1 Execution site(s)
Zdislav Y., born in 1932: “The Germans started to humiliate and abuse the Jews immediately after the occupation. I don’t understand why they were so aggressive towards them, why they wanted to exterminate them. At the beginning, the Jews remained living in their houses, but then the ghetto was created. Eleven or twelve elderly Jews were killed there as they couldn’t walk. It happened at night. The younger ones escaped to the forest.” (Witness n°920, interviewed in Khotenchitsy, on July 30, 2017)
Khotenchitsy is located 45km north of Minsk. From 1920-1939, the village was under Polish rule. In 1939 it became a part of the USSR following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. On the eve of the war, around 80 Jews lived in the village. Most of them were engaged in commerce and owned shops, as well as a bakery. Some were artisans. Khotenchitsy was occupied by German forces on July 3, 1941.
The Germans started to hunt down and humiliate the Jews immediately after the occupation. According to historical sources, before the creation of the ghetto, around 100 Jews were locked up in the local school building for several days. Later, they were resettled to the ghetto, which consisted of just a few small houses located outside the village. The ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire that was put up by requisitioned villagers and the Jews themselves. The Jews were forced to perform different types of hard labor, such as road and railroad repairing and cleaning. On March 14, 1942, partisans attacked the Khotenchitsy estate. On March 17, 1942 a detachment of German security police arrived in Ilya, a village located 15 km north-west from Khotenchitsy, and executed about 900 Jews as a reprisal, including 720 Jews from Ilya and 180 Jews from the nearby villages. A Jewish survivor from the Ilya ghetto came to Khotenchitsy to relay the information about what had happened and to warn the Jews there that they would also be killed. Fifteen Jewish families, about 70 Jews in all, decided to flee from the ghetto and join the partisans in the forest. At night they managed to escape, leaving behind about a dozen Jews who were unable to walk.
For more information about the execution in Ilia please refer to the corresponding profile
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