2 Execution site(s)
Nikoay B., born in 1927: “All the Pukhovichi Jews were rounded up and taken to a place called Dubrava, it’s located near the sovkhoz. But back then there was a writers’ house there. They set up a ghetto and all the local Jews were moved into it. It was composed of several buildings fenced in with barbed wire. The Jews stayed there for about a month before the shooting. They were told what to take with them to the ghetto, but they didn’t take much: only valuables, blankets and some clothing. All their property was later confiscated.” (Witness n°955, interviewed in Pukhovichi, on August 12, 2017)
“[...] On 17 [the month is unknown] 1941, the German punitive detachment arrived in Pukhovichi and savagely massacred 97 civilian Soviet citizens, inhabitants of Pukhovichi. The victims were buried at the execution site located near the old Jewish cemetery. The pit measuring 2 meters wide and 25 meters long is located in the field, south-east of the ravine, 20 meters to the east. [...]” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission (GhGK), drawn up on September 27, 1944; RG 22.002M: 7021-89-12]
Pukhovichi is located 61 km southeast of Minsk. The first known record of the Jewish community goes back to the second half of the 16th century. According to historical sources, 1,671 Jews lived in the village in 1900, comprising 91% of the total population. In 1912, a Jewish loan-saving partnership began operating, and in 1913 a Jewish library was opened. In 1913, the Jews owned the only warehouse of pharmacy goods and 25 stores, including eight grocery stores, a liquor store, book stores, and a tobacconist. Other Jews were artisans, such as tailors or shoemakers. In the autumn of 1915, when the frontline approached the town, the Jews were resettled away from Pukhovichi. In 1919, Pukhovichi was taken over by the Soviet Union. During this period a Yiddish school was established in the village. In 1920 the Jewish population suffered a pogrom. As a result, many Jews left the town. In 1926 the Jewish population numbered 929 people, comprising only 43% of the total population.
The Germans occupied the town at the end of June 1941. Soon after the occupation the Germans appointed a starosta. Later, all the Jews were told to take their valuables with them and were confined into a ghetto surrounded by barbed wire where they stayed for about a month. On August 17, 1941, the first Jews were executed. According to the Soviet commission, 97 Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery, located about 1 km from the ghetto, and shot by the Germans, who had been posted from Minsk, assisted by the police. Local villagers were requisitioned to bury their corpses. The remaining 850 people were taken to the village of Blon on September 22, 1941 (according to another source, September 28), where they were killed along with the Jews from Mariina Gorka at Popova Gorka. The shooting was carried out by the German gendarmerie and members of Security Police who were posted from Minsk to carry out the Aktion. In all, 1,260 Jews were murdered in Popova Gorka.
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