Introduction to the exhibition

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Maly Trascjanec is a small village located just a few kilometers southeast of the Belarusian capital Minsk. Its inconspicuous surroundings developed into one of the largest extermination sites on the territory of the former Soviet Union after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Between 1941 and 1944, thousands of Jewish people, partisans and members of the Soviet intelligentsia were deported to Maly Trascjanec and cruelly murdered. Yet despite the cruelty, the place is little known in the European culture of remembrance. It also remained long forgotten in Soviet memory.

Shortly after the liberation of Belarus, a few mourning rallies were held on the former site of the camp near Maly Trascjanec. Soon, however, the complex was used for other purposes again, fell into disrepair and was forgotten. The first memorials were erected in the 1960s in Maly Trascjanec, Vjaliki Trascjanec and in the Šaškoŭka forest. A memorial stone was placed at the site of the execution in the Blahaǔščyna forest only in the 2000s. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the site again received increased and, above all, international attention. Driven by citizens' initiatives, planning began for the construction of a memorial with the claim of forming a pan-European memorial landscape. Work on the site has not been completed to this day.

This digital exhibition aims to give you insights into the transformation of the Maly Trascjanec extermination site from its place in the Soviet narrative of remembrance to today's culture of remembrance. One interactive map gives an overview of the commemorative landscape and the commemorative objects. Introductory texts on the local culture of remembrance provide background information. The focus of the exhibition is on the monuments, which, arranged according to the time they were erected, show the development of the culture of remembrance.

In cooperation with the History Workshop in Minsk, the exhibition was developed by Ron Wilke BA, Kristin Waßmann BA and Michelle Ostermaier, students of the History Department at the University of Osnabrück. The elaboration took place within the framework of the seminar "Extermination site Maly Trascjanec. From the exploration to the presentation of violent sites of the Shoah and the war of extermination" under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Christopher Rass.

Trigger warning: Some exhibition pages deal explicitly with the murder of people and may be disturbing to visitors. Accessing the exhibition pages is at your own risk.

Introduction to the exhibition