urban architecture is dominated by postwar buildings. Before the war in Slutsk lived mainly Jewish population, which was almost completely destroyed in the Slutsk ghetto . In general, during the occupation in the city and the region, about 30,000 people died.

On October 1, 2016 Slutsk celebrated the 900th anniversary of the city.

Sources and Methods

  • Photographs and Site Diagrams Appended to the Memorandum of Understanding for the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, December 1987.
  • Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Establishment of the Data Base for the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, December 1987.

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Page last modified: 12-05-2018 19:13:28 ZULU