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1 Execution site(s)
Galina K., born in 1935, remembers : «Before the war, the village was quite small. But there were 3 cemeteries, an orthodox cemetery, a Polish cemetery, and a Jewish cemetery. My father had many Jewish friends. On the street where we lived, there were mostly Jews. I felt often upset at that time, because the Jews were better dressed than us.» (Witness N°845, interviewed in Kopatkevichi, on September 21, 2014).
Kopatkevichi is a small city situated 150 west of Gomel. Before the war, there was a significant Jewish population living mostly in the center and being storekeepers. 881 Jews lived in the village in 1939. There was a Yiddish school and a synagogue which was opened in 1937. The city was occupied by German troops during the summer of 1941.
The events regarding the Jews in Kopatkevichi during the war are essentially known thanks to the testimonies of witnesses recorded by Yahad. In the beginning of the German occupation, the Jews were still able to live in their own houses. On November 18, 1942, the Germans assisted by the local police, came to round up the Jews from their houses. The Jews were loaded onto 2 carts, driven by the policemen, then taken to a barn on the outskirts of the town where they were burned. Apparently, the ashes were buried on the spot. Today in place of that barn, there is a private house.
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