Byten | Brest

/ The former Jewish cemetery in Byten. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Yahad research team looking for witnesses. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Nikolay K., Belarusian, born in 1925. He was forced to dig and fill the mass grave where the execution took place. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Nadezhda Z., Belorusian, born in 1930. She saw the column being taken to the killing site. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Killing site of Jews during the liquidation of the ghetto. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The well the Jews were thrown into. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Yahad’s team with a witness at the execution site in the forest near Byten. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Byten

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:

Witness interview

Vasiliy M.: "I saw a couple of old people in the ghetto who were forced to their knees in front of a mass grave and killed by a bullet to the back of the neck. It was in the garden surrounded by a fence. Two small mass graves had been dug. There was also a young man who tried to bury himself and was shot. His body was then dragged to the garden to be buried. His wife and his baby were hiding in the school at first but then they were shot too. It was in the summer." (Testimony N°309, interviewed in April 2010)

Historical note

More than 880 Jews lived in Byten on the eve of the Second World War. Most of them were merchants. Around 200 Jewish refugees from Poland settled in the town when the Germans occupied Poland.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

From the beginning of the German occupation, the Jews were used as forced labor by the new authorities. A ghetto was set up in the spring of 1942, confining Jews from Byten, as well as from the nearby villages such as Ivatseviche. Circa. 1,200 Jews lived in the ghetto in miserable conditions. After the mass killing that took place in Slonim, the Byten Jews decided to build bunkers and hiding places. In July 1942, the Germans and the Hilfspolizei surrounded the ghetto and it was thoroughly searched by the local police. All the Jews were taken by trucks or forced to walk to the ditches dug by peasants from the countryside. Around 840 Jews were shot during this Aktion. The Yahad team found the killing site, along with another site, where some Jews were killed during the liquidation of the ghetto.

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