Choose your language
Use our multimedia maps, and explore the family pictures, archival material, and personal stories of 21 Jewish Holocaust survivors to get a unique insight into Europe’s rich Jewish heritage, and to discover sites of Jewish life in towns in Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.
The Minsk ghetto was located largely within the confines of Ratamskaya, Astrouski, Tankavaya, Respublikanskaya, Apanski and Sukhaya Streets.
When the Nazis invaded Belarus in June 1941, the Jews of Minsk and the surrounding areas were forced to move into the Minsk ghetto within five days. From November 1941, the territory was surrounded by barbed wire, and Jews were only allowed to leave the area in working commands.
The gates to the ghetto were located at Apanski and Astrouski Streets and separated the Jewish population from the gentile citizens of the city, as Elena Drapkina recalls:
“One day after Varya visited me in the ghetto, I went to see her [at] the ghetto gates. We saw inscriptions on the gateposts around the territory of the ghetto: GENTILES ARE NOT ADMITTED (the same was written in German). Varya and I stood on different sides of the ghetto limit, and at that moment a German officer appeared nearby. He had seen Varya (she was blond) leaving the ghetto territory. He approached her and said ‘Are you crazy? Where are you going?’ The officer took her to the gate-post and ordered ‘Read the inscription! Did you understand it?’ Then he shouted ‘Nach Hause!’ When I came home and told Mum about the incident, she decided to forbid girls their visits”.