Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Documentation and Education
Minsk Ghetto Map
Nazi forces occupied Minsk, capital of the Belorus Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) in the Soviet Union, shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. During the German occupation, the Belorus SSR became part of the Reich Commissariat Ostland (Reichskommissariat Ostland). Within this Nazi civilian administration, Minsk became a district capital. Wilhelm Kube, the Nazi general commissioner of Belorus, governed from Minsk.
In late July 1941, the Nazi established a ghetto in the northwestern part of Minsk. About 80,000 people, including Jews from nearby towns, were crowded into the Minsk ghetto.
Between November 1941 and October 1942, over 20,000 Jews from Germany and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia were deported to Minsk. Many were shot or gassed in special gas vans upon arrival in Maly Trostinets, a small village about eight miles to the east. Others were housed in a separate ghetto in Minsk that segregated German Jews from local Belorus Jews. Little contact was permitted between residents of the two ghettos.
Jews were forced to work on labor projects in factories inside the two ghettos. Jews were also forced to perform forced labor outside the ghettos, especially in the Shiroka Street labor camp and the opera house (where confiscated Jewish private property was sorted and stored).