1 Execution site(s)
Stepan S., born in 1929: “I saw a large column of Jews coming from the direction of Berezino on the Minsk-Mogilev road. The column was escorted by Germans with dogs. The Jews were shot in a shell hole. I was gathering potatoes with my mother during the shooting.” (Testimony n°663, interviewed on June 26, 2013, in Novosyolki)
We, the undersigned commission […] carried out an examination of the mass grave located on the crossroad in the district of Berezino, between the villages of Novosolki and Pogost, 50km away from the road Minsk-Mogilev. After having interrogated the local population, we established that at the beginning of 1942, 200 people of Jewish origin were shot and buried in a single pit. The dimensions of the mass grave are 10x8x2”. [Act drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission, on October 30, 1944; RG 22.002M, 7021-87/2]
Novosolki is located about 100km east of Minsk. The first record of Jews in this district goes back to 17th century. There were some Jewish families living in Novosolki, but the biggest Jewish community lived in the nearby town of Berezino, located 9km away. Throughout history, the Jews suffered from different waves of pogroms (in 1649 and in 1920). In 1847, the community numbered 1,289 and by 1897 it had increased to 3,377 individuals, comprising 70% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and handcrafts. There were several artisan cooperatives and a kolkhoz. According to the census, on the eve of the war, 1,536 Jews lived in the town. A small number of Jews managed to evacuate before the occupation.
The Germans occupied the district on July 3, 1941. All the local Jews were placed in the Berezino ghetto created in summer or autumn of 1941. In early 1942, about 200 Jews, mainly men, were taken from Berezino and shot in pits close to the Mogilev-Minsk road, half way between Berezino and Pogost. According to an eyewitness of the shooting, the victims were lined up on the edge of a shell-hole and shot with a submachine gun. The mass grave remained guarded by Germans with dogs sometime after the shooting. The remaining Jews confined in the Berezino ghetto were murdered in January-February, 1942 on the Internatsionalnaya Street in Berezino.
For more information about the execution of Jews in Berezino, please, refer to the corresponding profile.
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