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24 January 2022, 13:49

Prosecutor General's Office: At least 3m civilians killed in Belarus during Great Patriotic War

MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) - The number of victims among the civilian population of Belarus during the Great Patriotic War is significantly higher than officially stated earlier, Belarusian Prosecutor General Andrei Shved told the media when asked about the progress in the investigation of the genocide of Belarusians during the Great Patriotic War in Minsk on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

On 24 January, the prosecutor general reported to the president on the progress in the investigation of the criminal case on the genocide of Belarusians during the Great Patriotic War.

"Today Belarus is the only country in the post-Soviet space that is conducting a full-fledged, full-scale investigation of these facts," Andrei Shved emphasized. According to him, more than 12,500 people have already been interviewed, more than 300 mass burial sites have been inspected. "Taking into account the data, including the archival documents, we are planning to inspect several hundred previously unknown places of mass extermination of civilians," the prosecutor general said.

The scale of the tragedy of that time has yet to be truly assessed, Andrei Shved noted. The data obtained during the investigation prove that the number of civilian victims in Belarus is greater than the previous official figures.

For example, the official figure of people killed, tortured to death in the Trostenets concentration camp is more than 200,000. The Prosecutor General's Office established the this figure is at least twice as higher. “We have documents that at least 546,000 people were killed in Trostenets,” Andrei Shved said.

“Given all the new facts, we can say that the number of civilians killed on the territory of the BSSR was not less than 3 million people. This is our preliminary data. These figures will be further clarified as we get more objective data,” the prosecutor general said.

“The scale of the tragedy our country endured during the Great Patriotic War is yet to be comprehended,” he stressed.

According to the data provided by the Archives and Records Management Department of the Justice Ministry of Belarus, some 2.5-3 million or more residents of Belarus died during the Great Patriotic War. This is at least every third person.

According to the statistics of that period, an estimated 9.2 million people lived in Belarus within its current borders before the war. Some 6.3 million people lived here in late 1944. According to the Extraordinary State Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, a total of 2,219,316 civilians and prisoners of war were killed on the territory of the BSSR. Later it turned out that the data on human losses in a number of areas were significantly underreported. The data on some camps for prisoners of war were inaccurate. This figure also does not include the number of Belarusian Red Army soldiers, who went missing or were taken prisoner and died there. The civilians taken to Germany and killed there were also not included into these figures.

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