Execution Ground of my Ancestors

1500 Jews of Nyesviz were shot here on October 30, 1941.  First the children were shot dead and half dead, buried, and then their parents were shot.

The fascists who murdered them and their capitalist unindicted co-conspirators quite rightly saw that my ancestors were mortal enemies of their rotten system.  My ancestors, before they were exterminated by these filthy beasts were in the forefront of the Soviet movement to destroy the Polish occupation and to destroy their capitalist system.  They helped to lay the foundation for a post-capitalist system with a qualitatively higher level of social democracy.  My ancestors transcended their time and place, carried out a social revolution and then were murdered by the beasts who tried to maintain the old system through barbarism but who, in the end, failed.

Path to the Execution Ground of My Ancestors

Here is a statue that marks the path to the execution ground of my ancestors.  An angel watches over a little boy as he marches to his death.  The statue and execution ground is located in the back of the park formerly owned by the feudal barons Radziwill.

My Cousin’s House on Liebknecht Street

After the genocide and the war, the houses of murdered Jews were reoccupied often by non-Jewish Belarussians.  Happily in the case of my cousin’s house, it seems that the house is now owned by a Jew living in the main Jewish city of Belarus and renting it out to a Roma woman and her daughter.

Michala Street was the main street of the ghetto in Nyesviz.  After the war, the comrades renamed it Liebknecht Street in honor of the German Communist martyr Karl Liebknecht, murdered by the Friekorps on order of the right wing of the German Social Democratic Party during the uprisings in 1919.

I am proud that the street was renamed for this leading German comrade as it shows international solidarity in the wake of the genocide and points to the role of Jews in liberating Nyesviz from the boot of the Polish occupiers.

“Really living life” vs the Russian Revolution: Watching Doctor Zhivago fifty years on

A communist at large

When you’re trapped in an aeroplane seat for twelve hours, you will watch almost any movie to take your mind off the noise of the engines and the thought of the hours of immobility ahead. It was under circumstances such as these that I watched Doctor Zhivago recently, almost 50 years after its original release. I was a child when it first came out, forbidden by both state and parental censorship from seeing it, but I do remember that it caused quite a stir, in the Cold War atmosphere of the time. I remember the adults around me discussing it, if not the content of those discussions.

Poster for the movie Doctor Zhivago 1965

The book of the same title on which it was based, by Soviet poet and novelist Boris Pasternak, had been subject to an intense and spiteful campaign of censorship by the Soviet authorities, who spared to…

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Khatyn Memorial Complex

This memorial complex is situated on the land of the former village of Khatyn.  It was the USSR’s answer to the Polish and western charges/propaganda over the Katyn killings.

The traditional figure is that one out of every four Belarussians were killed by capitalism.

The corresponding figure for Poland would be one out of five killed in the war, or one out of seven if you don’t count Polish Jews among the total as many of our Polish nationalists do not count Polish Jews as real Poles.

I have read recently the charge that the USSR killed three to four out of every 100 Poles, most of them counterrevolutionaries.

By some estimates, as many as 4 out of every 10 Belarussians were killed, murdered, exiled, enslaved etc by capitalism in its fascist variant.

In my family, to our knowledge, all members of our family that remained behind were killed or murdered.   Of course the genocide was so complete and the chaos was so devastating that we will probably never know what exactly happened to those who remained behind in our shtetl.  In that, we are not alone.

Again, however, I take comfort in the knowledge that my ancestors smote the iniquitous before their annihilation and most importantly, destroyed capitalism for a whole epoch.

Slava geroim!  Slava Komsomola!