1 Execution site(s)
Mariia K., born in 1924: “Some Jews from Poland fled to our town. They came to our house asking for shelter. We accepted four of them in our home: two girls and two boys. They were very good children. Back then we had a big house so we divided it into two parts; we lived in one half and they in the other. But we lived as one family, we shared food with them. They were not used to working in the field but every time the boys asked my father to take them with him. They tried to help him in any way they could. The girls were tailors, they sewed clothes for the villagers. They stayed with us for a long time. But then our neighbor started to threaten us, saying that he would denounce us to the Germans. The children asked my father what they should do but he answered that they could only wait and see what would happen.” (Witness n°944, recorded in Sychevichi on August 7, 2017)
“On March 11, 1942 an SD punitive detachment arrived in Radoshkovichi. They rounded up all the local Jews and locked them up in a barn. Then they shot all Jews, threw grenades into the barn and burned it down.” [Act drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) after the liberation; RG 22.002M: 7021-83-14]
“[...] L. ordered me to provide six to eight men. Their task was to keep the local population away from the shooting site and to ensure that the Jews could not escape. [...] In the meantime, the SD had driven all the Jews out of their homes and gathered them in front of our guard building. [...] I must add that a military doctor stayed with us and told us we had a good Jewish doctor. He told me that I had to do everything to keep this doctor alive, to use weapons if necessary. I pointed out to him that the SD was there and that I could not do anything. He decided to speak with the Generalkommissar K. Faced with this situation, I mentioned the Jewish doctor to the head of the SD. The latter ordered me to bring Dr. Schuster and his family to the guardroom, which I did immediately. It was the doctor, his wife, two children and his mother. All remained in the room and were not shot. [...] Other Jews were then taken from our building to the execution site. It was on the outskirts of the city, about 800m away, on a raised area. [...] I saw K. taking pictures. [...] When the Jews arrived at the execution site, we were allowed to choose 100 Jews whom we needed to work for us and for the Todt Organization. It was only supposed to be skilled workers and their families. [...] There were two barns on the site. The 100 Jewish skilled workers were led into one of the barns. The others had to go to a pit. [...] The head of the SD went to the barn and took out the excess Jews. He forced out the rabbi who was also a hairdresser. The SD chief also killed a Jew by shooting him with a 6.35mm pistol in the heart because he had come too close to him and addressed him in Yiddish. There were 600 people, men, women and children, in the pit. [...] Some Jews had to pile the corpses in the barn and cover them with gasoline. [...] At the end of the execution, the barn was locked and set on fire.” [Deposition of Johannes S., a German policeman in the Todt Organization, born in 1913, drawn up in Solingen, on July 3, 1961; B162-1294]
Radoshkovichi is located 35 km northwest of Minsk. The first records of the local Jewish community date back to the 16th century. According to the census of 1897, the Jews numbered 1,519 people, comprising almost 60 % of the total population. They lived off small-scale trade, handicraft and the export of wood and cereals. During the interwar period, the village was under Polish rule. At that time a brewery, a brick factory, flour mills and small tanneries operated in the town. In 1925, the Jewish population had decreased to 1,215 people. A Tarbut school and a Hebrew library were opened in the town around that time. There were also four synagogues and a Jewish cemetery in the town. During the 1920s and 1930s, branches of various Jewish parties and organizations operated in Radoshkovichi. In 1939, the village was taken over by the Soviet Union and several parties and organizations were banned. On the eve of the war, about 1,200 Jews lived in the town.
German forces occupied the town on June 25, 1941. Soon after occupation, all the Jewish population was marked with distinguishing badges and subjected to forced labor, but they continued to live in their houses. The ghetto was not created until spring 1942, after the first Aktion conducted on March 11, 1942. On this date, circa. 1,200 Jews were assemmbled at the market square and anyone who tried to resist were shot on the spot. All the Jews were then herded into columns and taken 1 km out of the town to two barns. At the execution site, the victims were forced to give up all their valuables, before being shot inside the barns. The Germans then threw grenades into the barns and burned them down. During this Aktion, 860 Jews were killed and circa. 250-300 Jewish individuals, mostly skilled workers and their families were spared and confined in a ghetto surrounded with barbed wire. The ghetto was liquidated around a year later on March 7, 1943. During this Aktion, circa. 250-290 Jews were shot. Dozens managed to escape and join the partisans.
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