1 Execution site(s)
Antonina P., born in 1935: “My father was requisitioned once. I remember one day a German came and asked for my father. The German was dressed in German military uniform and had a baton with him, but no guns. My father could do nothing but follow the German because otherwise he would be shot. He was taken to the cemetery to bury the Jews shot in Kokovchino on the eve. It was the only time my father was requisitioned because since that episode, he used to go hiding in the forests to avoid being forced to do different tasks for Germans.” (Witness n°1050, interviewed in Kokovchino, on November 5, 2019)
“In April 1942, early in the morning, in our village of Kokovchino, nine men from the German gendarmerie under the command of an officer arrived in two carts. I heard the gunshots and people screaming. When I went out on the street I saw Jews being forced out of their apartments and shot dead on the site. In all, five families, 16 people, were shot in that way. After the shooting German gendarmes gave an order to the locals to dig the pit behind the school and bury the bodies there in order to erase all the traces of the shooting.” [Deposition given by Grigoriy V., local resident, to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission; RG.22-002M: GARF 7021-84-2, pp. 91-92]
Kokovchino is located in the Senno district, 38 km (24miles) northwest of Orsha. Little known about the local Jews community as it wasn’t big. The Jews lived mostly in the center of the village owning their homes or renting apartments from the local non-Jewish population. They were involved in small scale trade and artisanal manufacturing. On the eve of the war, a couple dozen Jews lived in the village, while others were evacuated to Orsha.
Kokovchino was occupied by the Germans in July 1941. The remaining Jews continued to live in their homes freely until the mass execution conducted in April 1942. The aktion was conducted by German gendarmerie that arrived for this purpose. All the Jews were forced out by Germans out of the houses and shot straight away. Their corpses were gathered and buried in a pit behind the school, dug by the requisitioned locals. Apparently, according to the local witnesses the only survivor to the shootings was Fania Drezin. Besides the Jews, the partisans were persecuted by Germans as well.
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