Anna Machiz – Testimonies of Tragedy and Resistance in the Minsk Ghetto 1941 – 1943

In 2017, on a visit to Belarus, Debra Brunner, co-founder and CEO of The Together Plan was handed a book in Russian by Leonid Tsyrinsky, a survivor of the Minsk Ghetto. His request was that we translate and publish this book from Russian to English. Only 200 copies of this book in Russian had ever been published for private distribution.

In 2020, during the Covid pandemic, Debra began the process. She approached one of our volunteers, Nick Trapp, a talented Russian speaker who agreed to work on the translation. This was the first step that started the long journey to bring this incredibly important book to publication. A dedicated team came together to work on the historical research, editing, proofreading and fact checking. Three and a half years later, on October 17th 2023, the book was published.

This is a rare personal and detailed memoir of a survivor of the Minsk Ghetto, written in December 1943, almost immediately after the liquidation of the ghetto. It is a testimony to the Holocaust on the territory of Belarus. Anna Machiz was a remarkable woman who played a leading role in the establishment of the Minsk Ghetto resistance movement. To avoid certain death she escaped the ghetto, successfully reaching the partisans where she recorded her experiences on a typewriter in the forest. After the war Anna faded into anonymity, along with her memoir that was locked away in the KGB archives. Now for the first time it can be read by all. Between 1941 and 1943 almost 100,000 Jews in the Minsk Ghetto were brutally murdered. Anna Machiz survived the horror of the ghetto, then again when she wrote about it, and then again when she talked about it. She remembered it all her life… When you read her lines, imbued with pain, horror and fear, you also feel a great desire to live. Many innocent Jews did all they could to resist. They carried out sabotage missions, organised the underground in the ghetto and fought in the partisan detachments. Each person’s individual contribution to their common salvation was invaluable. A doctor, a musician, a professor, a writer − everyone was equally powerless against the madness of the Nazis. There was no family in which there were no victims.

The story of the extermination of almost 100,000 Jews in the Minsk Ghetto is one of the most tragic in Europe. Anna Machiz is one of a few hundred survivors. She left us with her legacy, her witness account, which decades on, we can now finally read. Very few documents about the Minsk Ghetto have been preserved. There are almost no photos, and hardly anyone outside of Belarus has ever heard of it. From what we know through the testimonies of prisoners who had been incarcerated in other ghettos, the cruelty of the Nazis and the police in Minsk was incomparable to the conditions in other ghettos in Europe. The publication of the book of Anna Machiz’s memories and her family archive will fill the information gap and tell the world about the Holocaust in Belarus.

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Please note that we generally advise 1 – 2 weeks for delivery due to global shipping delays. We ship all books via Royal Mail and will organise the relevant customs requirements at the time of shipping. There may be a customs release fee that you are charged once the book arrives at your destination country. Unfortunately this is out of our control and is therefore, not included in the order total.

We Remember Lest the World Forget – Memories of the Minsk Ghetto

Anna Machiz – Testimonies of Tragedy and Resistance in the Minsk Ghetto 1941 – 1943 is the second book that The Together Plan has translated and published as part of the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project. The first book, We Remember Lest the World Forget – Memories of the Minsk Ghetto was published in 2018.