3 Execution site(s)
Georguiy B., born in 1933: “The first time I saw local policemen, I was in the courtyard with my grandfather sawing some wood. A man arrived and asked us if there were any Jews around. We replied that there were not. They left, but I saw them forcing my Jewish neighbor get out of her house and leading her away. Later, the locals told us that all the Jews had been taken near the Pripyat river and shot. A while later, local residents removed the bodies from the river and buried them in a grave, close to the shore.” (Eyewitness N°857, interviewed in Petrikov, on September 25, 2014).
“At the end of April 1942, at four o’clock in the morning, the gendarmerie, helped by the police, led all of the 50-60 remaining Jews to the slaughterhouse, 1 km northeast of Petrikov. Before being shot, they were locked in a shed where they had to undress. Then, one by one, we led them to the shooting. The bodies were remained lying on the ground without being buried for quite a long time. It was forbidden to go near them. Approximately two weeks later, the local population was ordered to bury the bodies.“ [Act of The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M. 7021-91/22]
Petrikov is a town situated 175 km southwest of Gomel, and is a district center, as it was before the war. There was an important Jewish population living mostly in the city center during the 1930s. In 1939, more than 1000 Jews lived in the center. Most of them were storekeepers. There were two big wooden synagogues and a wooden Jewish school. The city was occupied by German troops in July 1941.
Until the end of summer 1941, the Jews were allowed to live in their own houses, even if they had to wear special distinguishing badges.
On September 22, 1941, a German punitive squad of the 1st SS-Cavalry Brigade, came to the town. 300 Jews who were celebrating the Jewish New Year in the synagogue were driven out, forced to undress and pushed into a pond near the Pripyat River and shot. Later, local residents were requisitioned to bury the corpses in a grave nearby. The next day, many other Jews were killed directly in the streets of the city or burned alive in their homes. A ghetto was then set up in a few houses on Volodarskiyi Street. The ghetto was fenced off by barbed wire and patrolled by local policemen. Jews were forced to perform tasks like clearing snow from the roads.
A second Aktion was carried out on February 15, 1942, by German and Hungarian soldiers searching for Jews in hiding. They burned Jewish belongings and homes. Some Jews were chased away towards the village of Belki, some 2 km from Petrikov, where they were shot. There were around 200 victims that day.
The ghetto was liquidated at the end of April 1942. The Jews were transferred in trucks to a site near the slaughterhouse northeast of Petrikov. They were locked up in a barn where they had to undress. They were then shot by the Germans on the slaughterhouse’s territory. The corpses were buried on site by local inhabitants more than two weeks later.
According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Yahad, a sale of Jewish clothing was organized on the market square by local policemen. In addition to local Jews, there were also executions of the Jews from the nearby villages. In autumn 1941, 25 Jews from Ogolitskaya Rudnya were killed in the forest close to Petrikov.
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