1 Execution site(s)
Zdislav Y., born in 1932: “The Germans started to chase and abuse the Jews immediately after the occupation. I don’t understand why they were so aggressive against them, why they wanted to exterminate them. In the beginning the Jews lived in their houses and then the ghetto was created. Eleven or twelve elderly Jews were killed there as they couldn’t walk. It happened at night. The younger ones escaped to the forest” (Witness n°920, interviewed in Khotenchitsy, on July 30, 2017)
Khotenchitsy is located 45 kilometers north of Minsk. In 1920-1939 the village was under the Polish rule and in 1939 it became a part of the USSR as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. On the eve of the war about 80 Jews lived in the village. Most of them were engaged in commerce and owned shops, as well as a bakery. Some were artisans. Khotenchitsy was occupied by the German forces on July 3, 1941.
The Germans started to chase and humiliate the Jews immediately after the occupation. According to the historical sources before the creation of the ghetto about 100 Jews were locked up in the local school building for several days. Later they were resettled to the ghetto that consisted only of several small houses located outside the village. The ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire built by the requisitioned villagers and Jews. The Jews were required to perform different types of heavy labor, such as road and railroad repairing and cleaning. On March 14, 1942 partisans attacked the Khotenchitsy estate. As a result on March 17, 1942 a detachment of German Security police arrived to Ilia, a village located 15 km north-west from Khotenchitsy, and executed about 900 Jews, including 720 Jews from Ilia and 180 Jews from the nearby villages. A Jewish survivor from the Ilia ghetto arrived to Khotenchitsy to relay the information about what had happened and to warn the Jews there that they would also be killed. Fifteen Jewish families, about 70 Jews in all, decided to escape from the ghetto and join the partisans in the forest. At night they managed to escape, leaving behind about 11-13 Jews who were unable to walk.
For more information about the execution in Ilia please refer to the corresponding profile
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