The level of civilian casualties suffered in Belorussia and Ukraine during the Second World War was amongst the highest in Europe. Official estimates indicate that the Belorussian Soviet Republic lost approximately one-third of its total population. This was a demographic catastrophe of the first order, comparable in historical terms only with events such as the ‘Black Death’ or the Thirty Years War. Much of this figure can probably be accounted for by the effects of Soviet deportations, the murder of the Jews, Red Army losses, German deportations and post-war emigration. Nevertheless, a residue of civilian casualties remains, in the realm of several hundred thousand people.1
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