Braslav | Vitebsk

/ Former building of the Gestapo in Braslav. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum Yahad’s investigation in Braslav. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum Stepanida L., born in 1918, saw the column of Jews walking in the direction of the execution site. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum Fyodor M., born in 1933. He is a Belarusian inhabitant of Braslav. He saw how the Jews were shot into a pit near the river Druyka. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of around 2,000 Jews in Braslav. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Braslav

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Ditch near the River Druya
Period of occupation:

Witness interview

Stepanida L.: "The column of Jews was guarded by Latvians and Lithuanians. One woman wanted to save her child by pushing him out to the side of the column, but a policemen saw this and pushed the child back into the column." (Witness N°95, interviewed in Braslav, on July 23, 2008)

Soviet archives

“When the Germans arrived in June 1941, they immediately organized the persecution of the Jewish population. The Jews were arrested by the police and gathered in a building on Lenin street. They were kept there for a few days and then taken to a forest near a cattle cemetery in groups of 15. They were then shot and buried.” [Act of the Soviet extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-92/209]

German archives

“On Wednesday, at 3am, the city was surrounded by the police, the Gendarmerie and the Gestapo. We’d noticed that early on because we lived on the border of the ghetto. We were scared. I walked onto the roof and managed to escape into the forest”. [Testimony of Elliot Schmidt, Jewish survivor of Braslav; B162-1469 p.126]

Historical note

Around 3,000 Jews lived in Braslav at the eve of the Second World War (over half of the town’s inhabitants).

Holocaust by bullets in figures

German troops entered Braslav on June 28, 1941. A ghetto was set up in April 1942. Lakes surrounded the ghetto on two sides: Lake Drivyat and Lake Novyat. Another ghetto was then created for Jews who were unable to work. A resistance group was organized and some Jews planned to escape from the ghetto. The liquidation of the ghetto began on June 3, 1942. Many Jews tried to escape. But around 2,000 of them were arrested and shot in pre-prepared ditches. In August or September 1942, Jews from the nearby village of Opsa were transfered to Braslav. They were killed in March 1943.

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