"visit from Baranowicze"
Fountain in Central Square of Baranovichi
Creative Commons AttributionFountain in Central Square of Baranovichi - Credit: Igor Mostitsky/Wikimedia Commons

Baranowicze, the original name for the city now known as Baranovichi, is located in western Belarus. Its WWII history is a gruesome one.

The outbreak of the Second World War saw this Polish city occupied by Soviet Union forces. At that time, Baranowicze was home to a local Jewish population of approximately 9,000, as well as a further 3,000 refugee Jews from surrounding German-occupied Polish areas. In 1941, the city was captured by the German army and later that year a ghetto was formed on its outskirts. From March through to December of 1942, the entire Jewish population of Baranowicze was systematically sent to German concentration camps and killed in the gas chambers.

After the war, Baranowicze was reclaimed by the Soviet Union and became known by its Russian name Baranovichi. The city became part of an independent Belarus in 1991.