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(No. 11/2005 – September 2005)
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Dr. Leonid Smilovitsky of Tel Aviv University has been a prolific researcher into the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union, and the fate of Jewish communities throughout that region, as well as a frequent contributor to this web site.  His paper on Ghettos in the Gomel Oblast of Belorussia was presented at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for Advanced Studies Symposium on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, held November 2003  in Washington, D.C.

  We thank Dr. Smilovitsky and the USHMM for permission to publish his paper.

 

© This article is copyrighted by Leonid Smilovitsky, Ph.D.

Reprinting or copying of this article is not allowed
without prior permission from the copyrightholders
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Ghettos in the Gomel Region:

Commonalities and Unique Features, 1941-42

by Leonid Smilovitsky, Ph.D.,

Diaspora Research Center Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of the Humanities Tel Aviv University

 

On the Eve of the Holocaust

     The Gomel Region (oblast) was formed in January 1938 in the southwest region of Belorussia, which neighbors Russia and Ukraine. On January 1, 1941, the region included 15 districts (rayony): Buda-Koshelevo, Vetka, Gomel, Dobrush, Zhlobin, Zhuravichi, Korma, Loev, Rogachev, Rechitsa, Streshin, Svetilovichi, Uvarovichi, Terekhov, and Chechersk, 235 rural councils (selsovety), six cities, eight small towns, and one working settlement (rabochi posiolok). The Gomel Region was the smallest of the ten pre-war regions on the Belorussian territory. It contained 15,800 square kilometers, or 7% of the republic’s territory. The capital of the Region, the city of Gomel (301 kilometers from Minsk), served as a major industrial center and transportation junction. It connected all railroad and automobile routes to Zhlobin, Kalinkovichi, Bobruisk, Mogilev (Belorussia), Chernigov, Shchors, Novozybkov (Ukraine) (see Appendix, table 1).

     The makeup of the population of the Gomel Region was multinational and at the beginning of 1941, the population totaled 917,100. Mostly Belorussians and Jews lived here, as well as Russians, Ukrainians, Latvians, Czechs, Poles, and Germans. Before 1938, the national minorities had their own ethnic neighborhoods and regions (1).

     In January 1939, Jews were the third largest group after Belorussians in the Gomel Region: 80.8% Belorussians, 7.8% Russians, 7.4% Jews, 2.7 Ukrainians, 0.5 Poles and 0.8% others (Piotr Eberhardt. Przemiany narodowosciowe na Bialiorusi. Warsawa, 1994, s. 134). Excluding the capital (Gomel), Jews numbering in the region itself as 20,969 and mostly they lived in villages and small towns. The largest Jewish populations were in Korma (40.3%), Streshen (33%), Rechitsa (24.3%), Zhlobin and Chechersk (20%).(2) Jews were widely represented among officials, the intelligentsia, doctors, engineers and technical workers, and other skilled workers. They actively participated in civic and cultural life(3). The Jewish population of the Gomel region from 1939 to 1941 was raised due to the natural increase and inflow of refugees from the nearby-occupied Poland. By summer 1941, the total Jewish population of this District had reached 22,360, including 1,391 Jewish refugees(4). The Jewish population of the city of Gomel by January 1939 was estimated at 40,880 people. We may assume that it was increased by natural cause and inflow of refugees (700 people) and had reached at least 44,000 by summer 1941. (5) Therefore, the total Jewish community of both the city of Gomel and Gomel District was around 70,000 people by the outbreak of the Soviet-German war.

Defense

     At the beginning of the war, Belorussia became the location of some of the most destructive battles as it lay across the route of advance of the main German armies directed toward Moscow. Initially people were disoriented and awaited the Red Army’s counteroffensive. The defense of Gomel was pivotal to the fate of the city’s Jews. In the first ten-days of July 1941, Gomel was still considered a relatively safe place, so the officials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and other government authorities of the BSSR moved here from Mogilev. Soviet troops crossed over to the right bank of the Dniepr River and on July 3 carried out a surprise attack on the enemy. They freed Rogachev and Zhlobin, but were unable to retake Bobruisk. This success inspired hope that the situation was still not so bad. However, on August 12, German forces seized the Dniepr again in the Streshin district and began their offensive towards Gomel. On August 19 they attacked the city, and within three days the Red Army had retreated completely.

     In certain areas of the Gomel Region resistance to Nazi rule was especially persistent. In the Southern region of the Pinsk swamps (Mozyr, Kalinkovichi, Turov) military action began on July 6-10, 1941. Turov was defended by frontier guards, regular units of the Red Army, sailors from the Dniepr River fleet, civilian militia (Istrebitel’ny batalion) and partisans. The Germans tried to capture it several times. Firstly, they seized it on July 15 and held it until August 4, 1941. The second time, the Nazis took the town on August 14, but by evening, they were again thrown out. On the night of August 23, German warships (bronirovannye katera) having sailed from Pinsk, bombed Turov with incendiary shells. Neighboring villages - Ridcha, Sleptsy, Chernichi were set on fire and Turov was seized.(6) Local Soviet ruling bodies tried unsuccessfully to organize a defense with their own forces. In the Buda-Koshelevo, Dobrush, Zhuravichi, and Uvarovichi districts partisan detachments comprised of local residents withdrew along with parts of the Red Army. In July 1941, police and state security employees in Mozyr formed mobile groups for organized resistance. However, the Germans soon forced them to flee. Members of these units were able to hide out in villages with the assistance of local residents, and only after a year began to organize partisan detachments.(7) In the middle of September 1941, the Rechitsa Partisan Detachment dispersed. Some of the partisans were killed in battle, while others went to the front line. After Turov was seized, the partisans withdrew, along with the frontier guards, to the right side of the Stviga River. In September 1941, the Turov Partisan Detachment merged with the Stolin Detachment and carried out fighting operations in the districts of David-Gorodok and Turov until September 30, 1941, when it was surrounded and defeated.(8)

Evacuation

     The continuing success of the German advance did not allow people to recognize the danger threatening them. Most people were disoriented and many awaited a Red Army counteroffensive. By June 29, 1941, the Nazis had already occupied Minsk, where the local leadership had secretly fled on June 24, 1941 without announcing an evacuation. As a result, almost 100,000 Jews were captured by the German advance in Minsk, where most were subsequently killed. The Nazis occupied Vitebsk by July 11, 1941 and as a result, about 20,000 out of 37,000 Jews were killed there. German forces arrived in Mogilev on July 27, 1941 and out of 20,000 Jews, 10,000 managed to evacuate (9).

     In this respect, the Jews of Gomel had more favorable conditions. German forces did not arrive here in the first few days, as they did in Western Poland, or weeks, as in Eastern Belorussia, but almost two months later. The defense of the city and the evacuation of industrial enterprises at the beginning of August allowed many to escape to the East. Around 40 major enterprises were evacuated from Gomel and each train carrying industrial equipment also took with it about 100 people. We have no knowledge of how many people were killed en route by bombs, or how many died of hunger and disease. The way to their evacuation destinations was long - lasting from several weeks to several months. (10)

     By August 19, 80,000 people of all nationalities left Gomel and only about 4,000 Jews (9%) out of a prewar total of 44,000 were left. Among the last towns of the Gomel Region, (within contemporary borders) to be abandoned by the Red Army were Rechitsa on August 21, 1941, Mozyr on August 22, Turov on August 23, and Khoiniki on August 25 (11).

     The Jewish populations of the smaller localities (shtetls and little towns) in the Gomel Region suffered more. Most of them were far away from the main rail lines and roads. In these towns the conditions were strikingly different from in industrial Gomel. They were not bombed by air and received only a few refugees from the West, who could have informed people about the Nazi treatment of the Jews.Younger Jews moved to industrial centers or went off to study before the war, while older people were used to living as in the “olden times.” Local authorities did not take enough initiative, and the chances of the Jews in these small towns surviving were much less. As a result, 98% of the Jewish population was killed in Buda-Koshelevo, 90.4% in Parichi, 84% in Streshen, 71% in Korma, and 72% in Rogachev. But there were also exceptions - in Mozyr only 23.7% of the Jewish population was killed, as there was a river port on the Pripiat, and in Chechersk, 32.3% were killed, as the evacuation was better organized. The defense of Turov was more stubborn - possession of the small town went back and forth three times within two months between the Red Army and the German forces. Jews attempted to leave by any means (by foot, with carts inside the forests, and by barges and boats on the Pripiat and Dniepr Rivers) and almost 60% escaped. On the other hand, in Rechitsa the opportunity to escape was missed, despite the fact that the town was 60 kilometers from Gomel, was on the railroad, and had a pier on the Dniepr. From July to August 1941, Rechitsa lived through three “panics” when the Germans, according to rumors, broke through the front. People ran, but returned after reaching Parichi, Gomel, or Loev. As a result, 48% of the Jewish community ended up in the Rechitsa ghetto, where the Nazis shot them all in November 25, 1941 (12).

Beginning of Occupation and Establishment of the Ghetto

     Occupying authorities divided the Gomel Region territory (in its administrative border of prewar Gomel and Polesye Regions) into a several districts. The first was made up of eight parts (currently Gomel, Buda-Koshelevo, Vetka, Dobrush, Terekhov, Uvarovichi, and Pechera districts). All of them were subordinated to the rear of Army Group Center (tyl gruppy armii “Tsentr”). The second, Southern part of the Gomel Region (currently Petrikov, Zhitkovichi, Rechitsa, Svetlogorsk, Turov, Mozyr, and several others) was annexed to the Reichkommissariat Ukraine, and was subordinate to the Zhitomer general district (see table 2).

     After occupying a territory (small town, city, or village), the Germans attempted to determine, precisely, who exactly was Jewish? Usually, for this purpose, they arranged a registration of the remaining Jewish population. In other cases, they issued special decrees. The District Kommissar in Mozyr explained to the regional Kommissar in Kalinkovichi, that it was necessary to consider anyone who was born to a Jewish parent a Jew. It was more precisely determined that a Christian baptism did not change matters, and baptizing Jews or half-Jews was categorically forbidden.(13).

     The next stage was separating the Jews and establishing a ghetto. Twenty ghettos were established in the Gomel region, in which no less than 21,000 people were imprisoned (see table 3). There were four ghettos in the city of Gomel, two in Zhlobin, two in Korma, and one in Rogachev, Bragin, Khoiniki, Rechitsa, and several other places.(14) In Gomel, the main ghetto was located in the Monastyrek district, to which the Nazis drove the residents (800 Jews) in the central part of town. The second ghetto was on Novo-Lyubenskaya Street and housed 500 Jews, including 97 Jews brought to Gomel from Loev. The third ghetto was on Bykhovskaya Street. Jews who lived in Novo-Belitsa, on the left bank of the Sozh River, were placed in a different ghetto. In September 1941, 200 ghetto residents were transferred to Monastyrek. Ghetto prisoners were doomed, but a temporary exception was made for the Jewish specialist workers. The order of the SS cavalry brigade from September 28, 1941 stated, “It is obvious that craftsmen may be temporarily preserved.”(15)

     However, ghettos were not organized in each place of the Gomel Region. In some places the Jewish population was almost completely gone, and in others, the Jewish population was resettled to larger villages. Ghettos were not created in Bragin, Vetka, Zhuravichi, Komarin, Kopatkevichi, Loev, Narovlia, Svetilovichi, Uvarovichi, Terehov, Turov, Khoiniki, and some other places. Regardless of this, men in these places were sent to perform compulsory labor and were subject to daily punishments and religious Jews were forced to have their beards shaved. Wehrmacht soldiers sometimes informed Jews about plans of the mass shootings. In Turov, the Vainblat sisters, Chasya (15 years old) and Bronya (13 years old) peeled potatoes at a German kitchen in exchange for food. Ilya Goberman remembers that an Austrian soldier warned him that Germans were annihilating all Jews. “Run, the faster, the better,” he used to say.(16).

Methods of Carrying out Aktions of Annihilation

     The destruction of a ghetto was planned in advance and carried out as a carefully prepared operation. Usually it was done in two stages. First, young and strong men were selected and led out of the ghetto under the pretense that they were completing some kind of a job. Then they were forced to dig a ditch and were killed. That is how the ghettos were rid of people who were ready and able to resist. This included former Party and Soviet-Komsomol workers, or simply healthy men, and sometimes women. The active part of the ghetto was not large - young men of military age were already in the army. The Germans carried out the first killings by exerting force, using experienced guards and all necessary precautions (in Gomel, Mozyr, Kalinkovichi, Korma). The Belorussian police took on a secondary role in the first stage of the killings. The rest of the Jews were crushed and deprived of the will to live- women, children, and the elderly- was killed with the Nazis’ bare hands (in Dobrush, Chechersk, Zhitkovichi). After a while, police, comprised of locals, and a minimal convoy, led these remaining Jews out of the ghetto to their place of death.  Such a tactic was successful (without much exertion of force) in places where the liquidation of Jews was carried out early September, October-November 1941. In winter 1942, a different tactic of killing was used - raids (in Zhlobin, Petrikov, Streshin, Chechersk).

    The role of the Belorussian police in killing Jews became particularly noticeable during the second wave of destruction, starting in February-March 1941. By that time, it had been converted into a more organized force, while the Germans, experienced a greater need for a personal cadre of executioners, as more people were needed at the front. During the process of an action, local police forced Jews out of their homes, convoyed them to a specific place, surrounded them with guns, and pulled the triggers. After the mass shooting, the police actively searched for the hiding Jews and were distinctive in their cruelty, compared to the Germans (17).

 

Aktions of Annihilation

 

    The Germans, in accordance with a famous order issued by the commissar, carried out the killing of Jews. The commissar’s position was made public because all Jews of all ages, of both genders, and including the children, were subject to the commissar’s orders. The Wehrmacht leaders had an order from the Feldmarshal Reichenau, issued on October 10, 1941 to the Keitel directives, called “the Jews on Newly Occupied Eastern Territories. The annihilation of the Jewish population in the Gomel Oblast was carried out in several stages.

            The first: Einsatzgruppen, the police sections of the SS, Wehrmacht, and local collaborators, carried out the first stage as early as summer 1941.

            The second stage was marked by the concentration of the Jewish population in the ghetto, for the purpose of annihilation (summer-fall 1941).

            The third stage was the liquidation of the ghettos (fall 1941-spring 1942).

            The fourth stage - “clean up”, was the search for and annihilation of survivors in the ghetto (spring-beginning of summer 1942).

            Einsatzgruppe “B” set the example of “appeasement of conquered occupied territory” in Belorussia. This was one of four Einsatzgruppen SS komands, created for the physical annihilation of Jews, commissars, communists and soviet workers, and other enemies of the Reich. The Einsatzgruppe “B” went through the eastern regions of Belorussia in two “waves” (summer-fall 1941 and winter 1941 - fall 1942), carrying out mass shootings, during which thousands of Jews perished.(18) In August 1941 the first cavalry brigade of the SS and parts of the 162nd and 252nd divisions participated in a punitive operation combing the Pripyet marshes for Jews. They went from west to east, through Pinsk, Polesye, Gomel regions, and parts of the Minsk region. In places where they encountered resistance, they destroyed entire villages. According to the commander of the cavalry brigade, as a result of the punitive operation 13,788 Soviet citizens were shot (how many Jews and Non-Jews).(19)

    German “statements of events” reports include notes about killings of the specific groups of Jews in the Gomel Region in September-November 1941. In August, the Nazis killed ten Jews in Gomel “for diversionary acts” immediately after entering the city and in October they killed 52 Jews who “tried to pass as Russians”. In December 1941, Einsantzgruppen “B” reported shooting of 2365 Gomel Jews “for supporting partisans.” Aside from the Einsatzgruppen, the “Kommandostab Reichsführer - SS”, police formations (German “order police”- ORPO), the secret field police (GFP), and the field Gendarmes and local commanders dealt with the Jews.(20)

    Some of the Gomel Region Jews perished in prisons (in Bragin, Mozyr, Narovlia, Parichi, Rechitsa, and Chechersk) and work camps (in Zhlobin, Kalinkovichi, Lyuban, Choiniki, and Shchedrin). In Gomel, many Jews died while performing peat-mining jobs in Kabanovka, where ghetto and jail prisoners were transferred. In addition to that, several hundred Gomel Jews perished in labor camps near Gomel (21).

    The pretexts, under which the Nazis and their collaborators gathered the Jews before aktions, did not vary. These were usually orders to register or to resettle, announcements of new living conditions on occupied territories, etc. On September 20, 1941, in Kalinkovichi, a sign was hung stating that all Jews had to resettle to a permanent place of residence on Dachnaya Street. At the same time, four Gestapo officers searched for a place to carry out a mass aktion. They chose a railroad transfer location to Dudichi, 1.5 kilometers from the city. On September 22, 700 Jews were driven there on twelve commercial vehicles and shot.(22) In Petrikov, the Nazis and their collaborators arrived on motorboats and cutters, by way of the Pripyet River. They ordered the local residents to paint crosses on their houses with chalk. Then they began to deal with the Jews, who they forced into the water and shot (more than 300 people). On the next day, they looked for surviving Jews in houses and once they found the Jews, they killed them right on the street.(23)In Koptsevichi, 25 women, children, and elderly people, were gathered and put in automobiles, under the pretext that they would be taken to an interrogation in Petrikov. But they never made it to Petrikov, instead they were taken to the Zheleznitsa forest and shot.(24)

    From August 1941 to February 1942, thousands of Jews perished during uncoordinated aktions in places where ghettos did not exist: Bragin, Vetka, Zhitkovichi, Komarin, Kopatkevichi, Krasnoe, Pirki, Poddobrianka, Lelchitsy, Narovlia, and many other places. By the present time, documented proof of the death of 11,705 Jews, from 53 places in the contemporary Gomel Oblast has been found (not final), but it does not appear final (see table 4).

    Killings were accompanied by torture and sadism. On September 15, 1941, in the Boyanov village of the Petrikov district, the offenders gouged out Lazar Rasovski’s eyes, cut his chest open with a dagger, and bashed his head.(25) In Gorval, Chaya Shpilevsky was tied to a motorcycle and forced to run, while an old man was lowered into a well on a rope and taken back out.26 33 Gorval Jews were shot with rupturing (“dum-dum”) bullets. In Rechitsa, the Germans forced Judka Smilovitsky (born in 1901) into a sleigh (not even a cart - L.S.), in place of horses, while his wife, Chaya (born in 1906) was forced to hit her husband with a whip. When she refused, Judka was killed and Chaya was sent to jail.  On the next day, Chaya’s son, Levushka (born in 1937), attempted to hand his mother a bundle of food through a fence and was shot by a guard from a tower. Basya Smilovitsky (born in 1872) was forced into the cellar of a house on Komsomolskaya Street, where for several days, the Germans watched as she was dying.27

Call for Retribution

     During aktions of annihilation, there were people who in the face of death did not lose their composure. They cursed the Nazis and their collaborators, pledged revenge, expressed their belief in the victory of the Red Army, and announced that their husbands, fathers, and brothers would not leave the perpetrators of their death without punishment. On September 23, 1941, in Kalinkovichi, an unknown 30-year-old man yelled: “You will kill us, but the Soviet power will live on!”28 In Lelchitsy, Malka Margolin from Turov, whose husband Meishke was at the front, took out a handkerchief from her bosom and yelled: “You won’t shoot everyone, our husbands will pay you back for us!” before being shot. Meishke and his brother, Itsl Margolin, were killed in battle against (in the front in the ranks of Soviet Army) the Nazis.29 In Rechitsa, during the November 25, 1941 shooting, Khava-Seina Rudnitsky announced, “Stalin will win!” and Boris Smilovitsky yelled: “Bandits, fascists, you shed our blood, but the Red Army will still win and pay you back for us!”30

    Examples of similar behavior, which were marked in other places, are evidence of the Jewish people’s strength and refute the myth of Jewish obedience and lack of desire to resist. Being put in a hopeless situation, they did not want to accept the Nazi crimes, and they expressed their attitudes towards their killers.

Establishment and Duration of the Ghettos

     Most of the ghettos in the Gomel Region were established during the first two months of the German occupation (August-October 1941). Out of the 20 ghettos, which were located in 15 separate places of the Region, 13 ghettos were created in September, while the remaining seven ghettos were created between October and November 1941.31 The Nazis brought Jews to the biggest ghettos (Gomel, Mozyr, Rogachev, Rechitsa, Zhlobin) from the entire region. All refugees, (Jews and non-Jews) were instructed to return to their place of the permanent residence. The German authorities made it obligatory to report any unknown persons and strict punishments were threatened for hiding strangers. Resettlement to the ghetto usually lasted several days. Everyone had got by as best they could. Jews were allowed to bring only what they could carry in their hands to their new place.

    In Mozyr, Jews (about 237 people) were settled on Romashov Rov Street, and after a little while, several families and singles were transferred there from small towns such as Skrigalov, Kopatkevichi, the Prudok and Glinishche villages, and Kaments village council, as well as from Elsk, Petrikov, Narovlia, Sloboda, Meleshkovichi, Mikhalok, Yurevichi, Ogorodniki, Zapolye, and Red’ki. In sum, on January 1, 1942, 433 people, including those newly arrived, found themselves in the Mozyr ghetto.32

     The ghettos in the Gomel Region were different greatly from those in other regions of Belorussia. Most importantly, they served as a place to isolate Jews and as points of assembly for fast annihilation. For this reason, there were no long-lasting programs of any sort, medical services and sanitary controls were absent. In this regard, the Gomel ghetto, more than other ghettos in Belorussia, resembled a concentration camp. The most short-lived turned out to be the ghetto in Kalinkovichi, which existed for only two days from September 20 to September 22, 1941. In Buda-Koshelevo, Dobrush, Gorodets, and Parichi, the ghettos lasted two months, in Gomel, Korma, and Rechitsa, they lasted three months; and in Rogachev, Chechersk, and Mozyr, they lasted four months. Longer-lasting ghettos (seven to eight months) turned out to be in Zhlobin, Petrikov, and Streshin - they existed from September 1941 until April 1942. The ghetto prisoners were gradually divided into the category "needed" and "useless". Hunger and disease took their toll as well.

Locations of the Ghettos

 

     Most ghettos were located in the old parts of the respective cities, towns and villages where one or several streets were designated for the ghetto, and all the non-Jews were evicted. In Gomel, the four ghettos were located on Bikhovski, Monastyrek, Novo-Lynbenski, and Novo-Belitsa streets. In Korma town, the ghettos were arranged in two places - on Abatyrov Street and Shkolnaya Street, while in Petrikov, the ghetto was on Volodarski Street and when there were less Jews, buildings that were unfit for living were used. In Zhlobin, one ghetto was established on the premises of a former National House, while the other ghetto was established on Pervomayskaya Street. The ghetto in Rechitsa functioned on the premises of a two-story schoolhouse in the factory district on Frunze Street, behind the town jailhouse. In Rogachev, Jews were settled in the basement of a former military warehouse and from there they were sent daily to remove rocks and bricks and transport sand and water.

     The Nazis forced the Jews to wear distinguishing symbols. These were mostly yellow or white circles, or more rarely six sided stars (magendovids). In the fall of 1941, the Mozyr Gebietskommissar issued an order indicating that every Jew or “mixed person” (half-blooded Jew who has a Jewish parent) was obligated to wear a yellow piece of material, the size of a palm, on their back and front. The distinguishing sign had to be sewed on in such a fashion that it would be clearly seen even when the top layer of clothing was taken off. Local citizens called these orders Lenin and Stalin orders. To our mind, in such way they (local citizens) stressed that the Soviet power went away for ever, and Jews as the former most supporters of that (Soviet) rule were out of their benefits and advantages. In response to refusal to wear these yellow patches, Jews were heavily fined, and in cases of repeated offenses they could also be shot. In most places, distinctive symbols for Jews were introduced even before ghettos were established.33

     All ghettos in the Gomel Region were guarded. To leave the ghettos without special permission was prohibited and subjected to severe punishments. Exchanging food and other goods, talking to others and passing news or other information was not allowed. Transgressors were beaten, starved and sent to perform penal jobs. Often these cruel methods were carried out in public, in front of other people. Jews could be killed with impunity for any crime. Exit from the ghetto was allowed only for work or to transport people who died to the cemetery when the burial squad was absent. The goals were strict isolation, restricting access to information, and to prevent escape from the ghetto. For voluntary absence, all residents of a house and all family members would be punished – sometimes with death.

     Only a few Jewish craftsmen and specialists were allowed to live outside the ghetto with their families if they had special permission. This category of Jews was under Belorussian supervision and the Belorussians were personally responsible for them. There were no large ghettos in the Gomel Region in general. The largest ones were in Rechitsa (3,500 people) and Rogachev (3,300). The next largest were in Parichi (1,700) and Mozyr (1,500). In some towns, several ghettos existed simultaneously. In Zhlobin, two ghettos held 1,200 people, in Gomel, four ghettos held 4,000 people, and in Korma, two ghettos held 700 people. The rest of the ghettos had several hundred prisoners - Chechersk had 432, Streshen - 448, and Buda-Koshelevo - 485. The smallest ghetto was apparently in Dobrush - it had 103 people, while information about the number of ghetto prisoners in the small village of Gorodets of the Rogachev region has not preserved (see table 3)

Gender and Age Composition of Ghetto Prisoners

     An exceptionally large number women and children were among the captive population on Nazi-occupied Gomel Region territory. A significant majority of Jews who ended up in the ghetto were burdened by large families, or were elderly or ill. Men of drafting age and women between the ages of 20 and 40 were mostly absent in the ghettos. There were also less people who had the illusion that the Germans were a “cultured nation”, who in 1918 did not harm the Jews and even defended them from Russian pogromshchiks. In the Mozyr ghetto, there were 164, or 69%, women, young ladies, and girls out of a total 273 people, and children of both genders under the age of 16 numbered 88 people, or 37%. Elderly people of 70-75 years of age or older constituted 10% of the population, 60-70 year olds constituted 13%, 40-60 year olds constituted 20%, and 17-39 year olds constituted 21% (both male and female). Among the Jews in Skrigalov, Kopatkevichi, Elsk, Petrikov, Narovlia, and Yurevichi, children under the age of 14 constituted 30.6% of the population. In fact, younger people (born in 1920-1923) were almost completely absent (these places did not have ghettos).34

 

Jewish Councils (Judenrats)

 

     The role of internal administration in the ghettos was filled by Jewish Councils or committees, known in the West as “Judenrats.” The Einsatzgruppen SS and German military administration actively participated in the organization of the Jewish Councils. Army Group Center ordered on July 13, 1941 that for settlements of up to 10,000 Jews 12 people had to serve on the Jewish Council (Judenrat) and if there were more than 10,000 Jews, then 24 people had to serve. More authoritative Jews were usually appointed to the Council by Germans. Often these were members of the intelligentsia and influential people who were personal responsible for all incidents in the Jewish community. In 1941, this included a commercial worker in Minsk, a teacher in Vitebsk, and an engineer in Mogilev. These people were either chosen by the ghetto prisoners themselves or appointed by the Germans. However, in either case, there was little they could do to save the Jews.

     In the Gomel Region, Jewish Councils first appeared in August 1941, later than in the rest of the occupied territory. Their members were responsible with their life for carrying out all the orders of the occupying authorities. The Judenrat consisted only of men (three to twelve people). If for some reason a member of the Jewish (“Yid”) Council left, then somebody else had to immediately replace him. In Mozyr, twelve people were assigned to the Jewish Council. Their chairman was Eisha Izrailovich Koffman (born in 1891) and his deputy was Iosif Yankelevich Berdichevski (born in 1890). The Judenrat was assigned the functions to resettle ghetto prisoners, keeping internal order, and make contacts with occupying authorities. The members of the Jewish Councils essentially became hostages of the Nazis.35

     In the districts of the Gomel Region which ended up in the military administration zone, the functions, composition, and responsibilities of the Jewish Councils were determined more precisely than in the area under civil administration. There is only a limited amount of information on the Jewish Councils - the sources are scarce and contradictory. Most witnesses who have survived the Nazi genocide reluctantly recall their activities. This may be explained in various ways: as disgraceful bargaining for power or shame for any sort of “collaboration” with the occupiers, even as a means of survival. It is hard to draw the line between “collaborating” and “not collaborating”, with regard to the Judenrat. To our mind, most of the Judenrats did not collaborate with Nazis and were guided by two main ideas: the short-term goal was to alleviate living conditions (oblegchit’ zhizn’ v getto) in the ghetto while the main goal was to survive (36).

     A Jewish monitor was appointed in some places where a Judenrat did not exist. This assignment was made upon the recommendation of a Belorussian policeman who chose a monitor from among those Jews with influence, or Jews who were obedient, and who could speak German. Jewish monitors did not have their own ruling organs (coworkers with permanent or temporary assignment). The Jewish monitor in Rechitsa was a former miller, while six monitors were appointed in Turov- four Belorussians and two Jews. A Jewish police, as a special auxiliary detachment under the command of the Council, was unnecessary. The idea of a “Jewish policeman” had a double meaning and the police behaved in different ways. The composition of the Jewish police was heterogeneous and the motivations they had for agreeing to do this work differed significantly. In place of weapons, they had sticks and lashes. In many ghettos, there was simply nobody to select a Jewish police force from. Most men were mobilized by the Red Army or killed by the Nazis during the summer months of 1941, and older people, women, and children could not serve in the police force. The end result was the same for everyone - despite the promises that some would be spared - all were killed.

     The selection of monitors and registration in the ghetto were viewed as ordinary events, evoking no suspicion. The registration was carried out under the pretext of helping Jews find housing and work, resettlement to new places, collection of monetary contributions, distribution of food, etc. In Mozyr, Yosif Berdichevski compiled a list of Jews on the orders of the town’s authorities, and in Rechitsa, Malenkovich did the same. As it turns out, this information was gathered in preparation for future actions of annihilation, or as a means of gathering Jews immediately before killing them. On September 20, 1941, Jews in Kalinkovihi were ordered to register in a building on Lenin Street (more than 700 people), and in two days, all of them were shot.37 On September 13, 1941, the Jews of Bragin were ordered to gather in a school for the purposes of selecting a monitor and his deputy, but when 300 Jews came at the indicated time the school they were surrounded by Germans and closed. After that, Jews were led out in groups to the edge of the village and shot.38 On December 1, 1941, six German officers came to Vetka from Gomel and demanded that the commandant hold a registration of Jews, threatening to kill those who refused to be registered. Jews who came to the registration (360 people) were locked up in a horse stable and on December 3, they were brought to a hoist, force to lie down in rows in a ditch, and were shot, point blank with automatic weapons.39

Compulsory Labor

     Ghettos in the Gomel Region, unlike the majority of ghettos in the Western regions of Belorussia, Poland, and Lithuania, did not have an economic purpose. Here, Jews were occasionally sent to do work necessary for the survival of the city, region, or German military.  Sometimes the work involved procurement of fuel, (in Gomel, Rechitsa, and Mozyr), repair or construction jobs (in Zhlobin, Rogachev, and Chechersk), or cleaning up of the area. The age of Jews subjected to work duty was stipulated by various German instructions. Usually, this meant 16-55 years of age for men and 17-50 years of age for women. However, these rules were not followed in practice. Often Jews were used to perform jobs which were incidental in nature: sawing firewood, rooting out stumps, cleaning up streets and landfills, burying dead bodies, and gathering mines, shells, and bombs that failed to explode. In Rogachev Jews used their hands to dig out garbage from dumpsters, which had “only for Germans” written on them. In Gomel, Kalinkovichi, and Rechitsa, Jews worked at railroad stations washing wagons, loading and unloading trains, carrying sleepers, and cleaning out entrances, roads, and aerodromes.40

     During work, Jews were beaten with sticks and lashes and the weak and ill were shot.  In Kalinkovichi, the elderly were forced to wash cars. One old Jew (Peisakhovich) could not lift his bucket of water because he was too weak. A German ran up to him, kicked over the bucket of water, grabbed a flaming torch from another soldier, and lit Peisakhovich’s beard on fire. He did not allow anyone to put the fire out. Soviet POWs were brought in to clean up the dead bodies. All elderly people and children living in the ghetto worked, even though almost half of them were handicapped. Children were forced to wash the windows in the police and commandant’s office, carry water, clean horse stables, wash cars and motorcycles, and clear snow off the roads. Refusal to go to work had the potential of turning into a tragedy. In Gomel, in September 1941, Germans promised to punish similar wrongdoings by shooting one out of every five ghetto prisoners.41

     Jews were purposely not allowed to work according to their professions. People of intellectual work, members of the intelligentsia, teachers, doctors, and engineers were sent to perform the most demanding physical work. Often they were forced to do particularly degrading and mindless work: catching flies at the commandant’s office (in Chechersk), carrying carts of water, brick, firewood, and garbage from one place to another, and digging up and filling in ditches, (Petrikov, Streshin, and Rogachev).42 The Germans resorted to Jewish specialist labor only in the case of necessity. In Zhitkovichi in October and November 1941 Jewish tailors were forced to sew uniforms for German soldiers and clothes and shoes were taken off the bodies of Jews who were killed.43

Composition of Police

    In Eastern Belorussia, unlike in Lithuania or Ukraine and some regions of Western Belarus, the German invasion was not accompanied by mass killings of Jews. However, this does not mean that there was an absence of incentives to collaborate with the occupiers in the annihilation of Jews.44 The genocide in Belarus would never have been on such a massive scale if the local population had not participated in the killings. German authorities had their own impressions of Belorussians as “servants and workers” and “ideal objects of exploitation”. In Berlin, the Nazi authorities planned to make Belorussia a destination for transports of undesirable Non-Jews from the Baltics and Poland (most from Germany and Austria!).45

    The mobilization of Belorussians and Russians, Ukrainians, and Poles in support of the “Final Solution of the Jewish problem” was pivotal to Nazi plans. First of all, it supported thesis that Jews are the enemy of all nations. Secondly, it created a hostile environment in which Jews were unable to hide, so that they were doomed. Thirdly, it helped in having practical help in carrying out “Actions of annihilation” and exposing survivors during “clean ups” (repeated searches).46

     In August- September 1941, a variety of different police formations, including Gestapo/SD (security service), local civilian police, secret field police, field Gendarmerie, Schutzpolizei (guarding police), and Wachtpolizei (guarding command under the military commandants) were organized in the cities and villages of the Gomel Region.47 In Rechitsa, a police district was opened in the former home of doctor Zholkver on Vokzalnaya Street, and Korzhewski, former accountant at the bread factory, became the chief of police. The police administration was placed in the former District Committee building on Soviet Street, and Chalowski was assigned as the chief’s aid.48 Mozyr became the center of the Mozyr Gebitskommisarriat, which was subordinate to the Reichskommisarriat “Ukraine” in Zhitomer. Ivan Podberezny, former head of the Elsk regional NKVD office, was assigned as the commander of the town police and about 40 local policemen aided him.49

     In Turov, the police district (36 people) was placed in the building of the former military commandant of the border detachment. The former teacher of the agricultural school, Maxim Bruy, nicknamed “goat” for his high-pitched voice, became the first police chief. Bruy “created much trouble” and turned in unsatisfying (unpleased) people to the German authorities “without looking back”.50 The head of Turov police was Akulich, who formerly served in the NKVD of Western Belorussia. After him, the police office in the town was headed by Petr Kreso (who fled in 1944 during the German retreat) and the police chiefs were Avakum Strakh and Petro Syromakho.  Besides them, collaborationists from Stolin and David-Gorodok helped the Nazis in Turov. In Rogachev, the head of police was Sidorenko, and in Gomel it was the former colonel of the Red Army, Kardakov, and in Khoiniki, it was Demyanenko (51).

     The active participation of the Belorussian police in actions against the Jews, and in some instances their displays of particular cruelty can be explained by the following: 1.) The striving to prove their loyalty to the Nazis, 2.) Nazi brainwashing, 3.) Anti-Semitism, 4.) To earn material incentives. Among the police were former neighbors, acquaintances, relatives of Jews and people who were considered friends before the war. However, this did not always benefit the victims. In Parichi, a local resident I. Mints killed his wife, Friedl Nisman, and two kids, before going off to serve the police.52 In the village of Davidovka, Miriam Papernaya’s mother in law gave her over to the Germans. In the village of Urovichi in the Kalinkovichi district, Vasili Prishchepa was serving in the police and hid his wife and kids during the liquidation of the ghetto. But in return for saving them, he started to incline his stepdaughter towards cohabitation. When his wife, Sima, protested, he brought her and the stepdaughter out of the hiding place and shot them both. Then he got drunk, ran home, grabbed his own children, and started screaming, “Follow me, little kikes, and you will be killed too!”  Vasili’s mother, Akulina, saved her grandchildren (53).

    The Belorussian police (50,000 people for all of Belarus, in 1941-1944)54 mostly fulfilled the demands of the occupying authorities. Volunteers from “Belorussian National Self-Help”, “Union of Belorussian Youths”, and the “Belorussian Border Defense”, who took on the Nazi doctrine of “The Final Solution” to the Jewish Question, also assisted the police.55 The Nazis recruited other policemen from Ukraine and the Baltics, who they considered more reliable for the annihilation of Jews. According to these reasons, German monetary remuneration (salary, per diem allowance, and premiums) was higher for Lithuanian and Latvian policemen than for Ukrainian policemen and Belorussians received the least.

Living Conditions in the Ghetto

     Incredible overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, absence of medical assistance, and a shortage of simple living needs were typical for the majority of ghettos. Seven to twenty people had to live in one room of 20 square meters in size. People had almost no possessions and this made it easier to settle in the crowded conditions. The amount of ghetto prisoners quickly diminished due to illness, transfer of jobs, and killings. Many people looked for space in subsidiary locations- cellars, attics, sheds and basements. In the ghetto on the “Progress of the Rogachev region” farm, three-leveled plank beds and a stove were built. There was no linen, or cooking utensils, and cooking had to be done at a campfire. In Rogachev and Streshin, people in the ghetto lived in small houses. At night, many could not even lie down and slept sitting up and if former tenants left their beds, then two or three people slept on the bed, and the same number slept under the bed. For that reason people often did not undress.

    Germans did not feed the Jews in the ghetto and did not pay them for participating in compulsory labor. According to survivors’ accounts, hunger tortured people more than fear. Most people got used to fear and it became duller, but it was impossible to get used to hunger - people wanted to eat even in their sleep. The most valued products were flour and fat. There were no animals, domesticated birds, dogs, or cats in the ghetto.  Nobody ate meat or fruit but sometimes there were carrots, potatoes, or cabbage. Most people made vegetable soup. Some used leftover scraps from cafeterias. They gathered cooked bones from German military kitchens, or picked them out of garbage dumpsters. They made fat out of these bones, or cooked a jelly-like substance that was used in food or sold.

    Survival was possible only on account of people’s own saved up possessions, or barter and help from the Belarussians and other non-Jews’ side. Despite the fact that this help was substantial, it must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Local residents usually aided “their own” Jews- those who were married to Belorussians, or those who were neighbors to Belorussians in villages- without expecting anything in return. But “their own” Jews made up the minority of those contained in the ghetto. The rest of the people could only count on bartering, which was prohibited. Bartering required good organization and trust, and in some cases Jews had to share their goods with policemen who allowed them to barter.56

Jewish Property

    After the German forces occupied civilian areas, all property belonging to the Jews now became the property of the Reich.57 However, even before that, homes that were left by evacuated Jews were invaded more often than homes of non-Jews. The Nazis encouraged the locals to rob Jews. They announced that the “kikes” were exploiters of Belorussians and that they have a right to take back their own possessions. As a result of military activity, many were left without a roof over their heads, and the Nazis offered Belorussians and Russians to occupy Jewish homes- those who served the Nazis were given priority.

    Ghetto residents were subjected to monetary contributions. With the threat of shooting hostages, the Nazis collected wedding rings, gold and silver objects, household and bathroom soap, bed linens, towels, clothes and other things. In September 1941, in the Gomel ghetto, German soldiers went in groups, or on their own, on “excursions” and picked out things they liked, while the Belorussian police followed their examples.58 In November 1941, in Rogachev, the SS officers who arrived to liquidate the ghetto, undressed and searched the Jews, and beat them with sticks and lashes. Any valuables and monetary items that were found were thrown in a big bin and after that all Jews were forced into the basement of a big concrete building, and were shot the next morning.59 On December 3, 1941, in Vetka, the Germans drove eight cars full of Jewish possessions to Gomel, and only after that they began the shootings.60

     The Nazis persecuted non-Jews who agreed to keep belongings safe for Jews. However, in most cases, Jewish possessions did not end up in the hands of Belorussians and Russians for safekeeping, but as payment for hiding them, in exchange for food, and finally, simply as a result of robbery. Local residents prepared for Aktions in advance, after finding out about them from relatives who served the Nazis when they were on duty in the ghetto territory. After liquidating Jews, more valuable objects were taken by Germans and policemen. The ghetto was no longer surrounded, and a crowd of marauders broke in, entered homes and searched dead bodies, took off their shoes and clothes, tore off gold crowns on their teeth, and looked for valuables such as money and watches. They took objects and foodstuffs, pilfered furniture, and broke apart homes and carried out anything that might be useful - doors, frames, and windows. After that, blocks where Jews only recently used to live resembled only the skeletons of buildings. The police guarded the possessions of Jews who were still left in the ghetto. They sold the belongings of Jews who were killed to the local population. The clothes of the dead were sent to laundries and after that to be repaired in tailor shops, before being sold.61

Cover-up of Crime Traces

    In spring 1942, in accordance with Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler’s orders, special detachments known as “Sondercommand 1005” were created under the command of Standartenfuhrer, Paul Blobel. They were assigned to dig up graves, burn cadavers, and find other means for hiding places of mass burials.62 From 1942 to 1943, similar activities were carried out in the Gomel Oblast. In Spring 1942, a ditch (holding 3,000 dead bodies) was eroded by water in Rogachev and some of the dead bodies ended up in the Drut’ River. The Germans mobilized the locals to fish out the bodies with boat hooks and bury them again. In December 1943, before the retreat from the city, spread out human remains, skeletons, and bones were dug up and placed in stacks, alternating between rows of logs. These stacks were doused with kerosene and resin and burnt- the fires burned for three days. The Germans surrounded them and did not let anyone come close. Analogous cases were taken in Parichi, Gomel, and Narovlia.63 During the liberation of  Mozyr, in June 1944, it was determined that 18 graves at the Jewish cemetery (960-1000 dead bodies). In addition to it, five graves were found in the yard of the SD prison on Pushkin Street (275 dead bodies), four graves - on the Romashov Rov Ravine (850 dead bodies), two graves - on the road from Mozyr to the Bobry village of the Mozyr region. All of them did not have hills, signs, or other symbols of burial on their graves.64 However, these aktions did not reach their aim as traces of Nazi crimes have been established and proven.

Attitudes Toward Genocide

    The local population had knowledge of the genocide of Jews, regardless of the Nazi authorities’ attempts at hiding aktions of annihilation from strangers. Special orders forbade the gathering of viewers during mass punishments,65 mass shootings outside of city borders, digging out and burning of dead bodies.66 People found out about the killings from those who the Nazis forced to bury dead bodies, from accidental witnesses, and from stories of policemen who participated in the division of Jewish possessions.

    The majority of local residents turned away from the Jews. First of all, from fear- for hiding Jews an entire family was liable to be killed. Traditional anti-Semitism played its role as well- locals turned in Jews who were their neighbors, refugees from the ghetto, but they hid prisoners of war and those who were surrounded by the Nazis during battle. They expected a material reward for saving Jews, when they saved Russians “for nothing”. The cruelty of repressions during 24 years of Soviet power, which dulled feelings of compassion and mercy, also influenced the locals’ attitudes. The Belorussians remembered examples of “Kike commissars” and the disproportional numbers of Jews participating in the Revolution, collectivization, and in Soviet and Party organs. Many local citizens were not as apprehensive about the arrival of the Germans as they were about military action. The Germans promised to return private property and to abolish the Kolkhoz. The new authorities demanded respect and subordination, and the Jews were denounced as enemies to the new regime.

     Change created the most burdensome impressions on the Jews. They felt that the world turned away from them and that everyone - Germans, Belorussians, and Russians united together against them. This demoralized the Jews and for many, the desire to flee or to seek help from their neighbors disappeared. Looking for help among the Christians was dangerous. Fleeing to the forests was not an option because they did not know anyone there. There were almost no partisans from 1941 to the beginning of 1942, and before spring 1942, the partisans’ position was desperate. Partisan detachments that were uncoordinated and few in numbers found refuge in places that were difficult to access. They did not exploit the support of the population, did not possess unnecessary force, means of communication, or fire. The partisans often viewed Jews as a burden. Elderly people, women, children, ill and emaciated people, were not adapt to life in the forests, and held the partisans back. Jews were sometimes seen as German spies because of the unlikelihood of survival, partisans figured they were sent to poison their well and to liquidate partisan commanders.67

     The widening of the genocide scale in 1942, forced many Belorussians to reevaluate their attitudes towards the occupying authorities. The annihilation of the Jews, including half-blooded Jews, and non-Jewish spouses, by the Nazis, made the partisans wonder: who will be next, after the Jews? This contributed to the horrific Nazi actions of retribution for assisting partisans. During the aktions, entire Belorussian villages, as well as their residents were annihilated. This all resulted in a negative reaction of local residents to the mass killing of Jews. Some Belorussians helped Jews and risked their life; however, the number of rescued does not compare with the number of Jews who were turned over into the hands of the Nazis.68

 

Conclusion

    Belorussia suffered more than other republics of the USSR during the war years. The politics of peaceful citizens were worked out in considerable detail, but it was still not customary to speak about victims among the Jews.69 It was thought that Belorussia lost so many Belorussians, so speaking of the Jewish genocide separately did not stick. The death of Soviet Jews was seen only in the light of the resistance of the whole USSR against Germany, and the term “genocide” was not used in the first 15 years after the end of World War II. The Gomel Region still remains one of the least studied Holocaust regions of Belorussia.

    The material presented above allows us to see the common and distinctive elements of the Nazi genocide in Gomel Region:

 

Common Elements

-         Physical liquidation of the Jewish population was the main part of the Nazi occupying politics during the German-Soviet war,

-         Gomel Region turned out to be the part of Eastern Belorussia where the mechanism of general annihilation of the Jews was tried for the first time. The Einsatzgruppe “B”, one of the four Einsatzgruppen SS, went through the region in two main waves, summer through fall 1941, and winter through spring 1941-1942,

-         Main pretext of annihilating the Jews was the “solicitation” of Eastern Jews (in Gomel, Mogilev, Minsk, and Vitebsk Regions), who, according to the Nazis, were more imbued by the Communist influence, and capable to resistance,

-         Invasion was not accompanied by large massacres of Jews, similar to the ones which occurred in Lithuania, Western Ukraine, some regions of Western Belorussia, but regardless of that, the non-Jewish part of the population collaborated with the Nazis in annihilating the Jews,

-    As in all other Belorussian Regions, not only those who opposed Soviet rule- the repressed and jailed - but also those who were its functionaries - the Communists, NKVD workers, and Red Army officers, served in the police force.

-    Ghettos were created for the Jews who survived the first wave of annihilation in the Gomel Region. These ghettos had nothing in common with other European ghettos - in Poland and the Baltics (there was an absence of cultural, religious, and medical activities, schools, social-welfare organizations, and illegal economic activities.)

-    Living conditions in the ghetto- overcrowding, insanitation, absence of medical assistance, and a paucity of simple everyday necessities. Hunger and disease were typical, and were considered as “natural” diminution of ghetto prisoners.

-    Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda was accepted and the local population responded to it by denying Jews refuge and by turning them in and killing them.

-    Jewish property was appropriated by occupying authorities, and became subject to looting by the police and local residents.

            The attitude toward the genocide of Jews (among the civilian population, partisans, and Soviet authorities), still remains a taboo topic. The authorities in contemporary Belorussia have not admitted their partial fault in the genocide of the Jews on the

Republic’s territory during the war years. Belorussian history denies that the policy of genocide was first and foremost targeted at the Jews. It is impossible to dispute this fact because the Nazis never killed Belorussians for ethnic distinctions (there were only aktions of retribution, to frighten people, or in response for violating orders).

 

Distinctive Factors

 

-- Gomel Region - the smallest territory out of all the Belorussian regions (it was 15,800 square kilometers) had the fourth largest Jewish population (70,000 people) after the much larger Minsk, Mogilev, and Vitebsk regions.

 

      -- Gomel Region was the last to be occupied at the end of August 1941. The Jewish part of the population had fewer       illusions regarding the treatment of the Germans, as the “civilized” nation of 1918, incapable of offending the Jews. Despite all of the obstacles and misinformation, a considerable number of Jews was able to evacuate or flee during the first days of war.

 

      -- Majority of evacuated Jews turned out to be residents of towns; many worked at industrial enterprises, which were evacuated; they were particularly independent and this allowed them to accurately weigh the dangers, which the Nazis kept secret.

 

 

-- Most of the loss was sustained by small, non-industrial towns and shtetls and villages of the Gomel Region - the Jews of “yesterday,” who had preserved their traditional culture, but were not greatly affected by the “fracture” of the 1920's and 1930's, they were less politicized and independent. The villages were located far from the roads, they were not raided from the air, there were no refugees from Western Belorussia, and their population was mostly elderly because the young had migrated to big cities.

 

       --Ghettos in the Gomel region served as places to isolate the Jews, and as points of gathering Jews for the purpose of quickly annihilating them.  For this reason, there were no long-lasting programs here, there were no medical services or sanitary controls, the ghetto prisoners were responsible for obtaining their own food, and  in this regard, the  ghettos here were more like “Concentration Ghettos” (in German, “Sammelghettos”) than ghettos in other regions of the republic.

 

-- There were no large ghettos in the Gomel Region, the biggest ghettos were in Rechitsa (3,500 people) and Rogachev (3,300).

 

-- Regimen of isolation in the Gomel Region ghettos was more strict- they were all guarded; only certain specialists were allowed to live outside the ghetto borders with special permission and supervision by the Belorussian police.

 

-- Most of the ghetto residents were women and children (about 60%), as well as elderly people. There were almost no healthy and strong men or women; all of the men of age left for the army while others evacuated with industrial enterprises or fled on their own.

 

-- There were no traditional Judenrats (Jewish Councils), or even anything similar to them (as in Minsk, Mogilev, or Vitebsk), with an operation of workers and a clear division of responsibilities. The durations of the Judenrats’ existence were very limited, and there were a lot more Jewish monitors in the ghetto who acted as mediators between the ghetto prisoners and the German administration.

 

-- The Gomel Region ghettos did not have economic goals, unlike ghettos in most regions of Western Belorussia, Poland, and Lithuania. Jews were rarely sent to work, and when they did work, they performed tasks, which were necessary for the survival of the city, region, or German army. Most work assignments were incidental in nature- preparing firewood for heat, construction and reconstruction, or cleanup of the territory- this likely proved the planned annihilation of ghetto prisoners.

 

-- Most ghetto prisoners were equal in their misfortune, they were not antagonistic, which was characteristic for Jews of the “West” and “East”.

 

All in all, during the years of occupation, the total losses of the Jewish population in the Gomel Region according to incomplete data, reached 32,633 people. Out of these people, a total of 20,928 people perished as a result of aktions of annihilation in the 20 ghettos established in 15 residential points, and 11,705 people died in residential points outside of the ghetto. In sum, from 1941 to 1944, the Gomel Region lost 53,360 civil residents of various nationalities, 61.2% of which were Jewish. It may be assumed that only a timely evacuation and a stubborn defense of the oblast in August 1941 prevented even larger population losses.

The Holocaust reduced the number of Jews in the Gomel Region in many ways and changed its social and cultural appearance. Jews, who were clearly the second largest ethnic group in Belorussia, after the Belorussians, permanently gave their place up to the Russians. In 1959, out of a total Region population of 1,361,841 people, Jews made up only 45,007, or 3.3%, when Belorussians made up 86.7%, Russians 6.6%, Ukrainians 0.9%, and Poles 0.5%. Places where the Jewish population was compact changed, the process of migration strengthened, interest in the Yiddish language weakened, and the number of interfaith marriages rose. In 1959, only 25.6% of all Jews in the Gomel Region admitted the Yiddish language as their native tongue, and 2.29% of Jews saw Belorussian as their native tongue.[i] On the other hand, as a consequence of the Holocaust, a national self-consciousness was sharpened and it prompted many to self-identify with Jews. All this had an effect on the common national politics in Belorussia. Not only Jews, but also other minorities lost their rights. The attributes of an ethnic life were left only to the Belorussians as a native nation, although these attributes were only formalities.

 

The story of the genocide of Jews in the Gomel Region is not written and is still awaiting investigation. Jews, as well as Belorussians should be interested in illuminating this story objectively

 

Appendix

 

Table 1

Administrative-territorial Division of the BSSR and

Population on January 1, 1941

 

 

Name of regions (oblast’)

 

Area (thousand square kilometers)

Population

(thousand of people)

Rural

(thousand of people)

Urban

(thousand of people)

 

Cities and towns

 

Villages of

Town type

 

Rural regions

 

Rural councils

BSSR

225.7

10454.9

8118.8

2336.1

78

131

192

2808

Baranovichi

23.3

1184.4

1012.5

171.9

9

15

26

375

Belostok

20.9

1368.8

934.8

434

13

26

23

334

Brest

17.2

790.4

666.3

124.1

8

10

18

234

Vileyka

20.7

938.3

864.5

73.8

9

9

20

304

Vitebsk

28.3

1293

929

364

8

19

20

309

Gomel

15.8

917.1

656.4

260.7

6

8

15

235

Minsk

28.3

1347.2

931.4

415.8

6

16

21

288

Mogilev

28.9

1402.1

1075.7

326.4

12

11

21

359

Pinsk

16.3

533.6

446.8

86.8

4

6

11

159

Polesye

26.0

680

601.4

78.6

3

11

17

211

 

(Statistics of conditions of population households and culture directory Belorussian SSR

at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Publisher: SNK BSSR, Moscow, 1943, p. 25).

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2

Distribution of Ghettos on Occupied Belorussian

Territory, 1941-1943

 

Generalkommissariats,

Regions

Pre-War Soviet names of the districts and regions

 

Ghettos

in per sents (%)

«Volyn-Padoliya» (Reichskomissariat of  «Ukraine»)

Main part of the Brest, Pinsk, and Polesye regions

 

45

 

16.9

Region of «Bialystok»

(a part of Reich)

Bialystok region, and northwest districts of the Brest region, Grodno city, Volkovysk town

 

110

 

41

Zone of the German military administration («Center» Army Group)

Vitebsk, Mogilev, the great part of Gomel regions, East districts of Minsk and other districts of Polesye region

 

43

 

16

«Weisruthenien»

(Reichskomissariat of «Оstland»)

Baranovichi region, Vileyka, Minsk, Pinsk, Brest and Polesye regions

 

70

 

26.1

T  o  t  a  l :

On occupied Belorussian territory

268

100

 

(This table was compiled by the author from the following materials: I. Altman. Victims of Hatred. The Holocaust in the USSR, 1941-1945. Moscow, 2002.; Tragedy of Belorussian Jews during the German Occupation, 1941-1944. Collection of Documents and Materials. 2nd edition. Ed. R. Chernoglazova. Minsk, 1997; The Holocaust in Belarus, 1941-1944. Documents and Materials. Compiled by A.G. Ioffe, G.D. Кnatko, V.D. Selemenev. Minsk, 2002; Shalom Cholawski. The Jews of Belorussia During World War II. Amsterdam, 1998).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3

Number of Jews who died in Ghettos on the Gomel

Region Territory, 1941-1942.

 

 

Populated Areas

Jews in

1939

Establishment of Ghetto

Liquidation of Ghetto

Total number who Died

 

Sources

 

Buda-Koshelevo

 

496

 

October 25, 1941

 

December 27, 1941

 

485

 Gomel Oblast GA (state archives), f. 1345, op. 1, d. 7, l. 8; GARF, f.7021, op. 85, d. 35, l.8-11.

Gomel, 4 ghettos on Byhovskaya, Monastyrek,

Novo-Lyubenskaya,

Novo-Belitsa streets

 

 

40.880

 

Beginning of October 1941

 

Beginning of November

1941

 

 

4000

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l.4; Gomel Oblast GA. f.1345, op. 1, d.9, l. 4, 181-203, 226; d. 12, l.34; GARF, f. 7021, op. 85, d.413, l.15; d. 415, l. 40

Gorodets Village of Rogachev district

?

September 1941

October

1941

?

Gomel Oblast GA, f.1345, op.1, d. 15, l. 55

Dobrush, 3 kilometers from town

441

September 1941

October

1941

103

GARF, f. 7021, op. 85, d.38, l. 1 10, 22

Zhlobin, 2 ghettos:

in the building of former “narodny dom”, and on Pervomayskaya Street.

 

3.709

 

September 1941

 

April 12, 1942

 

1200

NARB, ф. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l.144; Gomel Oblast GA, f.1345, op.1, d. 8, l.3; GARF, f. 7021, op. 85, d.413, l. 15; d.214, l. 3, 27.

Kalinkovichi

3.386

September 20, 1941

September 22, 1941

900

NARB, f. 845, op. 1, d.12, l. 122

Korma, 2 ghettos,

on Abaturova and Shkolnaya Streets

 

981

 

September 1941

 

November 8, 1941

 

700

NARB, f. 4, op. 29, d. 113, l.667; Gomel Oblast GA, f.1345, op. 1, d. 5, ll. 1,2,9; GARF, f. 7021, op.85, d. 215, l. 1-2.

Mozyr,

Romashov Rov Street

 

6.307

 

Fall

 1941

 

January 6-7,

1942

 

1500

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 12, l.2, 8, 9; f. 845, op. 1, d. 12, l.32; ZGA in Mozyr, f. 310, op. 1, d15, l. 4, 12,14; GARF, f.7021, op. 91, d.20, l. 4.

 

Parichi

1.881

September 1941

November

1941

more than

1700

NARB, f. 845, op. 1, d.60, l. 33; f. 861, op. 1, d. 12, l.157ob-158.

Petrikov,

Volodarski street

 

1.074

 September 1941

End of April 1942

 

260

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 12, l.47, 47-ob.

“Progress” Economy

Rogachev district

 

September 1941

March

1942

3.300

GARF, f. 7021, op. 85, d.39, l. 10ob, 11.

Rechitsa,

Factory region

 

7.237

 

September 1941

 

November 25, 1941

 

3.500

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l.339; Gomel Oblast GA f.1345, op. 1, d.1, l. 2, 378-80; GARF, f.7021, op. 85, d.413, l.15.

 

Rogachev

 

4.601

 

September 1941

Beginning of December

1941

 

3.300

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l.99-100; f. 4, op. 29, d.113, l. 668; GARF, f.7021, op. 85, d.413, l.15.

Streshin

Zhlobin district

 

531

 

September 1941

 

April 14

1942

 

448

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l. 144; Gomel Oblast GA f.1345, op. 1, d.8, l. 3; GARF, f. 7021, op. 85, d. 41, l. 2,7.

 

Chechersk

 

977

 

September 1941

 

December 28, 1941

 

432

NARB, f. 861, op. 1, d. 6, l.207ob; Gomel Oblast GA f.1345, op. 1, d.13, l. 2ob.

All 20 ghettos

(15 populated areas)

 

72.501

September 1941

April

1942

 

21.828

NARB, GARF, ZGA in Mozyr, Gomel Oblast GA

 

 

Table 4

 

Number of Jews Who Died Outside of Ghetto in Gomel and Polesye Regions (contemporary Gomel Oblast), 1941-1943.

 

Populated Areas

Number of Dead

Time of Aktion

Sources

Aleksichi Village, Khoiniki district

366

August 1942

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 318

Antonovka Village, 

Kalinkovichi district

11

September 1941

GARF, f. 7021, оp. 91, d. 15, ll. 74, 96.

Babichi Village, Chechersk district

15

February 3, 1942

Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, 1985, p.360

Babunichi Village, Petrikov district

20

October 7, 1942

Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, p. 274

Bragin

300

Sept. 13, 1941

GARF, f. 7021, оp.1, d. 2, pp. 44-45

Brinev Village,

Petrikov district

4

February, 1943

Yad Vashem Archives, M-33/1126, p.47

Velimov Village

Bragin district

15

1941

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 239

Vetka

390

December 3, 1941

Gomel Region MVD Archive, f. 12, оp.1/8, d. 1, vol. 1, l. 118

Glushkovichi Village

Lelchitsy district

9

September 1941

Yad Vashem Archives, M-33/1130, p.34

Gorval Village

Rechitsa district

33

September 7, 1941

Pamiats. Rechitsa district Minsk, 1999. Vol. 1, p. 249

Davlyady

Narovlya district

4

December 1941

M.Botvinnik. Pamiatniki genozida evreev Belarusi. Minsk, 2000, p. 223

Davidovka Village

Svetlogorsk district

74

February 8, 1942

GARF, f. 7021, оp. 91, d. 12, l. 32-33

Dubrovitsa Village

Choiniki district

62

May 1942

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 318

Dyakovichi Village

Zhitkovichi district

7

February 1942

Yad Vashem Archives, M-33/1123, p.52, 53

Zhitkovichi

167

Aug., Dec.1941,

February 1942

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 188

Zhuravichi Village

Rogachev district

120

1941

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 303

Kovtichi Village

Svetlogorsk district

318

March 1942

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 2, l. 94

Koporinka Village

Bragin district

7

Oct. 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1125, p. 123

Koptsevichi

Petrikov

96

Sept. – Oct. 1941

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 162

Koliban Village

Bragin district

10

October 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1125, p. 5

Elsk

18

January 1942

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 211

Komarin

89

Sept. – Oct 1941

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 44

Kopatkevichi Village

Petrikov district

35

March 1942

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1126, p. 6

Krasnoe Village

Bragin district

18

Sept. – Oct 1941

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 45

Lelchitsy

790

Aug.-Sept. 1941

Yad Vashem Archives, M-33/1124, p. 75

Lenin Village

Zhitkovichi district

2000

July 1941, Aug. 1942

Pamiat. Zhitkovichi district. Minsk, 1994, p. 459-467.

Loev

87

1943

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 286

Lyudenevichi

Zhitkovichi district

105

Sept.-Dec. 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1123, p. 52

Narovlya

110

Sept. 23, 1941

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, ll. 169-170

Novay Yolcha Village

Bragin district

17

Oct. 1941

Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, p. 240

Ogorodniki Village

Kalinkovichi district

20

December 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1124, p. 10

Ostashkovichi Village Svetlogorsk district

4

February 3, 1942

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1122, p. 33

Pererov Village

Zhitkovichi district

80

August 18, 1941

Pamiat. Zhitkovichi district. Minsk, 1994, p. 425

Pechishchi Village

Svetlogorsk district

82

February 10, 1942

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 2, l. 94

Pirki Village

Bragin district

10

Sept.-Oct. 1941

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 44

Poddobrianka Village

Dobrush district

200

Sept. 1941,

Jan.-Feb. 1942

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 6, l. 203

Ptich Village

Petrikov district

33

December 1941

Pamiats. Petrikov district. Minsk, 1995, p.338-340

Pukhovichi Village

Zhitkovichi district

13

December 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1123, p. 42

Ridcha Village

Zhitkovichi district

8

August 1941

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 6, l. 213

Rubezh Village

Lelchitsy district

13

October 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1127, p. 38

Svetlogorsk (formerly Shatilki Village)

351

March 1943

NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 2, l. 94

Sverzhan’ Village

Rogachev district

250

December 23, 1941

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 202

Simonichi Village

Lelchitsy district

5

October 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1127, p. 38

Sitnya Village

Kalinkovichi district

18

September 1941

GARF, f. 7021, оp. 91, d. 15, ll. 11, 20

Smetanichi Village

Petrikov district

22

July 1942

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 50

StorozhovtsyVillage

Zhitkovichi district

25

August 20, 1941

Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, p.262

Terekhovka

Dobrush district

55

September 1942

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p. 260

Turov

570

August-Sept. 1941

ZGА in Mozyr, f. 310, оp. 1, d. 9, ll. 1-79; d. 19, ll. 1-64.

Uvarovichi Village, Buda-Koshelevo district

247

Sept. 18, 1941

Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995, p.242

Shugali Village

Lelchitsa district

12

October 1941

Yad Vashem Archives,

 M-33/1127, p. 68

Shchedrin Village

Zhlobin district

1600

March 2, 1942

NARB, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 60, l. 33; f. 861, оp.1, d. 2, ll. 93-95.

Urovichi Village

Kalinkovichi district

540

Nov. 19, 27,

Dec. 1941

GARF, f. 7021, оp. 91, d. 15, l. 136.

Total

11,705

1941-1943

53 populated areas

 

The table was created by the author according to materials from the National Archive of the Belorussian Republic (NARB); Government Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF); Regional Government Archives of Moser (ZGA in Mozyr); Government Archive of the Gomel Oblast, Archive of the Gomel Oblast MVD; Yad Vashem Archives (Jerusalem); Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, 1985; M.Botvinnik. Pamiatniki genozida evreev Belarusi, Minsk, 2000; Pamiats. Belarus. Minsk, 1995; Pamiats. Rechitsa district Minsk, 1999. Vol. 1; Pamiat. Zhitkovichi district. Minsk, 1994; Pamiats. Petrikov district. Minsk, 1995 г.; Nazi-Fascist Genocide in Belarus, 1941-1944. Minsk, 1995, p. 346; Crimes of the German-Fascist Occupiers in Belarus, 1941-1944. Documents and Materials. Minsk, 1963; Places of Compulsory containment of the Civil Population in Belarus on the Temporarily Occupied Territory During the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1944. Directory. Minsk, 2001.

 

 

 

Table 5

Ghettos, Prisons and Camps on Occupied Belorussian Territory,

1941-1944 (contemporary borders).

 

Name of regions (oblast)

 Ghettos

 

 Prisons

Death сamps

POW camps

Camps of civil population

Labor сamps

Brest

28

14

3

2

14

1

Vitebsk

36

15

1

2

22

10

Gomel

20

11

1

1

  29*

21

Grodno

31

7

-

4

4

-

Minsk

40

13

2

7

11

6

Mogilev

12

15

-

4

17

59

Total

167

75

7

20

97

97

 

     *Including four Child Camps (7-17 years), located in the «Krasny Bereg» economy of the Zhlobin district, Petrikov, Luchitsy Village of Petrikov district and Parichi.

 

The table was created by the author based on the following material: Nazi Politics of Genocide in Belarus, 1941-1944 Documents and Materials, Minsk, 1984; German-Fascist Genocide in Belarus, 1941-1944. Minsk, 1995, p.346; Places of Compulsory containment of the Civil Population in Belarus on the Temporarily Occupied Territory During

 

Table 6

 

Number of Victims Among the Civil Population and Prisoners of War on Occupied Belorussian Territory 1941-1944, According to Extraordinary Committee

(ChGK USSR) Data

 

Name of regions (oblast)

Total number of dead

Civil Population

Prisoners of War

Taken to Germany

Baranovichi

269 586

181 179

88 407

33 773

Brest

198 384

159 526

38 858

30 008

Bobruisk

136 207

82 194

54 013

15 275

Vitebsk

244 312

151 421

92 891

68 434

Gomel

167 836

53 360

114 476

16 745

Grodno

152 538

111 208

41 330

53 955

Mogilev

130 736

71 602

59 134

21 436

Minsk

419 105

317 515

101 590

29 815

Molodechno

77 025

42 373

34 652

8 828

Pinsk

119 998

95 385

24 613

30 861

Polesye

41 101

37 981

3 120

82 202

Polotsk

262 218

105 211

157 007

52 599

Total

2 219 316

1 409 225

810 091

377 776

 

 

(NARB, f. 845, op. 1, d. 207, l. 1).

 

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20.  YVA, 053/3.

21.  D. Romanovsky. How many Jews were perished in the industrial regions of the West Belorussia at the beginning of the German occupation (June-December1941) // Vestnik evreiskogo universiteta, № 4 (22), 2000, p. 167.

22.  NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, ll. 25-26.

23.  Ibid, f. 845, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 47.

24.  М.Botvinnik. Opt. cit. p. 207.

25.  YVA, M-33/1126, p. 50.

26.  NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 6, ll. 341-342, 350.

27.  Archive of the author. Letter from F.L. Zaenchik in Moscow on June 7, 1994; GARF, f.7021, оp. 85, d. 217, ll. 1-8.

28.  GARF, f. 7021, оp. 91, d. 273, ll. 7-9.

29.  Archive of the author. Letter from Tatiana Levina in Natania (Israel) on October 5, 1999.

30.  YVA, М-33/476, p. 19.

31.  Estimated by the author in the Guide: Mesta prinuditel’nogo soderzhania grazhdanskogo naselenia na vremenno okkupirovannoy territorii Belorussii v gody Velikoy Otechestvennoy voyny (Places of Compulsory containment of the Civil Population in Belorussia on the Temporarily Occupied Territory During the Great Patriotic War), 1941-1944. Minsk, 2001, pp. 27-38.

32.  Archive of the KGB of the Belarus Republic. Materialy ugolovnogo dela Podbereznogo Ivana Pavlovicha, January 21, 1944, pp. 148, 151.

33.  YVA, M-35/14.

34.  Archive of the KGB of the Belarus Republic. Opt. cit., pp. 141-146, 148.

35.  Ibid., p. 151

36.  D. Romanovsky. “Holocaust in East Belorussia and North-West Russia by eyes of non-Jews” // Vestnik evreiskogo universiteta v Moskve, № 2(9), 1995, pp. 93-103;

37.  Marat Botvinnik. Pamiatniki genozida evreev Belarus. Minsk, 2000, p. 204.

38.  YVA, M-33/1120, p. 5.

39.  Zbor pomnikau gistoryi i kultury Belarusi. Gomelskaya voblast. Minsk, 1985, p.119.

40.  State Archive of the Gomel Region, f. 1345, оp. 1, d. 15, ll. 3-6.

41.  NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 25.

42.  Sovetskaya Belorussia, May 16, 1995.

43.  NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 12, l. 188.

44.   Sh. Cholawsky. The Jews of Belorussia during Wold War II. Amsterdam, 1998, pp. 81-82.

45.  C. Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde. Hamburg, 1999, s. 94-111.

46.  Y. Buchler. "Local Police Force Participation in the Extermination of Jews in Occupied Soviet Territory" // Shvut, 4(20), 1996, pp. 79-99.

47.  GARF, f. 7021, оp. 85, d. 217, l. 14.

48.  Archive of the author. Letter from Mikhael Balte and Sara Ber in Rechitsa, January 12, 2000.

49.  Mozyr pages of Holocaust” // Berega (Мinsk), March-April, 2002.

50.  Archive of the author. Letter from Zinovi Vager in Pinsk, March 15, 2001.

51.  Zezilia Shapiro recalled that after escape from Minsk ghetto, she came to Gomel with a “Russian” passport in Gomel. Kardakov passed her for check up to German Professor Feber, who made a conclusion, that Shapiro is not a Jewish. In book: Unknown Black book. Moscow-Jerusalem, 1993 г., p. 255.

52.  L.Smilovitsky. “Righteous Gentiles, the Partisans and Jewish Survival in Belorussia, 1941-1944” // Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Vol. 11 (3), winter 1997, pp. 309.

53.  Bodies of Sima and her daughter Prishchepa buried after threatens of the neighbors. After liberation, he was trailed and died in the prison of Mozyr. For another info he was killed by the prisoners themselves // L.Smilovitsky. “The Fate of Jewish Children of Belorussia During the Holocaust, 1941-1944” // Yalkut Moreshet, No 68, 1999, pp.121-144 (Hebrew).

54.  Gerlach. Op. Cit, s. 204-205.

55.  B. Chiari. Alltag hinter der Front. Kollaboration und Widerstand in Weisrusland, 1941-1944. Schirften des Bundesarchivs, Bd. 53. Dusseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1998. s. 119.

56.  L. Smilovitsky. Holocaust of Jews in Belorussia. Tel Aviv, 2000, p. 46-48.

57.  L. Smilovitsky. “Nazi Confiscation of Jewish Property in Belorussia”. Review on: Natsistskoe zoloto iz Belarusi, Dokumenty i materialy (Nazi gold from Belorussia: documents and materials). Minsk, 1998. // Jews in Eastern Europe, No 1(37), 1998, pp.75-79.

58.  NARB, f. 861, оp. 1, d. 6, l. 4.

59.  Ibid, f. 4, оp. 29, d. 113, l. 669.

60.  Archive of MVD of Gomel Region, f. 12, оp. 1/8, d. 1. Vol. 1, l. 118.

61.  NARB, f. 370, оp. 1, d. 483, ll. 29-30.

62.  Unichtozhenie evreev SSSR v gody nemetskoi okkupatsii, 1941-1944. Collection of documents and materials. Izhak Arad (Ed.). Jerusalem, 1991, p. 29.

63.  Prestuplenia nemetsko-fashistskikh zakhvatchikov v Belorussii, 1941-1944. (Crimes of the German Fascist invades in Belorussia). Collection of documents and materials. Minsk, 1963, p. 232.

64.  Berega, March-April, 2002.

65.  W.Benz u.a. (Hrsg), Einsatz im “Reichskommissariat Ostland”, October 30, 1941. Berlin, 1998, s. 69.

66.  W.Orbach, “The Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR” // Soviet Jewish Affairs, No 6 (2) 1976, pp. 32-51.

67.  D.Romanovsky. The Holocaust in the Eyes of "Homo-Sovieticus": A Survey Based on North-eastern Belorussia and North-western Russia // Holocaust and Genocide Studies, No 13 (3). Winter, 1999, pp. 355-382.

68.  To the present time known near 500 people who helped for Jewish surviving: L.Smilovitsky. “Righteous Gentiles, the Partisans and Jewish Survival in Belorussia, 1941-1944.” // Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Vol. 11 (3), winter 1997, pp.301-329.

69.  Documents to the history of the Great Patriotic War in the State archives of Belarus. Annotated guide. Minsk, 1998.

70.  Estimated by the author at Itogi Vsesouznoy perepisi naselenia 1959 goda. Belorusskaya SSR (All Union Census of the USSR population in 1959). Belorussian SSR. Moscow, 1963, p.126.

 

 

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