There has been a Jewish community in Belarus since the 14th century, with a large proportion of Belarusian Jews professing the Hasidic direction of Judaism. In 1941, the Jewish community numbered about 670,000 people. Immediately after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the mass extermination of the Jewish population began. About 100,000 Jews managed to escape, and some hid in the woods, where they joined the Soviet resistance. According to archival and published data, about 25,000 people remained in the Minsk ghetto at the beginning of 1942, and after the Nazi pogrom on October 21, 1943, virtually all prisoners were murdered. With the support of Belarusian patriots, only 3.5,000 people escaped from the Minsk ghetto and survived. In this desperate situation, a Jewish resistance group led by Tuvi Bielsky was formed.