Braslav | Vitebsk

/ Former building of the Gestapo in Braslav © Guillaume Ribot - Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s investigation in Braslav © Guillaume Ribot - Yahad-In Unum Stepanida L., born in 1918, saw the column of Jews walking in the direction of the execution site © Guillaume Ribot - Yahad-In Unum Fyodor M., born in 1933. He is a Belarusian inhabitant of Braslav. He saw how the Jews were shot into a pit near the river Druyka © Guillaume Ribot - Yahad-In Unum The execution site of around 2,000 Jews in Braslav © Guillaume Ribot - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Braslav

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ditch near the River Druya
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Stepanida L. evokes : "The column of Jews was supervised by Latvians and Lithuanians. A women wanted to save her child by pushing him aside, but a policemen saw it and put the child back into the column once again." (Witness N°95, interviewed in Braslav, on July 23, 2008)

Soviet archives

“When the Germans came in June 1941, they organized the persecution of the Jewish population. The Jews were arrested by the police and gathered in a building on Lenin street. They were kept there for a few days and then brought by groups of 15 to a wood, near a cattle cemetery. They were shot and buried.” [Act of the Soviet extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-92/209]

German archives

“On Wednesday, at 3am, the city was surrounded by the police, the Gendarmerie and the Gestapo. Because we lived on the border of the ghetto, we noticed that early. We were scared. I walked onto the roof and succeeded in escaping into the forest”. [Testimony of Elliot Schmidt, Jewish survivor of Braslav; B162-1469 p.126]

Historical note

Around 3,000 Jews lived in Braslav at the eve of World War II (more than the half of the inhabitants).

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The German troops came in to Braslav on June 28, 1941. On April 1942, a ghetto was established. Lakes surrounded the ghetto on two sides: Lake Drivyat and Lake Novyat. Then, another ghetto was created for the Jews who were unable to work. A resistance group was organized: Jews planned to escape from the ghetto. The liquidation of the ghetto began on June 3, 1942. Many Jews tried to escape. But around 2,000 Jews were arrested and shot into ditches that had been prepared. In August or September 1942, the Jews from the nearby village of Opsa were gathered in Braslav. They were killed in March 1943.

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