3 Execution site(s)
Leonid B recalls: “The communists and the partisans were executed at the monument near the hospital. I saw partisans with their families, they were transported at dusk by policemen and Germans. I could hear the partisans screaming “we die for Stalin”. I could hear the shootings. I saw the mass shooting site the next day. The grave was “breathing”. I know there were other shootings at the same place”. (Witness N°637, interviewed in Kostyukovichi, on June 15, 2013).
“After the grave was unearthed, there were among the assassinated: 148 children between 0 to 15 years old, 128 men: among them 43 were 15 to 30 years old, 85 elderly people, 265 women: among them 11 were 5 to 15 years old. All the corpses near the Kommunary’s station were almost fully undressed, only in their underwear, some children had their faces and heads wrapped with rags, 31 children under 5 years old had their spinal columns broken.” [Deposition of Leonid B., eyewitness of the shooting of the Jews of Kostyukovichi, made on May 14, 1944, RG 22.022M/7021-88/38].
Kostyukovichi is located about 130 kilometers East-Southeast of Mogilev. During the 18th century, Jews began to live in the village. They were traders or artisans. Some Jewish families worked in agriculture, later in the Jewish kolkhoz called « Frayhayt ». There was a Yiddish school until 1937. There were 1,181 Jews living in the village in 1939. The German occupation began on August 15, 1941.
After the beginning of the occupation, the Jews were immediately transferred to the ghetto. They were forced to work in the quarry-sand. According to some sources, a shooting took place in the Orthodox cemetery in November 1941 : 350 Jews were shot that day. According to Yahad’s investigation, on September 3, 1942, the Jews were forced to gather after the starost’s request. They were told that they would be traveling to Palestine. They were brought outside of the town on the way to the Kommunary railway station when the Germans shot them in groups of 50 into pits. Before being shot, the Jews were forced to undress, and policemen and Germans collected their valuables. The pit was filled by local inhabitants, among them women. According to some sources, in March 1943, another 161 Jews were shot near the rope factory. On April 14 and 15, 1943, policemen from Kostyukovichi shot another 14 Jews.
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