Jews in Kobrin district

"Scenarios" of a chelovekoistrebleniye

On July 25, 1942 all inhabitants of this ghetto were brought together at Liberty Square where from a balcony of the two-storeyed house Angelovich addressed them with the soothing speech.

Liberty Square

 Apparently, informed on true intentions of Germans, he, nevertheless, business tones called all for tranquility, having assured that nothing bad threatens them. Just sending for work is necessary. Therefore recommended to take away with itself the most necessary things and food. After that the confused crowd surrounded with SS-men under cries of women and shouts of the frightened children was led on railway station. There they were waited by commodity cars into which with application of the most severe corrective actions began to push people. It is difficult to imagine what was created in tightly the closed cars, at the terrifying closeness, total absence of fresh air during a row of terrible and terrible hours. Weaker, especially women, children, old men, did not maintain fire and brimstone and to the destination reached corpses. Terminal station was Bronnaya Gore, near the city of Kartuz-Beryoza. As "scenario" of a chelovekoistrebleniye was pattern, I will provide the story of one of railroad workers in the face of which there was a punishment.

Previously three hundred local peasants dug out eight holes 40-80 meters long, 6 meters wide and 4 meters in depth. Then the site was enclosed with a fencing from a barbed wire. On specially prepared platforms fateful to death forced to strip to the skin. Then a beating and nauskivaniye of dogs security guards forced to come downstairs serially the victims on a bottom of a hole and to lay down facing the earth. The brought to the last degree of despair and dullness, unfortunate people executed the order implicitly. Apparently, inevitability "hypnosis" to some extent worked. Lying watered with automatic turns. On the killed and dying also obediently the following ranks laid down while the hole was not completely filled with the blood-stained human bodies. This meat grinder processed over 50 thousand people brought here from Kobrin, Ivanov, Gorodts, the Birch, Brest, Drogichin, Pinsk. However, were cruelly deceived in the hopes to escape also those inhabitants of a ghetto "And" which were firmly sure that they, thanks to their usefulness, will manage to escape. Punishment over them took place later – fall of 1942. All operation was thought carefully over and executed with notorious German accuracy.

This time the place of massacre was chosen on the fields of collective farm "New way" adjoining the western suburb of Kobrin. Previously 160 men of the village of Hidra were told to be with shovels here. Without having counted two tens, chasteners warned the others: at the appointed time all of them will be shot for work non-performance. Naturally, work began to boil. Executioners calculated that four ditches with a size of 60х60 meters will be enough, and the earth was providently showered in inside square. On perimeter of the place of punishment it was surrounded by submachine gunners. And again passive humility, incomprehensible for normal people, before inevitable worked. By hearsay, the first the chief rabbi who addressed brothers in faith with admonition went down in a hole: "As Jehovah transfers us to hands of enemies – it is necessary to obey resignedly his ox".

Monument to the victims of genocide shot in the summer of 1943.

From September 22 to September 26, 1942 Germans performed the operation "Triangle" on destruction of the villages of Borisovk Kobrin, Borka, Zabolotye Maloritsky of the regions of Belarus, Kartelisa of the Ratnovsky district of Ukraine. During operation in these villages 4060 people were destroyed. On the place of execution of inhabitants of Borisovki the monument – mother's sculpture in crying is put. On gravestones names and surnames of the dead which were established for that time are cut. In school historical museum of local lore which exists since May 9, 1981 the villages of Borisovk the Book of memory of the dead is made. About those terrible days remembers witnesses who by miracle survived: Elena Kulikovich: "In the morning the head declared that all were going to meeting in the center of the village, in the center because were afraid that people will run up. All inhabitants were driven on a rural cemetery, there they were undressed – men and women, with parties driven into the shelter, near the place of execution. Men were placed to dig a hole, their the first and shot. Then on 6-7 people began to remove with the shelter and to carry out to a grave (hole) and there to shoot. When we in the shelter remained a little, I with two women buried in straw. In straw we were not looked for but only let out turn of bullets which did not hook on us. When there came evening, we got out of the shelter. Hid in the wood, all action did not end yet".

Ippolit Pashkevich: "That terrible day I went to Divin. When came back, met the acquaintance politsy which told me that at me to the yard "brought order". I thought that took away all property. When came home, neither children, nor the wife were. Everything in the house was turned upside down. I began to look for a family. 300 from the house in a hole which was filled with water earlier I found corpses of children and the wife in meters. There were a body and neighbors. I went to look for somebody that helped to get bodies from a hole, found the old neighbor who by miracle survived. I got into a hole where was on a blood belt with water and began to give on the top of a body of people – they were 11. Everything on me became stiff. I did everything mechanically. I could not neither cry, nor shout but only bent down, took a body of the killed and gave upward. Buried the children and the wife right there, in the yard near the house, and buried the others in other grave. Since then also I live one. Grave of the most expensive to me people near the house. True I to them remained for the rest of life. The second time did not marry".

Mikhail Pavlyuchik: "I am from the village of Kartelisa. The father sent me to Borisovka to the owner of a mouth of cows. I then was 13 years old. I slept in the shelter. Woke up early. Went to the owner to the house to have breakfast – doors wide open. Houses nobody was. Ran to the neighbor. Thought to ask where my owner with a family. There I saw the owner. Germans his family grabbed with a round-up to which there and I got. On the square in the village we did not guess yet that was conceived by chasteners. And here when we were locked in the shelter and removed the first party of people, someone told: "Well, here, and the end came!" In confirmation to it shots sounded. Then they sounded without interruption, together with groans and shouts of the dead. Also my turn came. I was brought in the last party. To a freshly dug grave went through a corridor from fascist submachine gunners. We were put facing a hole. Below I saw the bodies covered with blood, groans still of living people reached from there. Killed on one, shot at a nape, and then legs chasteners threw off bodies in a ditch. I stood near the woman who on hands had a small child. The experienced fascist pulled out at it the child, struck with the head in the earth, threw in a hole. Then in a hole there was also mother. The second woman with the child, having strong pressed him to itself, did not give, and the body wanted to close it. Fight began. But it did not help. At this time someone whispered: "Run though you …" More I could not look at this awful slaughter. What will be, will be. Let will shoot better, than here so. And I ran far away from chasteners. Following shots sounded. Nearby bullets whistled. Unexpectedly I stumbled and from everything to a move fell to the ground. It also rescued me. I was easily wounded in a shoulder. Germans, probably, decided that the boy's corpse to them will not do harm. So I lay till the night. In twilight reached the village Kletishchi where to me tied up a wound. So I remained live".

These tragic days the combing wave on the deserted ghetto swept several times. The locked doors were broken, attics and cellars were carefully searched. Iron probes checked the land plots because many hid in in advance prepared and disguised shelters. The sick, ailing and left in houses old men were shot on the place. Only the most insignificant handful of people managed to escape from a cordon and to make the way in the wood to guerrillas. This nightmare lasted several days. Frozen with horror and consciousness of own vulnerability the remained citizens days and nights watchfully listened attentively to the ghettoes reaching from the territory and from places of mass executions of yesterday's neighbors sounds of the single shots mixed with desperate cries of human voices.

Among thousands tortured, which became in the annals of history the disturbing column of statistics, ten death stand independently. In days of Kobrin retaliatory expedition when doomed to death drove on streets, from a column several children escaped. By miracle they passed an environment chain, dived into an aperture of a stone fence and disappeared. The park at a church was the place of rescue.

Monument to priests

Here at night priests also found children: seven scared kids held floors of an old coat of the boy of years of eight. Ten people – two owners and eight Jewish children began to live in a lodge for priests now. Jan Volsky and Vladislav Grobelny were given by the traitor. Chasteners shot children and Catholic priests who sheltered them at temple walls. Their grave is on the southern suburb of the city near a monument to the shot Jews.

Monument to the Jews who died from hands of the fascist-German aggressors in October, 1942.

Then the next act of the tragedy – an extreme robbery of the property left by the dead followed. All personal property on categories was delivered in certain points where got over and was carefully sorted. More valuable and sound things were packed for departure "na faterlyand", other junk was distributed to the locals occupied at this work. This mean operation which is carried out under vigilant supervision of esesovsky services dragged on for several weeks.

It is necessary to add that till December, 1943 on "illegal", so to speak, situation local authorities supported the 72 most qualified handicraftsmen in Kobrin prison – Jews of different specialties. Temporarily life was kept by it for service of employees of a gebitkomissariat. Their life broke on the place of the previous mass punishment. Similar extermination of inhabitants of a ghetto took place in 1942 in the towns of Divin (1450 people) and Gorodtsa (269 people). The chief of local SD Bichman directed all this.

In the spring of 1944, having a presentiment of payment approach, fascists hastily tried to destroy traces of the crimes. From Kobrin prison drove 80 prisoners and forced them to dig out trenches at Divinskoye Highway, to take the semi-decayed corpses, and then, having put stacks, to burn. Did not feel sorry for fuel on this purpose. The trace shot and burned prisoners. Several days wind drove a dense, suffocating smoke on the city, after all over 4,5 thousand corpses were "processed" here. But fascists did not manage to hide a crime: witnesses on the Nuremberg process spoke about it.

In spite of the fact that any help to Jews was cruelly punished by fascists, there was much and such who tried to rescue them. They opened a door for the frozen, dirty, often undressed and soiled by blood people who survived and could get out of graves where shot lay. They gave to the deprived a roof and food, supplied with counterfeit documents.

Among the few, "And" seventeen-year-old George Bill was miracle of the survived Jews of a ghetto. While his other fellow citizens were brought to execution, he ran in to the empty shop building on Liberty Square and hid under a counter where stayed till the evening. When beat understood that all were taken out, he decided to go outside from shelter. Having hardly stepped into a city square, he saw the meeting halfway two Germans. Situation seemed hopeless, but, fortunately, George noticed the familiar girl, quickly approached her, embraced and, hiding a face, whispered on an ear that it did not push away him. The girl Pole quickly thought in what she business, and entered game. So, having embraced, young people reached the house of parents of the girl where Bill hid from the German invaders within several months. Then it was secretly taken out to Poland. There he lived until the end of war. In post-war time went to Israel where lives and until now. In an exposition of the Kobrin military and historical museum the photocopy of the passport - "ausvays" of George Bill is shown.

Kobrin military and historical museum of A. V. Suvorov

Several times it came in Kobrin. Obviously, the endured sufferings are not erased from memory. From V. L. Dimchuk's memoirs, the inhabitant Mr. Kobrin (on July 7, 1949): "Since July, 1942 Germans began to carry out brutal punishments over civilians. They subjected to bombing of the village of Kamenka, Recyca, Borsches, Zasimovo and Leskovo. In August 22 numbers of 1942 the German parts from of Kobrin by means of police and aircraft surrounded in the morning, at dawn, the village of Kamenka, collected civilians. Put in a row on the earth, facedown and beat sticks within an inch of the life … The population lay in blood.

Suddenly the German general by plane dvukhfyuzelyazhny arrived and landed about the village of Kamenka. At this time one officer – the German reported on the general that the traitor Vovchik ran away to ways, and without him it is impossible to identify the persons who are subject to execution. The general gave the order to shoot all is universal, without analysis! Completely to burn the settlement Kamenka. At this time in the village of Kamenka 216 people were shot … Took away cattle, took away property, and set fire to the village torches and left. About 40 houses burned down, it is a lot of cold constructions. After that the general got into the plane and departed to Kobrin. Also the aircraft, soldiers and officers in the uniform of pilots from Kobrin airfield took part in this operation.

Same month, in 1942, approximately on August 21, it was burned and died the population in villages Borsches, Recyca much. The population was driven in sheds and shot. How many died there – it is unknown … In 1943 in March the German planes Borsches, Recyca did a secondary raid on the village of Kamenka and the farm, and also on villages. Threw fire bombs and bottles, fired therefore died and the survived population, houses burned …

At me in a family 2 sons, one 10 years, and to another – 6 are shot. In 1944 at retreat … the German soldiers or officers three together came to plunder the settlement of Leskovo located in 7 kilometers of of Kobrin. They were armed with submachine guns. They were beaten by guerrillas. After that Germans made a raid of aircraft and burned all village from air".

In 1953 the parliament of Israel entered the concept "Righteous Persons of the World"; this rank is given by that who disinterestedly helped Jews during World War II. About 300 people from 16 thousand of "Righteous persons of the world" live in Belarus and one of them – in Kobrin. This is Olga Danilovna Chirun who rescued Raisa Polevuyu. This history.

Raisa Polevaya by the beginning of war together with the husband serviceman arrived from Moscow to the Brest fortress. The husband died in the first day of war, and Raisa was taken prisoner where the daughter Nellie gave rise. Having released from captivity, the woman gets to the village Batchi. There she also lodged in the neighbourhood with Olga Chirun in the house of her aunt. Olga helped with everything to Raisa. All in the district knew that Raisa is the Jew, but nobody gave her. In 1945 she returned home. Burdens of war pulled together two girls and they became good girlfriends. In spite of the fact that Raisa died in 1988 (her daughter lives in the USA now), and Olga died in 2003, the relations of two families are maintained till today.

Work materials "Genocide of the Jewish people in Kobrin district" are partially used
Authors: Kupranovich A., Kokina S. F., Kaplan Yu. V.



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