Gantsevichi | Brest

The students of Polish school, 1930. From local archives © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum View on the street of Gantsevichi. Before the war. From local archives © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum The students of Polish school, 1930. From local archives. © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum View on the street of Gantsevichi. Before the war. From local archives © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Youth club of Gantsevichi, 1930. From local archives   © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Youth of Jewish origins. All were murdered durnig WWII. From local archives © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum / Yahad research team is looking for witnesses © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Stanislav R., born in 1929, witnessed three different shootings © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum’s team with Stanislav R. near the execution site of Jews © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Ivan K., born in 1929, “A special unit dressed in civil clothes was in charge of collecting and selling Jewish belongings.” © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Vladimir K., born in 1927, remembered that ghetto was surrounded with high fence and was guarded by local police, SD soldiers, Letts and Lithuanians © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Yelena B., born in 1920, Pole, “Jews were forced to wear yellow circles so one can recognize them. All the Jews remaining in the ghetto were shot at one day.” © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Ivan M., born in 1926, “Before being killed Jews had to undress. After, the police searched  all the clothes” © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during the interview at the yard © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum One of the execution sites of Jews © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum The memorail to the Jewish victims murdered by Nazi during the WWII © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Gantsevichi

4 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Woods
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
3500

Witness interview

Ivan M., born in 1926, remembers the shooting: “I saw a column arrive to the 20meter-long ditch. It was located at the edge of the woods, not far from the main street of the village. There were several columns of about 40-50 Jews. Before being killed, the police made them undress. They were searching for valuables. Then, the Jews were lined up near the pit and shot with a machine gun from the truck. The execution lasted all day. All the Jews -- women, men, children among them -- were murdered that day.” (Eyewitness N°275, interviewed in Gantsevichi, on March 31, 2010)

Soviet archives

"In the local area of Gantsevichi, the "In the local area of Gantsevichi, the commission investigated the victim’s graves of the fascist terror: in a grave located on the road from Gantsevichi to Khotynichi, mesuaring 21X30 meters. 233 civilians from Gantsevitchi were buried in. The Germans forced them to dig their own grave, and savagely shot them with machine guns. Then, all the dead or injured people were buried." [Act of the Soviet State extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-82/6.]

German archives

"The Jews were killed one kilometer from Gansevichi, near the road leading to Baranovichi, in a small wood. I saw the grave myself where the Jews were buried. The grave was 100m long and 2,5m wide. The execution of the Jews was done by an SS unit." [Deposition, B162-2493]

Historical note

Gantsevichi, a small town set up in 1898, is located about 200km northwest of Brest. Before the war 60% of the population was Jewish. In the ‘20s and ‘30s there were four synagogues, a Jewish library, an orphanage, a Tarbut school and school in Yiddish. Under Polish administration, in 1939, the town was occupied by Soviets. The German army arrived on June 29, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish aktions started immediately after the German’s arrival. From June 30 to July 01, 1941, a pogrom occurred in which 16 Jews were murdered. On August 15, 1941, 350 Jewish men were executed in the forest 11km away from Gantsevichi. 600 Jews were shot in the town’s market place. During another aktion 1,000 Jewish men were taken to the forest 1km away and shot dead.  A concentration work camp was established in November 1941. Besides the local Jews, there were 230 Lenin Jews and 120 native to Pogost. Small executions of 70-150 Jews took place constantly. During one of those executions, 100 Jewish refugees from Warsaw, along with two local families, Fish and Zeiger, were executed and buried in the Peski ravine. On August 14, 1942, more than 300 Jews fled the camp and others were shot. In all, during the occupation, 3,500 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the district of Gantsevichi, including 1,500 women and 850 children.

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