The Untold Stories

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Content-Author: Ingolf Seidel

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The "Untold Stories is a project by Yad Vashem:

"The mass murder of Jews in the occupied areas of the former Soviet Union began with the German invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941. The Wehrmacht combat units were accompanied by four SS death squads (Einsatzgruppen A,B,C,D), whose mission was the immediate liquidation of all Jews (men, women and children). Day after day, together with local collaborators, the Einsatzgruppen carried out this mission – without restraint or compromise. From the Baltic regions in the north – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – across to Belorussia, Russia and Ukraine, and down to the borders of the Caucasian regions in the south, they combed every area under their occupation for Jews, and murdered each and every one they laid their hands on. 

This site currently presents information about the fate of Jews from locations in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia who were murdered at many different mass murder sites, as well as about the postwar activity of Jews in commemorating the Holocaust victims. All the geographical terms appear as indicated in the official population censuses before the war.
The construction of the site employed a considerable number of documents, photographs and video materials from the Yad Vashem Archives and other archives, including video testimonies given by survivors to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, as well as from private collections. Use was also made of Holocaust research and memoirs, along with the Yiddish-, Russian- and Hebrew-language press.

The three main thematic divisions of the site tell concisely and informatively about:
  • Community: the prewar life of Jews in each location and their fate during the years of the Nazi occupation
  • Murder Sites: the murder actions, the perpetrators and the places where Jews were killed by the Nazis and 
    their local collaborators
  • Commemoration: postwar activities commemorating Holocaust victims.
Each of the three divisions contains extensive supplementary material presented as “Related Resources.” The related resources in Community contain a “List of Jewish Victims” and stories of “Righteous Among the Nations.” The related resources in Murder Sites contain eyewitness reports and documents under the headings of “Soviet Reports,” “Written Testimonies,” “Written Accounts” and “German Reports.” The related resources in Commemoration include written testimony and information from Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names (Pages of Testimony). Each of these sections is accompanied by videos.
While the preparation of the site involved the use of all available materials related to the topics, only the most important ones, of general interest, appear on the site itself. Although they are often closely related, materials that differ in genre and source sometimes appear in different sections of the site in order to create an overall picture of topics and events. Sometimes different sources give contradictory information (for example, the dates of shootings or the number of those killed). In such cases, the texts on the site include all the information, thus illustrating the complexity of such a project."
Read more on the website "The Untold Stories".


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