1 Execution site(s)
Ielena S., born in 1931: “The Germans locked up the elderly Jewish people who weren’t able to walk in the column in a wooden house in the ghetto. They burned down this house. We heard the screams." (Witness N°368 interviewed in Pieski, on November 15, 2010)
"In Peski, the Germans gathered the old people and the children in a building. Then, 35 sick people were brought to the building and the Germans doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. The powerless civilians suffocated in the smoke, grimaced in pain and burned alive." [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M/7021-86/43]
Pieski is a village located 25 km (15mi) north of the city of Volkovysk. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the 17th century. In 1921, 1,249 Jews lived in the village. The majority of Pieski’s Jews lived off small-scale trade and handicraft. The Jewish community had a cemetery and a prayer house. During the interwar period, the town was under Polish rule. However, in September 1939, it was taken over by the Soviet Union. In 1939, after the German invasion of Poland, many refugees from western Poland came to Peski. They were accommodated by locals. On the eve of the war, circa. 1,500 Jews lived in Pieski.
Pieski was occupied by German forces at the end of June 1941. A short while later, a series of anti-Jewish measures were implemented. All the Jews were marked with yellow distinguishing badges. The Jews were subjected to perform different kinds of forced labor, such as farm and construction work. They continued to live in their homes until July 1942, when a ghetto was established in the old Jewish neighborhood, near the Jewish cemetery. It was fenced in with barbed wire. One of its boundaries ended just before the Zelvianka River. The ghetto was sealed off and it was forbidden to leave its territory in late October 1942. During this time, Jews from the small communities in the surrounding were brought to Pesky and confined in the ghetto. On November 2, 1942, about 360 Jews were brought to the Pieski ghetto from Mosty, for example. According to the estimates of a Jewish survivor, about 2,500 Jews remained in the ghetto before it was moved to Volkovysk.
On November 3, 1942, all the Jews able to walk were driven to a transit camp located outside of Volkovysk. According to a witness interviewed by Yahad In - Unum, several hundred carts and inhabitants of the village were requisitioned to transport the Jews. Even though, there were available transport, the elderly Jews were gathered in a house, which was subsequently set on fire. About 35 Jews perished in the blaze, which also destroyed a large part of the ghetto. Once the Jews were moved to the Volkovysk transit camp, their belongings were sold. The Jews from Pieski were deported from the Volkovysk transit camp to the Treblinka extermination camp on December 2, 1942. In all, about 17,500 Jewish inmates were confined in the transit camp in Volkovysk, and then deported to the extermination camp.
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