1 Execution site(s)
Stanislava R., born in 1932, remembers: “During the shooting, not far from the pit, there was a German who sat at a table, writing something on sheets of paper. Maybe he was making an account of the victims. The pit was very deep and bodies were piled on top of each other.” (Eyewitness N°732 interviewed on April 27, 2014)
“According to my notes, in the early morning on May 9, 1942 the Jews were rounded up in the ghetto and gathered at the market place. Once there they were told that they were responsible for the war and that was the reason why they would be executed. 86 Jews were left aside and weren’t shot, while over some 1,000 Jews taken to be shot on the same day. In all 1,500 Jews including those who stayed in hiding but were found afterwards, were shot in Zheludok.” [Declaration of a Jewish survivor, Irena Zadarnowska, given on September 7, 1959; B162-3407 (p.15)]
Zheludok is a large village situated 75 km east of Grodno. Before WW2, around 70% of the 2,500 inhabitants of Zheludok were Jews. There was 2 synagogues and a Jewish cemetery. The village was occupied by German forces at the end of June to the beginning of July.
In late 1939, many Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland came to Zheludok. After the Germans’ arrival, young Jews performed forced labor at the Czetwertynski family’s estate. Because some of them didn’t wear their yellow signs, 22 Jews were killed close to the estate. A ghetto, located on the Orla street, was established on November 1, 1941. All the Jews from Zheludok and nearby villages, including Orlya were gathered in the gehtto. There are contradictory statements about the nature of the ghetto, but according to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the ghetto was fenced, and Jews, who regularly tried to escape by passing under the fence, were shot. On May 9, 1942, a selection was conducted in the market square by the Germans, assisted by local policemen and Lithuanians. 80 Jewish craftsmen were placed inside the synagogue. Later, they were sent to the Shchuchin ghetto. The rest of the Jews were shot in pits dug in advance in a forest close to the Jewish cemetery. The Jews had to walk 10 by 10 to a table where the Germans registered them. Then, the victims had to undress and walk to the edge of the pit.
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