The Jewish community of Rostov gathered on Friday, August 11, to commemorate 75 years since the largest mass killing of Jews in Russia during the Holocaust.
On August 11-12, 1942, the Nazis ordered all Jewish residents of Rostov to gather at various gathering points around town, to be “evacuated to safety.”
Jews of every age were then marched to the outskirts of town where they were ruthlessly and systematically killed at a place known as Zmievskaya Balka – Snakes Valley, in the course of two short days.
This week, 75 years since that horrific tragedy, the Jewish community was joined by the Israeli ambassador to Russia as well as other dignitaries for a “March of the Living” which ended at the memorial site of Zmievskaya Balka.
Many of the participants attended wearing yellow stars and holding pictures of their loved ones who perished. Tehillim and Kaddish were recited in memory of the Kedoshim killed Al Kidush Hashem.
It has been seventy five years since this horrific atrocity, but the Jewish flame is still alive and strong. Despite what the Nazis have done in the city, Rostov has witnessed an incredible revival of Jewish life, with so many Jewish people of every age continuously joining the Synagogue to reclaim their roots and embrace their Yiddishkeit.
When Shliach Rabbi Chaim Danzinger asked some of the students before the event if they participated in the March held five years ago at Zmievskaya Balka with Rabbi Lau in attendance, several of them replied in the negative, explaining that at that time they were not yet affiliated with the Jewish community.
This is symbolic of the incredible growth that continues to take place in the city. It is the ultimate proof of our victory over the Nazis. As the Rostov community is preparing for a Bris for an eight day old baby this week and a chuppah in three weeks, the rebirth that is taking place is nothing short of a miracle.