MINSK -- Delegations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, and Poland have arrived in Minsk to unveil a memorial to the victims of a Nazi extermination camp near the Belarusian capital.
The camp, known as Trostenets -- or Trastsyanets in Belarusian and Trascianiec in Polish -- was initially set up in the 1940s by Nazi Germany to incarcerate Soviet prisoners of war.
The camp operated between July 1942 and October 1943 and turned into an extermination camp where mainly Jews from Belarus, Poland, Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia were murdered and buried in the nearby Blahaushchyna forest.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will attend the ceremony along with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Polish presidential chancellery State Secretary Krzysztof Szczerski, the Czech parliament’s deputy speaker Vojtech Filip, and World Jewish Congress representative Maram Stern.
Lukashenka is expected to hold talks with his Austrian and German counterparts on the sidelines of the ceremony.
Trostenets is one of the largest extermination camps created by Nazi Germany during World War II. More than 200,000 people were killed there, which makes the camp the fourth-largest Nazi extermination camp after Auschwitz, Majdanek, and Treblinka.