Pleshchenitsy | Minsk

/ Iadviga S., born in 1927: “They took some belongings with them, but were stripped of them 1 km outside the town. They continued walking just like that.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum Adelaida L., born in 1931: “The Germans brought all the schoolchildren there during the shooting. But we lived far away, near the starch factory, and mother didn’t let us go there.”©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum A surviving tombstone at the Jewish cemetery.  ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum A surviving tombstone at the Jewish cemetery.  ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The Yahad team with a witness at her house. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The execution site of 70 Jewish artisans murdered in October 1941. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Pleshchenitsy

1 Execution site(s)

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

Witness interview

Iadviga S., born in 1927: “Y.U.: Did you see them being led there?
Witness: Yes, I saw a column accompanied by the Germans with dogs marching in front of it, at the back and on both sides. We had a neighbor who had three children, a sister with a husband and also her father. Can you imagine that she left all of them and came to us to ask to be rescued? My mother hid her in the hay shed. She stayed with us until the cold weather came… that means during July, August and September. Her name was Malka. My mother came to her and said, “You know, Malka, they started searching the houses. You must go.” My mother told her that Jews hadn’t been killed yet in Dolginovo. My mother prepared some food for her, and she left. As she told us later, when the shooting started, they took shelter in a brick house. About 20 people sealed themselves off in it. But when it became difficult to breathe, they broke the wall and fled to the forest. Can you believe that they crossed the front line in the forest? When we returned to Pleshchenitsy, she sent us a letter. She stayed alive, got married and lived a long time. […]
Y.U.: Were there many people following the column?
Witness: Maybe around 50 children. Old people were afraid [to go there], but we the youngsters [were not]. […]
Y.U.: When you were following the column, did the Germans chase you away?
Witness: They shouted, “Zurück! Zurück!” That meant, “Back! Back!” We walked a little and then went back. What else could we do?” (Witness n°1003B, interviewed in Pleshchenitsy, on October 7, 2019)

Historical note

Pleshchenitsy is located 60 km (37mi) north northeast of Minsk. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the 18th century. In 1939, 827 Jews lived in town, making up 22% of the total population. Many Jews lived off commerce, art, crafts and agriculture. Many worked in the local kolkhoz.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Pleshchenitsy was occupied by German forces on June 28, 1941. Shortly after the occupation all Jews were marked with yellow patches and forbidden from leaving the town. The ghetto was set up during the summer of 1941. It was guarded but not fenced in.  About 1,000 Jews lived there. The inmates deemed fit to work were subjected to heavy forced labor, like cleaning rubble or collecting garbage. The first Aktion was conducted in September 1941. Under the pretext of being relocated to Logoisk, where a new ghetto had been created, the Jews were gathered at the marketplace. After a selection, during which about 70 Jewish artisans and their families were selected, the remaining Jews were released to prepare for the departure that was schedule for the next day. The following day, all the Jews except for the selected artisans, were taken by cart 20 km (12mi) outside the town towards the Pavlik Lake. Once there, the Jews were forced into the barn, locked up and burned alive. It is possible that the Jews from Borisov were murdered with those from Pleshchenitsy Jews. The surviving artisans were murdered on October 16, 1941, by Lithuanian volunteers subordinated to Police Battalion b°11. They were murdered near the former fire station.

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