Vyazyn (Wiazyń, Viazin, Viazyń) | Minsk

Vyazyn, 1918 © Tomasz Wiśniewski, Szukamypolski.com, Taken from Wikipedia Local landscape, 1929 © Zbiory Mirek Cholewiński, Fotopolska.eu, Taken from Wikipedia / Local landscape © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Fiodor D., born in 1930: “A Jewish woman called Gelia escaped the shooting and returned to the village after the war.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The witness shows us the mass execution site in Vyazyn. It is a private garden today, and there is no monument. As witness told informed us, the victims’ remains were reburied in Ilia after the war. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Vyazyn

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Private garden
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
60-70

Witness interview

Fiodor D., born in 1930: “27 Jewish families lived in Vyazyn. They worked as smiths, tailors and shoemakers, a lot of them had their own shops. My neighbor was also a Jew, his name was Hazik, he was an old man. I also remember a Jewish merchant Baska, and the names Gitska and Josel, Girsha and his daughter Gelia. The latter escaped the shooting and returned after the war.” (Witness n°922 interviewed in Vyazyn, on July 30, 2017)

Soviet archives

“In June, 1942 I was in the village of Vyazyn. Many German soldiers and the German police arrived in the village in vehicles. They gathered about 60 or 70 Jews and shot them. I heard shooting and screams. ” [Deposition of a witness Piotr P., drawn up on 17 Mars 1945 by the Soviet Extraordinary Commision (ChGK); RG 22.002M: 7021-89-6]

Historical note

Vyazyn is located 63 km north-west of Minsk. The first records about the settlement go back to the 15th century. In the 16-18th centuries it was under the control of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and in 1793 it became a part of the Russian empire. According to the census of 1897 234 Jews lived in the village, comprising 39% of the total population. There was a synagogue. By 1931 the Jewish population had decreased to 137 people. They were engaged in small-scale trade and handcrafts. Between the two wars the village was under the Polish rule and in 1939 was taken over by the Soviet Union as a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.  The Germans occupied the village on July 3, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the occupation anti-Jewish measures were implemented in the village. The whole Jewish population was marked with Stars of David. The Jews fit to work were subjected to different types of forced labor. Moreover, all the Jews were subjected to robbery, humiliation and beatings. The aktion was carried out in June 1942, during which about 60-70 Jews were murdered by Germans who arrived from Vileyka for this purpose.

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