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TRAGEDY ON THE EDGE OF POPLAVSKY FOREST

(based on an article by V. Matiushonok “The Holocaust or tragedy on the edge of Poplavsky forest”)

Opening of memorial in Poplavy, 1965.
Opening of memorial in Poplavy, 1965.

Before the war more than 300 Jews lived in Klichev.

In 1939 there was a huge fire. As a result, the biggest part of the settlement was burnt down.

On the first days of the war Nazis forced Jewish girls to work for them as interpreters. Later they were shot.

The place, where a church is located today, used to be the location of the commandant’s office and the punitive squad. Every day Jews had to go to the commandant’s office to register themselves. They had to attach yellow tabs onto their clothes. In October all the Jewish population was executed on the edge of Poplavsky forest.

Girgory Fedorovich Matiushonok, at that time a child, witnessed the tragedy. He was hiding on a tall tree and saw the execution.

On that day Poplavy was surrounded by Germans and their assistants – Ukrainians, Latvians and Belarusians. The local population was assembled next to the public bath house. All the men had to stand facing the wall. The women, old people and children had to stand with their backs to them. Then they were questioned about the partisans, communists and Komsomol members.

At the same time ditches were being dug on the edge of the forest. Then trucks began arriving from Klichev, filled with Jews. They were beaten and forcefully made to go into the ditches… Soon everything was over. Grisha, together with his three friends, came down off the tree and approached the place of the tragedy. All the ground was covered with blood. It was moving. Many people had not been shot to death and buried alive. It is known that some people managed to come out of the grave and survived: barber Breslav, his wife’s sister and one more person.

More than 300 Jews found their death in the grave near Poplav. Many people survived. Many of them were saved by the local Belarusians and then left to the woods.

In 1965 a memorial was set up at the location of the tragedy.

Prepared by A. Litin, I. Shenderovich
Photos taken by A. Litin

Еврейское местечко под Минском




Jewish settlements in Mogilev region

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