Kletsk | Minsk

Kletsk in 1939 © Public domain, Wikipedia Picture of souvenirs about the Pastavelskiy Familly in Kletsk before the war © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum / The building of former Yeshiva school in Kletsk © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Galina M. remembers that Jews were forced to wear armbands  © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Maria T. remembers she used to speak with the Jews through the ghetto’s fence Olga T. remembers she saw a rabbi at the front of the Jewish column going to the shooting site    © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum Valentina P., born in 1927, showing the size of the pit © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum The mass killing site of the Jews in Kletsk © Nicolas Tkatchouk - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Kletsk

2 Execution site(s)

Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
5000

Witness interview

Olga T. recalls: "The Jewish specialists from the ghetto set the ghetto on fire. A lot of people died. I saw the burned corpses when I came back to school". (Witness N°465, interviewed in May, 2011)

Soviet archives

"A big grave was dug near the cemetery at the exit of Kletsk. Near the grave, there were Lithuanians, who were the shooters. They were armed with machine guns. The Soviet civilians were taken to the grave in groups. 3,000 people were killed during this first action." [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG0.002M/7021-81/127]

Historical note

The town of Kletsk lies 23 kilometers southeast of Baranovichi. In 1921, there were 4,190 Jews in the town (74 percent of the total population). The city was under German occupation from 1941 to 1944.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On October 24, 1941, 34 Jews were shot. On October 29, 1941, the German Commandant ordered all the Jews to gather in the marketplace for a selection to be organized. The Jews were split into two groups: one of about 3,800 that remained in the square; a smaller group was escorted to the synagogue. The larger group then marched to the Catholic cemetery. The Jews were shot  in mass graves that had been prepared in advance by local non- Jews. After the aktion, the remaining Jews from the synagogue were placed in a ghetto. When joined by those who emerged from hiding and also a few Jews brought in from the surrounding villages, some 1,400 Jews were inside the ghetto. The second aktion, which resulted in the liquidation of the ghetto in Kletsk, took place on July 22, 1942. Once the ghetto had been surrounded during the night, the next day Jews set fire to the ghetto in an attempt to deny the Germans their remaining property and also to aid their escape. In response, the Germans and their collaborators fired into the burning ghetto, and some Jews tried to flee in the chaos. Others committed suicide or were burned alive in their hiding places. Ultimately about 400 Jews were escorted out of the ghetto, and they were shot near the Christian cemetery. Up to 1,000 Jews were murdered in the ghetto area, and only a few dozen managed to survive by hiding or escaping. Of those Jews who fled, most took refuge in the Kopyl Forest, where they joined the Jewish Zhukov partisan unit.

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