The Yama (the Pit) monument is devoted to the victims of the Holocaust. It was built on the site where, on March 2, 1942, the Nazi shot about 5000 prisoners of the Minsk Ghetto.
The stone pillar was erected in 1947. There is a Yiddish inscription on it written by poet Chaim Maltinski: «In bright remembrance for all eternity of the 5,000 Jews who perished at the hands of the cruel enemies of humanity — the Nazi criminals, March 2, 1942”. It was the first monument in the former Soviet Union with a Yiddish inscription to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide.
Later Maltinski and stonemason Mordukh Sprishen were arrested (in 1949 and in 1952 correspondingly) and sent to labor camps on charges of «cosmopolitanism — the manifestation of Jewish bourgeois nationalism», including for daring to write a phrase about the Jews.
A bronze sculpture built along the staircase and entitled «The Last Path» was added to the complex in 2000. It represents a group of doomed martyrs, walking down the steps of the pit. It took 8 years to complete the monument. The sculpture was created by architect Leonid Levin and sculptors Else Pollack and Alexander Finski.
No machinery was used during the construction process and all work was done by hand.
According to the original plan for the group sculpture it was to be more detailed (figures of a violinist or a pregnant woman represented more collective characters), but eventually the monument was left with an expressive aesthetic, devoid of national colors.