Project «Voices of Jewish settlements. Vitebsk region.»
פיתוח קשרי התרבות בין העמים של ישראל ובלרוס
Travelling with Arkady Shulman
Prozorki. Photo taken in 2009.
A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE OF EUROPE
Prozorki is a big nice-looking village. Researchers say that this is the geographical center of Europe.
When I arrived in Prozorki I met Valentina Pirog who has lived her whole life in the village. She was born in 1923.
- Were there a lot of Jews here before the war? – I asked.
- More than Christians. The center of the village was predominantly Jewish. Most of the shops were owed by Jews.
A few minutes later the whole family of Valentina Pirog was taking part in our conversation.
- Are there any Jewish houses left from those times? – I inquired.
Valentina Pirog. Photo taken in 2009.
- There are several. Prozorki was badly destroyed in the war. Several houses were burnt down.
Then I asked about the war years.
- They assembled all the Jews… Dug out a grave… and shot them all…
- What else do you remember? – I asked.
- It was cold. We were hiding and only heard the sounds of the shooting. Some of the Jews tried to run away, but were caught…
According to Valentina Pirog, there was no ghetto in Prozorki – they lived in their houses. However very few people attempted to escape – the winter was too cold and there was no hope of surviving in the woods. Some people tried to escape only when they were being taken to the execution.
Memorial to the Jews from Prozorki and Ziabki. Photo taken in 2009.
After the execution all the clothes of shoes of the victims were taken to the local school. The Nazi policemen divided everything among themselves. There were local policemen, as well as the ones that came from neighboring towns. The latter tried to pick the best clothes, which caused the dissatisfaction of the former and they started fighting. No one knows how this could have ended if drunk German soldiers had not come to the noise.
The Soviet troops liberated Prozorki at dawn on June 30th 1944. The occupation lasted three years and took the lives of many residents.
Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region
Vitebsk • Albrehtovo • Babinovichi • Baran • Bayevo • Begoml • Beshenkovichi • Bocheikovo • Bogushevsk • Borkovichi • Braslav • Bychiha • Chashniki • Disna • Dobromysli • Dokshitsy • Druya • Dubrovno • Glubokoye • Gorodok • Kamen • Kohanovo • Kolyshki • Kopys • Krasnopolie • Kublichi • Lepel • Liady • Liozno • Lukoml • Luzhki • Lyntupy • Miory • Obol • Oboltsy • Orsha • Osintorf • Ostrovno • Parafianovo • Plissa • Polotsk • Prozorki • Senno • Sharkovshina • Shumilino • Sirotino • Slaveni• Smolyany • Surazh • Tolochin • Ulla • Verhnedvinsk • Vidzy • Volyntsy • Yanovichi • Yezerishe • Zhary • Ziabki •