Gantsevichi | Brest

The students of Polish school, 1930. From local the archives ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Pre-war view of the street of Gantsevichi from the local archives ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Students of the Polish school, 1930. From the local archives. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Pre-war view of the street of Gantsevichi from the local archives ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Gantsevichi youth club, 1930. From the local archives   ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Jewish youth. All were murdered during the war. From the local archives ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum / The Yahad research team looking for witnesses. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Stanislav R., born in 1929, witnessed three different shootings. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad - In Unum team with Stanislav R. near the execution. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Ivan K., born in 1929, “a special unit dressed in civilian clothes was in charge of collecting and selling the Jewish belongings.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Vladimir K., born in 1927, remembered that the ghetto was surrounded by a high fence and was guarded by local police, SD soldiers, Latvians and Lithuanians. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Yelena B., born in 1920, Polish: “Jews were forced to wear yellow circles so that people could recognize them. All the Jews still in the ghetto were shot on one day.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Ivan M., born in 1926, “Before being killed, the Jews had to undress. The police then searched through the clothes.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Yahad’s team during the interview at the yard. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum One of the execution sites. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The memorial to the Jewish victims murdered by the Nazis during the war. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Gantsevichi

6 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Woods
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
3500

Witness interview

Ivan M., born in 1926, remembers the shooting: “I saw a column arrive at the 20m long ditch. It was located on the edge of the woods, not far from the main street of the village. There were several columns of about 40-50 Jews. Before being killed, the police forced them to undress. They were looking for valuables. Then the Jews were lined up near the pit and shot with a machine gun from the truck. The execution lasted all day. All the Jews - women, men, children - were murdered that day.” (Eyewitness N°275, interviewed in Gantsevichi, on March 31, 2010)

Soviet archives

"In the area of Gantsevichi, the commission investigated the victims’ graves following the fascist terror: in a grave located on the road from Gantsevichi to Khotynichi, measuring 21x30 meters, 233 civilians from Gantsevitchi were found. The Germans had forced them to dig their own grave, and savagely shot them with machine guns. Then they were all buried, dead or alive." [Act of the Soviet State extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-82/6.]

German archives

"The Jews were killed one kilometer from Gantsevichi, near the road leading to Baranovichi, in a small wood. I saw the grave where the Jews were buried myself. The grave was 100m long and 2,5m wide. The execution of the Jews was carried out by an SS unit." [Deposition, B162-2493]

Historical note

Gantsevichi is a small town that was set up in 1898. It is located about 200km northwest of Brest. Before the war, 60% of the population was Jewish. In the 1920s and 1930s, there were four synagogues, a Jewish library, an orphanage, a Tarbut school and school in Yiddish. Under the Polish administration in 1939, the town was occupied by Soviets. The German army arrived on June 29, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish Aktions started immediately after the Germans’ arrival. From June 30 to July 01, 1941, a pogrom occurred during which 16 Jews were murdered. On August 15, 1941, 350 Jewish men were executed in the forest aournd 11km away from Gantsevichi. 600 Jews were shot in the town’s market place. During another Aktion, 1,000 Jewish men were taken to the forest 1km away and shot dead. A concentration camp was established in November 1941. Alongside the local Jews, there were 230 Jews from Lenin and 120 native to Pogost. Small executions of circa. 70-150 Jews took place periodically. During one of these executions, 100 Jewish refugees from Warsaw, along with two local families, Fish and Zeiger, were executed and buried in the Peski ravine. On August 14, 1942, more than 300 Jews fled the camp and others were shot. In all, during the course of the occupation, 3,500 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the district of Gantsevichi, including 1,500 women and 850 children.

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