A mass grave with the remains of over 1,000 Jewish people slain by the Nazis has been found close to the site of a notorious Nazi ghetto near Brest, Belarus. Bones of men, women and children with gunshot wounds to their skulls have been located at a building site in the city of Brest on the Polish border.
The remains of at least 1,000 suspected Jewish victims of the Holocaust have been discovered close to the site of a notorious Nazi ghetto in Brest where they were executed in 1942.
The mass grave was discovered as excavations were being carried out for a new luxury residential development. The building work has been suspended while the remains of the mass murder victims are disinterred.
What about these bones and skulls?
Every day about 40 remains are being found. Now the overall number is around 600. As far as we know, there are two major graves in Brest. They are almost finished with the first one. After this, experts will start with the second one.
Local reports say the human remains have been found in a 20 metre long pit, some 1.5 metres deep.
The dead are believed to have been Holocaust victims of the Nazis from the Second World War, say officials. The victims were from the Brest Jewish ghetto where up to 28,000 lived in 1941-42, it is understood.
Some 17,000 people are known to have been shot in October 1942 near Bronnaya Gora railway station, while thousands more were also presumed to have been slaughtered.
Historic accounts say victims were ordered by Hitler’s forces to strip naked before being shot.
The Kats sisters who survived the mass slaughter in Brest ghetto – concealed in an attic – heard the mass killing and remember:
‘Workers came to dig graves early in the morning. I heard a child crying: ‘Mama, let this bullet be very soon, I am so cold…‘ It was in November, and they had to get undressed and stay naked. Mothers undressed their children and then got undressed themselves. About 5,000 people are lying there, behind our fence, at block 126 Kuybysheva Street…‘
What will happen with the remains?
Previous mass graves have been located in Brest in 1950 – when some 600 victims were re-buried at Trishinskoe cemetery, and in 1970 when 300 victims were re-interred at Proska cemetery.
This time, officials suggested to re-burying the remains at ‘Severnoe’ cemetery.This burial ground already includes victims of the Holocaust.
The Jewish community is demanding that religious traditions should be followed during re-burials.
Records say that only 19 people out of up to 28,000 were alive after the Brest ghetto, which had been founded on 16 December 1941, was ‘liquidated’ in October and November 1942.
A petition has been started in Brest demanding that building work is permanently halted at the site of the mass shooting… And to replace the residential development and shopping centre with a memorial park.
Governor Alexander Rogachuk said: ‘We will not allow the building of anything on bones of people.‘ The question is… Who is going to buy some luxurious apartments lying over a Nazi mass grave! Well, I wouldn’t!