"This is a Jewish city, and the Jews are not concerned for the place they live in. They have turned Bobruisk into a pigsty. Look at Israel – I was there." -Mustached Belarusian Leader Alexander Lukashenko.Paradoxically, Lukashenko added, "I call on Jews who have money to come back to Bobruisk."
Lukashenko's anti-semitic remarks came less than ten days after vandals destroyed 15 graves at a Jewish cemetery in Bobruisk.
Bobriusk was once a thriving city with a sizable Jewish population. Of course, that was before Hitler's armies came to town.
According to the always reliable Wikipedia:
Believing that German troops would not target civlians, many Jews stayed behind. Consequently, 20,000 Babruysk Jews were shot and buried in mass graves. Ghetto and labor camps were established in the southwest part of town. The conditions inside the camps were horrible and involved lack of food, lack of sanitation and perpetual abuse by the Nazi guards. Soon the Nazis began executing the Jews in the ghetto in groups of about 30. By 1943 all labor camps have been liquidated and the remaining Jews killed. The few Jews who escaped joined partisan forces in the surrounding forest and went about attacking enemy railroad lines. There is a small memorial dedicated to the memory of Babrujsk Jews killed in the Holocaust, located in the Nachlat Yitzhak cemetery, Giv'atáyim, Israel, as part of the Babi Yar memorial.As one blogger points out, in 1999 there were just 1,360 Jews in Bobruisk out of 227,000 people, which equates to just 0.5% of the population. This .5 is somehow responsible for the downfall of the town?
Seems to me that Nazis and Pogroms were more to blame. If anything, the LACK of Jews is the reason for Bobriusk's downfall. They once made up 60% of the population, and the city thrived. After they were killed off and driven out, the town never fully recovered.
But apparently Lukashenko believes otherwise. Since he's been in charge, anti-Semitic brochures and books have proliferated, desecration of Jewish cemeteries is on the rise and the republic's only Jewish university has closed. He was once quoted as saying...
"The history of Germany is a copy of the history of Belarus. Germany was raised from the ruins thanks to firm authority, and not everything connected with that well known figure, Adolf Hitler, was bad. German order evolved over the centuries and under Hitler it attained its peak."