Through our dedicated team of experienced archivists across Belarus, we have been astounded at the history we have been able to unearth over recent years, with an unparalleled richness of detail down to street names, livelihoods and even the animals people owned.
From the moment our team hears from new clients, we embark on a special journey together. With fragments of information about places, names and even buildings, we have been able to map back generations, providing a valuable glimpse into personal family history and all manner of information about daily life as it was.
“I had learned that, unlike other Eastern European countries, the records from Belarus were not accessible online. One needs a researcher on the ground in Minsk, who knows genealogy, and understands Russian. I was attracted to The Together Plan because it is a non-profit dedicated to reviving Jewish communities in Belarus.
After getting the research results, my family and I were shocked to see our family history back to the 1740s, along with a detailed story about my great-grandfather. I knew the Tsar had forced the Jews to take surnames in 1804, and now I knew the name of our family’s first “Kaplan”. I never imagined learning that…Wow, Amazing and Incredible”.
On a personal level, finding Ancestors is a first step in reclaiming one’s own heritage – defining identity and, perhaps, even sharpening future purpose.
On a broader level, such as with the new ‘Story Bank’ initiative from The Together Plan we can draw deeper levels of information from these reports, adding layers of context to what the world can learn about Belarus – a land that still holds too many stories and secrets; facts that define us as a people and map our journey through a history of persecution and political oppression.
It doesn’t stop there! The Story Bank will, in turn, inform the Jewish Cultural Heritage Trail The Together Plan is uniquely positioned to create. As an official member of the AEPJ, the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, we are actively supporting the preservation, appreciation and promotion of Jewish culture and heritage in Belarus by building a route through the country with the local Jewish and wider non-Jewish communities at the heart. Visitors to Belarus, together with those living in the country, will have interactive, digital means to explore the rich history of Belarus – from the most painful moments in its history to its most vibrant and creative personality and famed inhabitants.
The Together Plan’s mission is to empower and strengthen living communities in Belarus around Jewish identity, heritage and history. Connecting those in the diaspora to their Belarus ancestry and the country they left behind when fleeing intensifying persecution was the only option, is also a key component of our work. This is how the past, present and future all connect and the time to pull these strings together is now.
We invite you to take this unique voyage of discovery with us – and while personal history is one way of leaving a legacy for your descendants to treasure, your path of discovery will also enrich learning for generations of others. We couldn’t be more hopeful for or closer to a future where our Jewish story is told in full, with Belarus as the open gateway to crucial knowledge, right at the centre.
To find out more and start your journey, please visit our Archive Research Services page.