Yelsk | Gomel

/ The church in Yelsk. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The former Jewish cemetery in Yelsk. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A former Jewish tombstone in Yelsk. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Vladimir C. remembered with horror the burning of the Jews: “When the Jews were inside the house and the fire was lit, I heard terrible screaming.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Vladimir C. pointing out the site where the Jews were burned. It was a wooden house. After the war, a slaughterhouse was built at the same location. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of the Skorodnoye Jews in Yelsk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
House in the woods next to the Christian cemetery
Period of occupation:

Witness interview

Vladimir C., born in 1927: "I was grazing my cows just outside of the town when I saw covered trucks passing through. It was around 1 pm. They were German trucks, and there were Jews inside them. There were also cars with officers alongside the convoy. The Germans had uniforms with metallic breast plates. "God is with us" was written on their belts. When the trucks arrived near the building which served as a slaughterhouse before the war, they stopped. Then I heard shouting. I knew there were Jews inside. The Germans formed a human corridor lane at the back of trucks, and forced the Jews into the building." (Eyewitness N°843, interviewed in Yelsk, on September 20, 2014).

Historical note

Yelsk is a town 145 km southwest of Gomel, which is a district center today. Before the war, there was a significant Jewish population. Most of the Jews were involved in trading. There was also a big synagogue. The town was occupied by German troops in the summer of 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The fate of the Jews in Yelsk during the war is essentially known thanks to the testimonies of witnesses recorded by Yahad.

Shortly after the arrival of the Germans, the local Jews of Yelsk were rounded up over the course of around a month within the former komsomols building, then taken towards Kalinkovichi and Mozyr. Approximately two weeks after the departure of the Jews of Yelsk, the Jews of the nearby Jewish village of Skorodnoye were brought to the town in several covered trucks by Germans, and locked outside of the town inside the building which served as a slaughterhouse before the war. The windows had been boarded up in advance. The Germans then set fire to the building using petrol, and all the Jews were burned alive.

To learn more about the killings in Kalinkovichi please refer to corresponding profile.

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