2 Execution site(s)
Maria T., born in 1927, remembers: " When the first Germans arrived on motorcycles in the village, 3 Jews came to welcome them with bunches of flowers. They still did not suspect what was going to happen to them later...” (Eyewitness N°720 interviewed in April 2014)
Vishnevo is a village situated 90 km northwest of Minsk. On the eve of the WWII, there was a significant Jewish population living in the village, as there was a wooden synagogue and a Jewish cemetery. According to the sources, about 700 Jews lived in the village. From 1939 to 1941, as the territory was overtaken by the Soviets, the Jewish population increased up to 2,000 as Jewish refugees arrived from occupied Poland. Vishnevo is the hometown of Shimon Peres. The village was occupied by German forces at the end of July.
Through historical documentation, little is known about the fate of the Jews in Vishnevo during WWII, but thanks to local testimonies collected by Yahad, we have been able to establish some of what happened to them. A short time after the Germans’ arrival, the Jews were gathered in a fenced-in quarter of the village. The Jewish men were sometimes forced to work, performing labor such as cleaning the streets.
In summer 1942, dozens of Jewish men were killed by Germans in a pit in the Jewish cemetery, dug by the Jews themselves.
During the liquidation of the ghetto, the Jews were locked in several houses, the Germans threw oil on the houses and set fire to them. The victims were burnt alive. Witnesses remember that the smoke lasted several days. Their bodies were then buried on the spot in mass graves by requisitioned inhabitants. Furniture and Jewish belongings were looted.
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