A Soviet underground anti-Nazi organisation was active in Brześć between August 1942 and 28 July 1944. A.G. Hołowcziner led one of its groups. The troops of the 1st Mechanised Corps played an active role in taking over the town on 28 July 1944. They were led by General-Lieutenant Siemion Kriwoszein, later a Hero of the Soviet Union and an honorary citizen of Brześć. A Park of Glory was established in the town after the war, where ten Heroes of the Soviet Union were buried. One of them was Abram Tarnopolski, the commander of the Rifle Battalion of the 234th Guards Regiment. He died on 27 July 1944 in the battle for the town. Poet and singer Michaił Jasień (Goldman) devoted a ballad to his memory and called it “The Music of War Thundered,” with music by composer Michaił Zachlewnyj. The song premiere took place on 21 June 1996 at the gate to the Brześć Fortress - a Hero memorial complex.
On 28 July 1944, Brześć was liberated by the troops of the 1st Belorussian Front. Out of 26,000 Brześć Jews only 17 survived, including Oszer Zisman, Tatiana Gutman and sisters Maria Kacaf and Wiera Bakałasz.
In 1946, Brześć Jews erected a monument to the victims of the genocide. In Kujbyszew street, where 5,000 Jews were shot dead, there was a red star and an inscription in Yiddish on the monument. It did not refer to Jewish victims, but to “Soviet citizens.” In 1974, the monument was removed. The Jewish community protested and sent complaints to party and state authorities. As a result, the remains of the victims were transferred to the municipal cemetery.
Philosopher Zachariasz Zimak, the founder of Brześć association of Jewish culture Tarbut, came up with the idea of commemorating the tragic death of Brześć Jews. He had devoted many years to collecting materials on the genocide of Brześć Jews. On 18 July 1991, the municipal executive committee made a special decision on the future obelisk, and in September the town’s chief architect Aleksiej Iwanowski found a suitable location. Together with Jewgienij Lewit, he prepared a design of the monument. The work was supervised by Kim Rutman. A large part of the monument funding was provided by Brześć Jews living in the United States, Argentina and Israel.
In October 1992, a monument to the memory of the murdered Jews was erected, which bore inscriptions in three languages: Belarussian, Yiddish and Hebrew. The genocide is also commemorated by obelisks located in the Płosk and Triszyn cemeteries, where the remains of the last Jews from the pits were laid down.
Jews had their own synagogue until 1959. Later, it was taken away and converted into a cinema. Currently, the former synagogue building houses the Progress club and The End Company. A court case between these two entities and the community lasted for a year and a half (1991-1992). On 5 October 1992, the commercial court of the Brześć district ordered to return the former synagogue building to the Jewish religious community, but soon after the ruling was rejected by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus. Religious Brześć Jews still do not have a synagogue.
Some 2,000 Jews lived in Brześć in 1970, according to estimations. An all-union census of January 1989 states the number of Brześć inhabitants at 255,990, including 1,080 Jews. Some 1,000 Jews lived in Brześć in 1994 and some 800 at the end of 1996, according to estimations.
The Jewish religious community of Brześć was reborn in 1991. The town has eight Jewish organisations. These include Jewish Culture and Education Association Tarbut, the Council of Women, the Jewish Religious Community, the Jewish Sunday School, the municipal branch of the Belorussian Union of Jews-Veterans of the Great Patriotic War, Invalids, Guerillas and Activists of Underground Resistance, the municipal branch of the Association of Jews-Former Prisoners of Ghettos and Concentration Camps, a branch of international education centre Holocaust and the Centre of Research on the History and Culture of the Polesie Region Jews.
Numerous Brześć Jews are known all over Belarus. In 1995, Arkadij Bljacher, branch manager of the science and education centre Holocaust, was included among the ten “Brześć Citizens of the Year” in the Brzeski Kurier daily. Michaił Joffe, the CEO of the Gazoapparat company is also a popular figure. Inventor and scientist Jewgienij Ureckij is the leader of the Brześć branch of the Belarus Green Party. Professor Grigorij Szulman, chairman of the board of Jewish Culture and Education Association Tarbut, is a renowned social activist. Writer, playwright and scriptwriter Josif Prut lived in Brześć for a couple of years in 1990s.
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