Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

An Israeli filmmaker follows the traces of the “forgotten Holocaust”: The Soviet Shoah

Rußland, Judenverfolgung Judenfrauen werden rückbefördert 17.7.1941

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/17/17

Boris Maftsir's documentary series on the Shoah attempts to prevent the “other holocaust” from falling into oblivion

According to Boris Maftsir, an Israeli filmmaker, most narratives on the Holocaust only tell half the story: that of the destruction of the Western European Jewry. One hardly ever hears about the “forgotten Holocaust”: the Soviet Shoah.

The Nazis put the Soviet Jews in a separate category, labeling them “Judeo-Bolsheviks.” They considered them to be specially dangerous so, with a few exceptions, Nazis invading the Soviet Union never built ghettos or transported Jews elsewhere, as they did with German and Polish Jews. Rather, they would just kill them on the spot, in mass executions in both urban and rural environments.

The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. By the end of that year, they had already killed one million Jews both in the Soviet Union and the Baltic area. As Izabella Tavarosky points out in her article for Tablet, “that is the equivalent of the total number of Jews killed at Auschwitz during the entire war.” By the next year, the Nazis had killed another 700,000 Russian Jews. Of the estimated less than three million Soviet Jews who lived under Nazi occupation, only around 115,000 survived. And these numbers do not include the Jews who died in battle, as soldiers in the Red Army.

This is the story Maftsir is trying to tell in his project, Holocaust in the USSR. In Soviet times, for either political, ideological or other reasons, the Holocaust was never remembered, studied or archived as it was in Western Europe. It is known that in the whole territory once occupied by the Soviet Union, around 2,000 places can be connected to the Shoah. So far, Maftsir has already traveled to 160 of them, looking to archive the “living memory” still found in both victims, survivors and witnesses.

To read the whole article, as published in Tablet, you can click here. And if you want to get to know Maftsir’s project, you can click here.

World War II
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.