Our special needs community coordinator in Minsk, Boris Batchovsky, has been actively promoting our campaign to put public signs on the highway to the Bronnaya Gora Massacre site in the Brest region in the south of Belarus. In this place, deep in the forest, 50,000 Jews were murdered in 1942, but it remains hidden and impossible to find. Boris is a Jewish Belarusian. All of his father’s family perished during the war so this cause is dear to his heart.
Boris is wheelchair-bound and runs special needs sports programmes in Minsk. Last week, as part of his sports programme, he arranged for a boccia event to take place in support of this campaign and he took time to tell everyone participating about Bronnaya Gora and why it is an important site to preserve for Belarus.
Many Belarusians themselves have very little knowledge about the atrocities wrought on the Jewish communities of Belarus during the Second World War. This history is under threat of fading away which is why our Jewish Cultural Heritage Trail is such an important and exciting project. All across Belarus, we are endeavouring to involve local people to take part in this project so that they can contribute and also learn about this part of their history.
To see sports being used as a vehicle to create awareness and deliver education is absolutely fantastic, but this has a double impact because it also enables the special needs community members to also feel valued and included in the building of a Jewish cultural heritage trail. Truly a real together plan and a real win-win.
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