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Anna D., born in 1936, recounts: “One morning when it was cold, my mother arrived in tears, saying that she wanted to place a pillow on her ears. We looked through the window and saw the Jews arriving in a column, escorted by policemen dressed in civilian clothes. It looked like a big crowd." (Witness Eyewitness N°836, interviewed in Pechishchi, on September 19, 2014).
Pechishchi is a very small village west of the city of Gomel. Before the war, there were few Belarusian families who lived there. There was a Jewish kolkhoze named Kampf, with more than 100 Jewish employees. The Jews also used to attend the synagogue, which was made out of brick. The village was occupied by German troops during the summer of 1941.
According to the historical sources, little is known regarding the fate of the Jews. But thanks to the oral testimony collected by Yahad, it was possible to determine the basic circumstances of what happened to them during the war.
At the beginning of the German occupation, the kolkhoze was disbanded, but Jews were allowed to remain living in their own houses.
On February 10, 1942, a German punitive kommando invaded the village and gathered all the Jews and drove them to a garden, where they were shot. The corpses remained on the ground for a few days. They were then buried by local villagers in the closest forest.
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