Artur Livshyts in his role as the Vice Chair of the Jewish Religious Union of Belarus, embarked on a recent visit to the Belarus National Archives. The cultural theme in Belarus this year is ‘Peace and Creation’ and as part of the activities around this theme, the National Archives in Minsk have been extending invitations and holding meetings with representatives from different confessions and denominations.
The Belarus National Archive stands as a treasure trove of historical documents, photographs, and records, preserving the cultural heritage of the nation. Recognising the significance of these archives, Artur Livshyts engaged with the rich repository of Belarusian history and was able to explore some of the Jewish archival materials and the narratives and stories of the past. One unique and well preserved document that was explored was that relating to a Jew honoured as a nobleman by the Tsar Nicholas II in 1895. This is particularly significant as 1895 is the year after Tsar Alexander III died at the age of 49. Alexander III was vehemently anti-Jewish having blamed the assassination of his father Alexander II on the Jews which led to violent pogroms in 1881.
Together with the resident archivist Artur was able to examine artefacts, maps and documents all with Jewish provenance. There was much to see and discuss demonstrating the depth of information that is available to be researched in the archives.
Artur’s visit to the Belarus National Archives was not just a solitary exploration; it also served as a catalyst for future collaborations. Recognising the potential for cross-cultural exchange and learning, he expressed his hopes for establishing collaborative initiatives between the Jewish Religious Union of Belarus and the archives. These collaborations could involve joint research projects, educational programmes, and exhibitions, fostering a deeper understanding of Belarusian Jewish history and strengthening ties between communities. There is a promising opportunity to expand research, enhance educational programs, and promote cultural understanding. Artur’s’ hopes for the future include joint exhibitions, digitisation projects, and the creation of educational resources that shed light on the shared history and heritage of Belarusian Jewish communities.
Artur’s’ visit to the Belarus National Archives symbolises the commitment to preserving cultural heritage, fostering collaboration, and promoting dialogue and tolerance. As Vice Chair of the Jewish Religious Union of Belarus, Livshyts seeks to bring Jewish heritage to the forefront, while also building bridges between communities. The envisioned collaborations between the Union and the national archives hold immense potential for fostering understanding, inclusivity, and a shared appreciation of Belarusian Jewish history. The visit marks a significant milestone in bridging the past with the aspirations of a harmonious future, encouraging societies and communities to learn from the richness of a Belarusian Jewish history yet to be told.
The Together Plan has a professional search service for anyone looking for help in finding ancestral records in the Belarus archives. For more information please click here.