Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia

TitlePioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWalke, Anika
Number of Pages317
PublisherOxford University Press

Among the 800,000 Belorussian Jews killed by the German Nazi regime and local collaborators were parents and other relatives of thousands of young Jews who survived the war. Young girls and boys thus became orphans and struggled for survival on their own. In order to make sense of the experiences and memories of this first generation of Soviet Jews, the book looks to the 1930s, a period when the notions of internationalism, or interethnic solidarity, and social equality were promoted and a partly lived reality. These elements of Soviet policy established a powerful framework for the ways in which survivors of the genocide understood, survived, and, several decades after the war, represented their experience of violence and displacement. Oral histories with Jews in the former Soviet Union reveal that age and gender are crucial factors for experiencing, surviving, and remembering the Nazi genocide in Soviet territories. Tracking particular individuals and framing their stories against a broader historical and cultural backdrop, the study reveals the shift in perspective that Soviet Jewish children and adolescents had to undergo. 

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