Comedy Star Lisa Kudrow Discovers Her Belarusian Roots
The American Comedy star Lisa Kudrow has found her Belarusian roots in NBC's project Who Do You Think You Are. Her ancestors were Jews from the village Illia, Minsk province of Belarus. Some of her relatives have been killed during the Second World War. The World War has put an end the Jewish Belarus after 800 thousands Belarusian Jews have been exterminated by Nazis. Every eighth victim of the Holocaust came from Belarus. Many Belarusian Jews have emigrated to the United States since late 19th century.
Lisa Kudrow has traced her family back to Belarus on the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? The former Friends actress, who is an executive producer on the genealogy programme, has been filming her own appearance, Metro reports.
Kudrow said: "Oh my god, it was good, incredible. I just got back from Belarus. I was tracing my family tree and I found out some members of my family were killed in the Holocaust, which was such a terrible shock." Read the full story
Read the reports in Daily Mail and Arche (in Belarusian). See also an older interview with Jakau Hutman, president of the World Association of Belarusian Jews, about the history of the Jewish community of Belarus.
Capital Punishment in Belarus
Last week the heads of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly have condemned the execution pointing out that “the UN Human Rights Committee was still considering individual applications” on Zhuk’s and Yuzepchuk’s cases. They have yet again “called on the Belarusian government to suspend the enforcement of the penalty.” Responding to criticism in the past, Minsk used to call capital punishment an internal affair. It would also bring up the 1996 referendum, in which the Belarusians people voted against abolishing the death penalty (not in the least because the second best alternative was a mere 15-year-long prison sentence). Retaining the death penalty has kept Belarus out of the Council of Europe, and by carrying out executions in secrecy Belarus has been violating its commitments as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Revoking or imposing a moratorium on capital punishment – or at least making the information about the executions public – could be Minsk’s small but important step toward Europe. However, the country has not matured enough to belong to the European institutions founded on the respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democratic development. Belarus refuses to revise its stance on capital punishment or even make executions more humane. The authorities ignore valid international criticisms that the Belarusian justice system does not accord with international standards for fair trial, prevent the use of torture (Yuzepchuk’s lawyer contended the defendant was beaten into confessing), or grant the convicted right to a public hearing. Why are the Belarusian authorities insisting on maintaining the Soviet-like secrecy about the executions? Perhaps because had the Belarusian people aware of the true number of people sentenced to death, the domestic debate on the issue of capital punishment would have been much more energetic and constructive. VC