• Memorial Plaque in Honour of Thousands of Jews from Grodno
A memorial on the premises of the former ghetto of Grodno (Belarusian: Hrodna) commemorates the approximately 25,000 Jews who perished there between 1941 and 1943, or were deported by the SS to death camps and murdered.
Image: Grodno, undated, Pre-war townscape, Feliks Woroszylski, Hamburg
Grodno, undated, Pre-war townscape, Feliks Woroszylski, Hamburg

Image: Grodno, 2004, Memorial at the entrance to the former ghetto, Stiftung Denkmal
Grodno, 2004, Memorial at the entrance to the former ghetto, Stiftung Denkmal
Grodno, which is located on the Neman River, was part of Poland following World War I. During the interwar period, about 21,000 Jews lived in Grodno and comprised about half of the town's population. In accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Red Army occupied eastern Poland, including Grodno, at the start of the war, and Grodno was now situated on the new border. The German Wehrmacht took Grodno on June 23, 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In November 1941, the Gestapo established two ghettos in Grodno: one for approximately 10,000 Jewish forced labourers and one for Jews deemed »unproductive«. In the autumn of 1942, over 20,000 Jews from the Grodno area were assembled at the former POW camp Kielbasin (also: Kolbasino). In mid-November 1942, when the Germans began liquidating the ghetto, about 44,000 Jews were imprisoned in the Grodno ghetto. At his time, one of the ghettos was dismantled and the Jews deemed »useless« to the SS were deported to Auschwitz and murdered. Parallel to that, over 23,000 Jews from the Kielbasin camp were also deported to the Auschwitz death camp. The remaining Jews had to move into the ghetto for forced labourers. This ghetto remained in existence until January 1943, after which it too was liquidated by the SS: over 10,000 Jews were deported from Grodno to Auschwitz and for the most part murdered in the gas chambers. When the Red Army liberated Grodno in mid-July 1944, there were only about 200 Jews left in Grodno.
Image: Grodno, undated, Pre-war townscape, Feliks Woroszylski, Hamburg
Grodno, undated, Pre-war townscape, Feliks Woroszylski, Hamburg

Image: Grodno, 2004, Memorial at the entrance to the former ghetto, Stiftung Denkmal
Grodno, 2004, Memorial at the entrance to the former ghetto, Stiftung Denkmal
The entire Jewish community - about 21,000 men, women and children - were deported by the SS from the Grodno ghettos to the death camps at Auschwitz and Treblinka, where almost all of them were murdered. Over 23,000 Jews from the Grodno area were murdered at death camps after being deported from the Kielbasin transit camp.
Image: Grodno, November 2, 1941, Resettlement to the ghetto in the centre of the city, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny
Grodno, November 2, 1941, Resettlement to the ghetto in the centre of the city, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny

Image: Grodno, July 2004, Memorial plaque at the entrance to the former ghetto in Zamkovaja Street, Stiftung Denkmal
Grodno, July 2004, Memorial plaque at the entrance to the former ghetto in Zamkovaja Street, Stiftung Denkmal
After World War II, only about 200 Jews remained in Grodno, which was now part of the Soviet Union. They soon emigrated to Israel or the US. In 1965, a memorial was unveiled on the site of the former Kielbasin transit camp, commemorating, according to its inscription, the over 14.000 victims of the camp.
In 1991/1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a memorial plaque and a menorah were set up at the entrance to the former ghetto. The memorial was donated by two former ghetto inmates, the re-established Jewish community of Grodno and the municipality.
In the centre of town, at the sothern end of Bolshaya Troitskaya Street, the Great Synagogue of Grodno still stands. It was erected at the beginning of the 20th century and renovated in the 2010s. Since 2012 it hosts a museum, dedicated to the Jewish history of Grodno. There had also been a Jewish cemetery in the same area, but in the 1950s the Soviet authorities had it levelled and converted into a parking lot. Now, there is a shopping mall on the site.
Image: Grodno, 2006, Memorial for the victims of the Kielbasin (Kolbasino) transit camp, www.jhrgbelarus.org
Grodno, 2006, Memorial for the victims of the Kielbasin (Kolbasino) transit camp, www.jhrgbelarus.org

Image: Grodno, 2017, The renovated Great Synagogue, IBB Minsk
Grodno, 2017, The renovated Great Synagogue, IBB Minsk
Name
Memorialnaja doska pamjati tysjatschej ewreew g. Grodno
Address
Zamkovaja Street
230000 Hrodna