2 Execution site(s)
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)
"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]
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.
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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