Tuesday, February 24, 2004


No, no new news about the case.

But, I would very much like to say something for health care here in Belarus. Yesterday I crawled home from my writing with a temperature of 38.8 (about 102 farenheight) and slept the rest of the day. In the evening, Tatyana got for me over-the-counter anti-biotics and intravenous vitamins B6 and B12 from the local pharmacy. Cost: about $3. Today, I have been at it since early this morning without problem or temperature. No doctors visit, no insurance, no co-payment, no hassles… three dollars. What do you think about that?

I have only a few words today though.

About a week after the two group murders in August of 1941, a “looting squad” arrived in town.
This special German company was employed specifically for the purpose of removing the valuables that could be found in Jewish homes. Gold, jewelry, money, furniture, clothing- really anything that could be seen as being of value could be taken at any time. Often the families would go into hiding rather than be present. Women who tried to hide property, were forced to load the stolen goods onto the cars themselves.

After the looting squads left town, a new set of anti-Semetic rules were put in place. Jews were at first required to keep to the middle of the roads, the sidewalks not being the proper place for them as it would mean that they would be walking with “Christian” people. Anyone caught walking on the sidewalks would of course be shot. This rule was later changed when it was found that the cars were now driving on the sidewalks rather than mixing with the Jews.

There was then a series of public hangings held in what is now Lenin Square. The offences were such things as hiding valuables or clothing, exchanging wool for food, cycle for flour. There were hangings every day.

This was the life the remaining Jews of Pinsk throughout the remainder of 1941 and the beginning of 1942. In the meantime, a wall was being built; a ghetto was being created.

On April 30th 1942 the order came for all Jews not currently living within the confines of the ghetto to move there by 4:00pm May 1st. People were only permitted to take with them Kitchen tools, bedding and some clothes. No furniture was permitted, nor was the use of carts to bring things in.

20,000 remaining Jews spent the day being counted into the Ghetto. No fewer than 10 people per room were allowed. All of the bedding was simply dropped on the floor as no beds were allowed. There were only two water pumps available for the whole ghetto.


There are quite a few monuments to the war in Pinsk. I have heard it said that one couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one. Off Lenin street there are two; one to Vera Zaharovna Hordziya, a partisan fighter who died returning to Pinsk after fighting for four years in Vtebsk, and another for Ivan Choklai, another partisan here.

Pretty much every park in Pinsk has one.

But, I hadn't understood until three days ago why there was no monument or writing of any kind at a small park that sits along side Zavinal Street. The park consists of a thin strip of elevated ground, some grass, a few trees and a brick fence that runs the length of the park at the rear. There were benches for people to sit, but they have all been taken away.

And then I saw the map in the document that I listed from the internet yesterday. This park I suppose was made as a memorial for the Ghetto, which existed right across the street. I didn’t know this until earlier this week.

The place on that map that has been designated at the “old cemetery” is now, and has been for a long time a kindergarten. The place that was Karlin Cemetery is now a middle school. “Linishtches” is the site of one of Pinsk’s three bazaars.

The names of some of the streets have changed, but others still remain. Zavalna still exists, as does Roveskia. Albrektovskaya Street now though is called Kirova, Bernardinski is now called Sovietska and Polnotsna is now Leningradskaya. I am very familiar with these three streets because they make up the triangle where the house I have been living in Pinsk is located.

I have not quite come to grips with this information yet. I have been thinking and feeling too many things to report on it.

I'll try though.

More tomorrow.