Yody (Jody) | Vitebsk

/ Fedor Ch., born in 1928,   heard the screams and gunshots; they lasted the whole day. Policemen didn’t allow people to approach the shooting place.   © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Yahad team with the witness of execution of about 450 Jews in Yody Fedor Ch.© Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Fedor Ch. showed Yahad the execution place of Jews in Yody which is located in a meadow on the outskirts of the town, 50 meters from the road. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The execution siteof about 450-500 jews in Yody. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The list of Jewish victims murdered in Yody, compiled with the help of Ada R. © Picture taken from local history book by Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Yody

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Meadow outskirt of the town
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 450-500

Witness interview

Fedor Ch., born in 1928, remembered: “Jews stayed in hiding all around and would come to ask for bread at night. We tried to give them some food very fast and then go away. We were scared. Shklyar, a poor Jewish man who used to install windows, would come to my house. All Jews who managed to escape from the shooting were chased by Germans. The pit where the Jews were shot was not covered after eight days or so.” (Testimony n°886, interviewed in Rudobist, on May 14, 2016)

Soviet archives

« I can testify about it. I had been living in Yody since I was born. During the German occupation, between 1941 and 1944, I was an eyewitness to the atrocities conducted by Germans against the civilian population.
In particular, I was the witness to the mass execution of Jews murdered by Germans in 1941. At the end of October 1941, German soldiers and gendarmes from Sharkovshchina arrived to Yody accompanied by policemen. Once here, all Yody Jews were gathered at the school building. Shortly after, the Jews from Zamoshye and Kislovshchina were also brought and confined into the building.
I remember Germans pushing a barefoot Jew on the street while the temperature was below zero. Just in front of the window of my house, the German started to beat the Jew, after he brought him to the pit that was dug in advance, and shot there.
When all Jews of Yody, Zamoshye and Kislovshchina were gathered in the school of Yody, the German gendarmes and soldiers who were under their order, as well as police, took the Jews in groups to the mass grave outside of the village. Once there, they were forced to undress completely and after they were shot. The Germans shot all Jews in the same pit, which remained uncovered after for a long period of time. In about a month and a half, when the air in the village became unbreathable because of the decomposing smell, the Germans ordered for the pit to be covered. Over 200 Jews were shot in this pit, women, elderly people, children among them. [Interogation report, made on March 8, 1945 by the State Extraordinary Commission; RG 20.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 92, Delo 224.]

German archives

« After the Germans’ arrival, on July 6, a pogrom was conducted by the local population. On December 17, 3 trucks arrived with the police and SS. Half of 500 Jews living in the town escaped in the forest and in the nearing villages. While others were shot. It was announced 2 weeks after that the Jewish escapees should return to the town and that nothing would happen to them. About 50 Jews believed the order and returned. In spring 1942, the gendarmerie ordered to move Jews to Vidzy. However, some Jews escaped”. [Report about Yody of Ilya B. B162-1294 p.75]

Historical note

Yody is located about 213 km north from Minsk. In 1921 there were 238 Jews in the village. Most of them were artisans or lived off od small trade, owning shops. There were 20 Jewish shops in Yody, a wooden synagogue.  According to the witness, all children went to Polish school in Yody, where Catholic, Orthodox, the Old Believers from Krychinki village and Jews studied together. During the Soviet period Jewish shops were closed; governmental ones were opened instead. The Germans occupied the village on July 21, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The ghetto was established shortly after German’s arrival and existed for about three month. In December 1941, the German and policemen arrived from Sharkovshchina and enclosed all Jews in the school building, including those Jews who were brought from the nearing villages, such as Zamoshye and Kislovshchina. They stayed there less than a week, guarded by policemen armed with rifles. Jews couldn’t leave the school. They had to wear a sign “Juden” on their backs. Some young Jews managed to flee into the woods. The Soviet archives mentioned that the shooting was conducted in October; however the local witnesses confirmed the information from other historical sources that the execution was carried out in December 1941.

On December 17, 1941, all Jews were taken from the school in groups to the pit outskirts of the village, to the gravel quarry. They were forced to undress and were shot; small children were thrown in alive.  The shooting lasted two days. After the pit wasn’t covered for about a month and a half, during this period the Germans regularly shot people there. When the air in the village became unbreathable because of decomposition smell, the Germans ordered to cover the pit. From 450 to 500 Jews (according to different information) were shot in this pit, women, elderly people, and children.

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