1 Execution site(s)
Anna I., born in 1926: "The Jews were supervised while working at the sawmill. They were taken there in trucks. I was almost taken to the mass shooting, but people were able to testify that I wasn’t Jewish." (Witness N°340, interviewed in Lesnaia on May 10, 2010)
"Jews were also required to appear every morning at the municipal government building for work assignments. In November 1941, the Germans established an unfenced Jewish residential district (an ’open ghetto’) in Novomoskovsk, which was located in two large houses on Lesnaia and Kuznechnaia streets. These streets were flooded in the spring by the River Samara and formed, as a result, a kind of island. By the end of December 1941, all the Jews of the town had been moved into the ghetto, those who were reluctant to move were forcibly resettled. There was considerable overcrowding in the ghetto." [Act of the Soviet extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M.7021-89]
Lesnaia is a village situated about 30 km (19mi) southwest of Baranovichi. The first records of the Jewish community date back to mid-17th century. In 1921, the town was included in the territory of the Second Polish Republic, and in September 1939 took over by the Soviets following the Molotov Ribbentrop agreement. The Jewish community of Lesnaia was rather small. Most regional Jews lived in Baranovichi. The Jews mainly lived off trade and handicraft. Circa. 70 Jews, including a number of refugees from western Poland, lived in the village before the war.
Lesnaia was occupied by German forces in early July 1941. By the end of 1942, a ghetto had been established in a few buildings surrounded with barbed wire. On March 13, 1943, the Jews were loaded onto trucks and driven away to a nearby forest where they were shot in large graves that had been dug in advance.
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