chapter
“There was no work, we only worked for the Germans”
Ghettos and ghetto labor in German-occupied Soviet territories
ByAnika Walke
Pages 17

This chapter focuses on the ghettos in German-occupied Soviet territories region, and the way ghetto labor was used or not used. This perspective demonstrates why the Soviet territories ought to be considered as one of the central loci of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, and which role ghettos played here as well as in the larger context. Belorussia and its capital Minsk serve as important case studies for understanding the impact of the German war of annihilation on Soviet society and the destruction of Jewish people and communities by the Nazi regime. For Soviet Jews who were forced to work for the Germans, the work sites assumed an ambiguous role. The nexus of labor and violence is productive for investigating ghettos in German-occupied Soviet Belorussia, specifically in Minsk, as distinct historical phenomena that are, nonetheless, reminiscent of other forms of segregation, exploitation, and violation, even and especially when they vary.