Kostyukovichi | Mogilev

/ Rural ambiance in the village of Kostyukovichi. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Nadezhda K, born in 1928, remembered that there were a lot of Jewish inhabitants in Kostyukovichi before the war. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team preparing for an interview. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the grave. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mikhail S. was an eyewitness to the shooting of the Jews. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kostyukovichi

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Field
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Leonid B.: “The communists and the partisans were executed at the monument near the hospital. I saw the partisans with their families, they were transported by policemen and German soldiers at dusk. I could hear the partisans screaming “we die for Stalin." I heard the shootings and saw the shooting site the next day. The grave was “breathing”. I know other shootings took place at the same site”. (Witness N°637, interviewed in Kostyukovichi, on June 15, 2013).

Soviet archives

“After the grave was dug up, the following victims were discovered: 148 children 0-15 years old, 128 men, including 43 between the ages of 15 and 30, 85 elderly people and 265 women, including 11 between the ages of 5 and 15. All the corpses near the Kommunary station were almost fully undressed, wearing only underwear, some children had their faces and heads wrapped with rags, 31 children under 5 years old had had their spinal columns broken.” [Deposition of Leonid B., eyewitness of the shooting of the Jews of Kostyukovichi, made on May 14, 1944, RG 22.022M/7021-88/38].

Historical note

Kostyukovichi is located about 130km (81mi) east/southeast of Mogilev. Jews began to settle in the village in the 18th century. They were traders or artisans. By 1897 about 2,200 Jews lived in the shtetl making up 65% of the total population. The majority of the Kostyukovichi Jews lived off small scale trade or handcraft.  Many Jews worked in the mixed kolkhoz "Parizhskaya Kommuna" creatd in the 1920s.  On the eve of the war, only 19% of the population was Jews, 1,134 Jews lived in the town in 1939. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kostyukovichi was occupied by the Germans on August 14, 1941 but many of the town’s Jews succeeded in leaving beforehand. Shortly after the occupation, the Jews were transferred to the ghetto. They were forced to work in the sand quarry. According to some sources, a shooting took place in the Orthodox cemetery in November 1941: 350 Jews were shot that day. According to Yahad field research, on September 3, 1942, the Jews were forced to gather following a request by the local starosta, under the pretext of further displacement to Palestine. They were then taken outside of the town towards the Kommunary railway station, when the Germans shot them in groups of 50 into pits. Before being shot, the Jews were forced to undress, and had their valuables collected by local policemen and German soldiers. The pit was filled in by local residents, including women. According to some sources, in March 1943, another 161 Jews were shot near the rope factory. On April 14 and 15, 1943, policemen from Kostyukovichi shot another 14 Jews.

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