3 Execution site(s)
Georguiy B., born in 1933, recounts: “The first time I saw local policemen, I was in the courtyard with my grandfather, sawing some wood. A man arrived and he asked us if there were Jews around. We responded that there were not. They left and I saw then that they made my Jewish neighbor get out of her house, then took her with them. Later, the inhabitants told us that all the Jews had been brought near the Pripyat River and shot. Later, residents took back bodies from the river and buried them in a grave, close to the shore.” (Eyewitness N°857, interviewed in Petrikov, on September 25, 2014).
“At the end of April 1942, at four o’clock in the morning, the gendarmerie, helped by the police, brought all of the 50-60 remaining Jews to the slaughterhouse, 1km northeast of Petrikov. Before shooting them, these people were locked in a shed, where they had to undress. Then, one by one, we brought them to the shooting. For a long time, the bodies were lying on the ground, without being buried. It was forbidden to approach them. Approximately two weeks later, the local population was ordered to bury the bodies.“ [Act of The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M. 7021-91/22]
Petrikov is a city situated 175 km southwest of Gomel, which is a district center, as it was before the war. Before the war, there was an important Jewish population living mostly in the city center. In 1939, more than 1000 Jews lived in the center. Most of them were storekeepers. There were two big wooden synagogues and a wooden Jewish school. The city was occupied by German troops in July 1941.
Until the end of summer 1941, Jews were allowed to live in their own houses, even if they had to wear special distinguishing badges.
On September 22, 1941, a German punitive squad, of the 1st SS-Cavalry Brigade, came to the city. 300 Jews who were celebrating the Jewish New Year in the synagogue were driven out of the synagogue, forced to undress and pushed into a pond near the Pripiat River. Then, they were shot in the pond. Later, local residents were requisitioned to bury the corpses in a grave near the pond. The day after, many other Jews were killed directly in the streets of the city or burned alive in their houses. Afterwards, a ghetto was set up in a few houses on Volodarskiyi Street. The ghetto was fenced off by barbed wire and patrolled by local policemen. Jews were forced to perform tasks like clearing snow from the roads.
A second aktion was carried out on February 15, 1942, by Germans and Hungarian soldiers who looked for hidden Jews. They burned Jewish belongings and houses. Some Jews were chased away towards the village of Belki, some 2 kilometers from Petrikov, where they were shot. There were around 200 victims on this day.
The ghetto was liquidated at the end of April 1942. The Jews were driven by trucks near the slaughterhouse northeast of Petrikov.The Jews were locked up in a barn, where they had to undress.Then, they were shot by the Germans on the slaughterhouse territory. The corpses were buried on the site by local inhabitants more than two weeks later.
According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Yahad, a sale of Jewish clothing was organized on the market square by local policemen. In addition to local Jews, there were also executions of the Jews from the nearby villages. In autumn 1941, 25 Jews from Ogolitskaya Rudnya were killed in the forest close to Petrikov.
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