The Jewish community of Irkutsk has established a Jewish memorial to victims of political repression. It was erected in the village Pivovarikha, where a mass grave was discovered two decades ago. According to official sources, an estimated 10,000 victims of Stalin’s death-squads were brought to Pivovarikha and dumped in ditches.
Among those murdered and buried in such an inhumane manner were people of different ages, professions, religions and nationalities. While a memorial to these victims of political repression was established several years ago, it was not until just several months ago that Jewish community members Pavel Lontsikh and Mark Finkelshtein proposed establishing a Jewish memorial at this same site.
In August, a memorial plaque was installed to honor the memory of the Jewish victims and all of the victims buried here. The Jewish community of Irkutsk organized a commemorative gathering on this occasion and memorial prayer, where participants lit candles and honored the dead in other ways.
The event was attended by local and regional government officials, members of the Jewish community of Irkutsk, and local non-Jews and was covered by the local media.
The setting up of the memorial plaque was made possible through support from community members Mr. Lontsikh and G. Blaginin, whose grandfather and father, respectively, were buried here. The two men were presented with a Torah book by Chief Rabbi of the Irkutsk Region Aaron Wagner in appreciation of their efforts to memorialize the fallen victims.
The Jewish community of Irkutsk is a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.