Yama Memorial Complex

Holocaust Memorials

The Yama Memorial Complex is a memorial to all Jews who died in the Minsk ghetto. This is a tribute to the memory of the Jews who were shot during the worst punitive operation of the Nazis: on March 2, 1942, five thousand Jews were killed. It was the first memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in the USSR, on which it was allowed to make an inscription in Yiddish.

Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. / Global Photo Archive / Flickr.

The memorial was erected on the site of one of the largest Jewish ghettos in Europe - in the part where on the 2nd and 3rd of March 1942, on the days of the Jewish holiday Purim, around 6000 captives of the Minsk ghetto were shot in this large pit. For three days on the outskirts of the ghetto, into which the Germans turned the Rakovskiy suburb of Minsk, large groups of its prisoners were shot. In 1947, after the liberation of Minsk and the end of the war, thanks to Minsk soldiers and those who miraculously survived the Holoucaust, a monument was erected in memory of the victims of the Jewish genocide, with text in both Yiddish and Russian. Later, it was given the name “The Black Obelisk”. The author of the monument text is Chaim Maltinsky and the stonemason Morduch Sprishen sculpted the monument. In 2006, a memorial was also opened here. This project was created by the architect Leonid Levin. The sculptors and creators of the sculptural composition “Going to Death” or “The Last Path” are Alexander Finsky and the Israeli Elsa Polak, a former captive of the Warsaw ghetto and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.