1 Execution site(s)
Tatsiana A., born in 1927: “One day, an Aktion was carried out against the local population. I managed to escape into the wetlands with some other villagers. There were about twenty or thirty of us hiding there. When we came back, we saw a barn on fire and people screaming. We couldn’t help them because the house was on fire. One girl that managed to get out of the house before it was set on fire told us that Germans came with policemen. They forced people inside the barn and made them undress. Then the barn was set on fire and all the people inside were burned alive.” (Witness n°1014B, interviewed in Ochizha, on October 2, 2019)
Ochizha is a small, half abandoned village located 66 km (41mi) east of Minsk. According to a local witness interviewed by Yahad, only a few Jews lived there before the war, including an old Jewish couple, Abram and Riva. The majority of Jews lived in the town of Cherven, located 14 km (9mi) to the north. According to the 1897 census, there were 2,817 Jews living there, comprising 63% of the total population. At that time the Jews lived off small-scale trade and clothing manufacture. In 1939, 23% of the total population was Jewish.
Ochizha was occupied by German troops on July 2, 1941. In late autumn, all the Jews from Ochizha, as well as from nearby villages were rounded-up and taken to the ghetto created in Cherven. According to a local witness, one local Jewish woman, Riva, was murdered on the spot. She was taken from her bed out of her house, led to the outskirts of the village and shot dead. Her body was buried by two Komsomols who were subsequently shot afterwards. Her husband, Abram, was taken to the Cherven ghetto and shot there along with another group of Jews, most probably during the final liquidation that took place on February 2, 1942. Local non-Jewish civilians were also murdered as a result of reprisal Aktion for helping the partisans. About 180 people were killed.
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