1 Execution site(s)
Vasiliy B., born in 1927: "Before the Germans’ arrival, the Jews who worked in the kolkhoze were able to flee on their horses. But they were the minority, and most of our neighbors had to stay. The other Jews were rounded up along with Gypsies in the city hall for a while, before being shot. » (Witness N°791, interviewed in Chechersk, on June 13th 2014).
Chechersk is a small city situated about 60km north of Gomel on the Sozh River. According to a 1939 census, there were 977 Jews in the town, representing 18,2% of the total population. It was a district centre and still is today. The Jews earned their living from small trade, agriculture and various forms artisan manufacturing. Nearly half of the Jewish population managed to leave before the German army’s arrival in Chechersk in mid-August 1941.
In October 1941, the Germans established a ghetto. According to historical sources, they locked up the Jews in the town hall and in nearby houses and were guarded. According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Yahad, however, the Jews were not guarded. The Jews had to carry out forced labor, such as cleaning the streets. The ghetto in Chechersk functioned for about three months and there were around 400 inmates, including Gypsies.
During the first Aktion, which took place at the end of November 1941, the Germans, assisted by their local collaborators, executed 84 elderly men and women in an anti-tank ditch outside of Chechersk, near the road of Krasnyi Bereg. The second Aktion was conducted in late December 1941, at the same location. The Germans forced locals to watch the humiliation of the Jews before their execution. This occurred when they were gathered before being taken to the execution site.To celebrate the liquidation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators organized a banquet at the police headquarters following the mass killings.
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