You Do a Holy Work! Preparation for the March of Life in Belarus

The consequences of the devastation caused by Germans through the Holocaust and the war of extermination in Belarus are still visible today. What happens when a group of young adults from Germany come to Belarus to prepare for the March of Life?

Twenty young people from Tuebingen came to Belarus for a five day trip to go to historical sites and meet Holocaust survivors. In Minsk, the Holocaust survivor Maja Krapina led the group through the former ghetto, where she was a prisoner with her family as a six-year-old. Her story shocked the young people profoundly: during the three years of the ghetto’s existence, she had seen her mother stifle her sister during a raid by German soldiers for fear that the weeping baby would lead the soldiers to their hideout. When her mother didn’t come home one day, Maja went looking for her and found her hanged on a gallows.

When preparing for the trip, some of the German participants had discovered that their ancestors had been involved in the crimes of the Wehrmacht in the East. At a meeting with Holocaust survivors from Minsk, they told these stories of their families’ guilt and asked those present for forgiveness. A woman, who had been a child in the ghetto, stood up and shouted visibly moved, "You are doing a holy work! Please do not stop! It is so important that you come here." One of those present said, "I am already the third generation, just as you are the third generation after the Shoah. To this day, I found it hard to hear the German language. But when you asked for forgiveness for your families, a burden fell from me."

The March of Life in Minsk is expected to take place in October 2017.

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