Gorodets (Horodec) | Brest

/ Ivan F., born in 1931, an eyewitness to the shooting of Jews in Gorodets. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum “All of them, except for twelve specialists, were taken away. They stayed in the barn located on the Kobryn street. Then, one SS and another German arrived and shot them dead inside the barn.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum Former Jewish house that still remains in the village. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The railway station in Gorodets. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum Korbyn street where the ghetto was established. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The prayer house that doesn’t exist anymore was located here. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The Rabbi’s house was located here. It no longer exists. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The synagogue was located here. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The road by which the Jews were taken to the execution site. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The execution site where dozens of Jews were shot during the occupation. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The location of the barn, where, according to a witness, twelve Jewish specialists were murdered. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Gorodets

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Ivan F., born in 1931: “The Jews were taken in the direction of the cemetery. I don’t remember how many there were, but the column was rather big. The column spread over 1 km. The first to be shot were the poorest Jews, and then the richest who kept paying ransoms until they had nothing left. I saw the shootings with my own eyes. The other boys and I were curious, and we went to take a look. I was about 100m away from the execution site. The shooting was conducted by five Germans.” (Witness n°978B, interviewed in Gorodets, on September 13, 2018)

Soviet archives

"In August 1941, [in the town of Gorodets], the Germans shot three people of Jewish nationality and five were taken to the town of Kobryn and shot because of their nationality.
In 1942, at the beginning of August, I don’t remember the day, the Germans and the police surrounded the Jewish ghetto, and they took part of the population by force, we don’t know where, and the others, 25 in number, were shot." [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission in January, 1945; GARF 7021-83-8]

Historical note

Gorodets is a town located 70 km (44mi) northeast of Brest. Part of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, it was taken over by the Russian Empire in 1795. In the interwar period Gorodets was under Polish rule, but in September 1939 was occupied, along with the entire Brest region, by the Soviet Union. In 1882, a railway station was built on the line that connected Warsaw, Brest and Moscow. Many Jews moved to the town with the development of the railway station as the majority of them lived off trade. Other Jews were artisans, including tailors, shoemakers, watchers, among others. In the interior period, Gorodets was home to about 250 Jews, who made up roughly a third of the village population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Gorodets was occupied by German forces on June 24, 1941.  Shortly after their arrival, the Jews were registered and marked with armbands bearing the Star of David. In May 1942 a ghetto was created. It was fenced in with barbered wire and all the inmates were forbidden to leave its territory. In July 1942, the ghetto was liquidated. During the liquidation, the majority of Jews were deported to Bronnaya Gora where they were murdered along with the Jews from Drochichyn, Antopol and other towns. Some skilled workers were spared and sent to the Antopol ghetto shortly afterwards. According to historical sources, the local Jews were murdered on October 15-16, 1942. In spite of this information, during our field research, we found out that fifteen of them were shot inside the barn located in Gorodets and not transferred to the Antopol ghetto. According to the Soviet archives, 25 Jews were shot in Gorodets. 

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