Ghetto in Smalyavichy
A photo catalog of the burials of this cemetery is available at the link
German troops occupied Belarusian Smalyavichy at the end of June
1941. The occupation lasted three years - until July 1944, and entered the
history of the Jewish population of the town as its most tragic period.
From the first days of the capture of Smalyavichy, the entire Jewish
population was obliged to wear specially sewn yellow circles on their outer
clothing. Violators of this awaited the death penalty. In early August, the
Nazis began to implement their program of extermination of the Jews. To
this end, they organized a ghetto in Smalyavichy, which was located in
Tserkovny Lane. Fenced with barbed wire, guarded by SS men with dogs,
the territory was located between Sovetskaya Street and the local car park.
German soldiers and their henchmen-policemen constantly tortured
and mocked the prisoners of the ghetto: they were not stopped by the fact
that a child, a woman or old people appeared in front of them. No less
ordeal that claimed the lives of the Jews was constant hunger and thirst. It
should be noted that the Germans in all the occupied territories feared
resistance from the Jews, therefore, they tried, first of all, to destroy men
from the age of 15 to 50. In many cases, they were killed even before the
ghetto was organized, so they mainly contained women, children and the
elderly, who could not fight back the Nazis. Smalyavichy was no exception -
approximately 200 Jewish men were selected by the Germans and shot near
the Kurovishche khutor near the Jewish cemetery.
In September 1941, on the 13th, the prisoners of the Smalyavichy
ghetto were shot near the small village of Aputok. At eight in the morning,
more than 2,000 people were lined up in a column and, under the pretext of
being transferred to another place, were taken out of the town. According to
the stories of witnesses, the exhausted prisoners slowly wandered along the
deserted streets, and the column stretched for hundreds of meters and was
able to get out of it only by lunchtime. Some, stronger prisoners, managed
to escape unnoticed along the way, which saved their lives. Subsequently,
they were able to tell about all the horrors that took place in the Jewish
ghetto in Smalyavichy...
The policemen, who were assigned by the Germans to guard the
column of Jews, near Aputok turned it towards a small hill, popularly called
the "Jewish mountain". Approaching it, the Jews saw freshly dug execution
pits. They were forced to strip down to their underwear, divided into groups
of about 30 people, who were taken in turn to the pit and machine-gunned.
The killers were both local policemen and German soldiers. When everything
was over, the Nazis brought two trucks with local residents to the place of
execution, who were ordered to level the pit with the dead. The torment of
already dead Jews did not end there - in 1943 the Germans dug up a firing
trench and burned their remains ...
Since then, every year, on September 13, Jews are commemorated in
Smalyavichy - prisoners of the local ghetto, shot by the Germans in 1941
under the Jewish mountain