2 Execution site(s)
Nina K., born in 1935: “Y. U. : Did Jewish families also work in the kolkhoze?
Witness : Yes. Pinia was a well-respected blacksmith, Leiba was a miller, his family also made oil and had a machine for carding wool. As far as Guersh is concerned, he worked in a kolkhoz as a cashier. They all worked. The Pinia’s family name is inscribed on the monument. Guersh had a wife, Esther, and a son, whose name I forget. He lived in Leningrad with his wife and his daughter Zoia. Zoia often came for vacation and we were good friends with her grandparents. My mother took care of the Guersh’s vegetable garden; they were pretty well-off. When Zoia’s parents brought her here for vacation, she only played with me. When I had to go graze the pigs and couldn’t play with her, she always asked her grandparents why I hadn’t come. So her grandmother brought her to our house and my mother told her “Go back to your home, the pigs are squealing, we need to take them to the pasture.” As for Leiba, he had a girl, Nina. I didn’t go to their home very often, I always played with Zoia, Guersh’s granddaughter. She was a nice girl. When I think about that again, I get tears in my eyes. (Witness N°867, interviewed in Chernovshchina, on September 28th 2014).
“In December 1941, policemen carried out a mass shooting of perfectly innocent Soviet citizens. Upon their arrival in the village, they gathered 21 people and left. They people they rounded up were residents of the village of Chernovshchina. They took them by road in the direction of the village of Yurovichi, and shot them behind the bridge. Among those shot was Guirch P. Fainberg, born in 1875, E. Fainberg, born in 1874, Boris Leybovich Shwartz, born in 1938. Their properties were plundered and taken by the policemen.” [Act of The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M.7021-91-15]
Chernovshchina is a very small village, composed of just a few houses, situated 25km southeast of Mozyr. 3 Jewish families lived in the village before the war. There was Leiba’s family who worked at the mill. Guersh’s family worked in the kolkhoze. And Pinia’s family worked as blacksmiths. The village was occupied by German forces during the summer of 1941.
Thanks to local testimonies recorded by Yahad, we were able to reconstruct the fate of the local Jews. Before the arrival of the Germans, the Jews of the village wanted to escape, but they eventually gave up. At the beginning of the German occupation, local policemen came regularly to the village to persecute the Jews. The Jews were afraid and asked to hide at local residents’ homes. Witnesses remember the local policeman, Anton, who was particularly motivated to hunt the Jews. Pinia and his wife Khasia were the first to be killed by the local policemen in September 1941 in a garden, and buried on the spot by local residents.
The remaining Jews, 21 in all, were shot shortly thereafter in December, near the bridge outside the village. They were buried on the spot in a pit dug by the local policemen. The bodies were exhumed after the war, when the road was enlarged. After the shooting, the houses and the belongings of the Jews were looted.
In 1943, the village was burnt down following an anti-partisan aktion, and 11 residents were killed.
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