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World A Jewish legacy is vanishing in Belarus 70 years after Hitler

On June 22, 1941, Hitler’s men swept into Belarus and within a short period, killed some 800,000 of the Jews living there. Of those who remained, most left. A few stayed, but even now that number is dwindling.

By Judith MatloffContributor / June 22, 2011

Diana Markosian

For hundreds of years Jews lived in little towns called shtetls across Belarus, simple lives of wooden houses, dirt lanes, and Yiddish schools. Then 70 years ago, on June 22, 1941, Hitler’s men swept in and within a short period exterminated perhaps 800,000 of the Jews living there, 8 out of 10. Most survivors couldn’t bear to remain in their villages after the war, and they moved to big cities or abroad.