Yody (Jody) | Vitebsk

/ Fedor Ch., born in 1928, heard the screams and gunfire, which lasted the whole day. Policemen didn’t allow people to approach the shooting site. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with the witness of execution of about 450 Jews in Yody, Fedor Ch. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Fedor Ch. showed Yahad the execution site of the Yody Jews, which is located in a meadow on the outskirts of the town, 50m from the road. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of circa. 450-500 Jews in Yody. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The list of Jewish victims murdered in Yody, compiled with the help of Ada R. © Picture taken from local history book by Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Yody

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Meadow outskirt of the town
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 450-500

Witness interview

Fedor Ch., born in 1928: “Jews stayed in hiding all over the place and would come to ask for bread during the night. We tried to give them some food quickly and get away. We were scared. Shklyar, a poor Jewish man who used to install windows, would come to my house. All Jews who managed to escape from the shooting were chased down by Germans. The pit where the Jews were shot remained uncovered for ages.” (Testimony n°886, interviewed in Rudobist, on May 14, 2016)

Soviet archives

"I can testify about it. I had been living in Yody since I was born. During the German occupation between 1941 and 1944, I was an eyewitness to the atrocities conducted by Germans against the civilian population. I was notably witness to the mass execution of Jews by Germans in 1941. At the end of October 1941, German soldiers and gendarmes from Sharkovshchina came to Yody accompanied by policemen. Once here, all the Yody Jews were gathered in the school building. Shortly after, the Jews from Zamoshye and Kislovshchina were also transferred here and confined in the building.
I remember Germans pushing a barefooted Jew on the street while the temperature was below zero. Just in front of the window of my house, the German started to beat this Jewish man. He then took him to the pit that had been dug in advance, and shot him.
When all the Jews of Yody, Zamoshye and Kislovshchina were gathered at the Yody school, the German gendarmes and soldiers who were under their order, as well as police, took the Jews in groups to the mass grave outside of the village. Once there, they were forced to completely undress and shot. The Germans shot all the Jews in the same pit, which remained uncovered for a long period of time. In about a month and a half, when the air in the village became unbreathable because of the smell of decomposition, the Germans ordered for the pit to be filled in. Over 200 Jews were shot in this pit, women, elderly people, children included." [Interogation report, made on March 8, 1945 by the State Extraordinary Commission; RG 20.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 92, Delo 224.]

German archives

"After the Germans’ arrival, on July 6, a pogrom was conducted by the local population. On December 17, 3 trucks arrived with the police and SS. Half of 500 Jews living in the town escaped into the forest and in the nearby villages, while others were shot. It was announced 2 weeks later that the Jewish escapees should return to the town and that nothing would happen to them. About 50 Jews believed the order and returned. In spring 1942, the gendarmerie ordered the Jews to be moved to Vidzy. However, some Jews escaped.” [Report on Yody by Ilya B. B162-1294 p.75]

Historical note

Yody is located about 213 km north from Minsk. In 1921, there were 238 Jews in the village. Most of them were artisans or lived off small trade, some owned shops. There were 20 Jewish shops in Yody and a wooden synagogue. According to one witness, all children went to Polish school in Yody, where Catholic, Orthodox, the Old Believers from Krychinki village and Jews studied together. During the Soviet period, Jewish shops were closed and state sanctioned ones were opened in their place. The Germans occupied the village on July 21, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The ghetto was established shortly after the German’s arrival and existed for about three months. In December 1941, the Germans and policemen came from Sharkovshchina and enclosed all Jews in the school building, including Jews from the nearby villages such as Zamoshye and Kislovshchina. They stayed there less than a week, guarded by policemen armed with rifles. They were unable to leave the school and had to wear a sign “Juden” on their backs. Some young Jews managed to flee into the woods. The Soviet archives mentioned that the shooting was conducted in October; however the local witnesses confirmed the information from other historical sources that the execution was carried out in December 1941.

On December 17, 1941, all the Jews were taken from the school in groups to the pit outskirts of the village, which had been dug at the gravel quarry. They were forced to undress and shot; small children were thrown in alive. The shooting lasted two days. Afterwards, the pit remaied uncovered for about a month and a half. During this period, the Germans regularly shot people there. When the air in the village became unbreathable due to the smell of decomposition, the Germans ordered the pit to be filled in. Circa. 450-500 Jews (according to different sources) were shot in this pit: women, elderly people, and children.

Nearby villages

To support the work of Yahad-in Unum please consider making a donation

Do you have additional information regarding a village that you would like to share with Yahad ?

Please contact us at contact@yahadinunum.org
or by calling Yahad – In Unum at +33 (0) 1 53 20 13 17