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1 Execution site(s)
Vasiliy M. evokes : "I saw in the ghetto a couple of old people who were forced to their knees before a mass grave and killed by a bullet to the back of the neck, it was in the garden surrounded by a fence. Two small mass graves had been dug. There was also a young man who tried to bury himself and was shot. His body was then dragged to the garden to be buried. His wife and his baby were hiding in the school at first but then they were shot too. It was in the summer." (Witness N°309, interviewed in April, 2010)
More than 880 Jews lived in Byten at the eve of World War II. Most of the Jews were merchants. Around 200 Jewish refugees from Poland settled in the town when the German came.
Since the beginning of the German occupation, the Jews were used as forced labor for the new authorities. A ghetto was erected in the spring of 1942, gathering Jews from Byten as well as from the nearby villages like Ivatseviche: about 1,200 Jews lived in the ghetto in miserable conditions. After the mass killing that took place in Slonim, the Byten Jews decided to build bunkers and hiding places. In July 1942, the Germans and the Hilfspolizei surrounded the ghetto. The local police thoroughly searched the place. All the Jews were brought by trucks or forced to walk to the ditches dug by peasants from the countryside. Around 840 Jews were shot during this Aktion. The Yahad team found this killing site, and another one where some Jews were killed during the liquidation of the ghetto.
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