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Yelizaveta Ostrovskaya.
Yelizaveta Ostrovskaya (left).

Here are the few facts I remember from my mother’s stories about Pogost.

My mother, Yelizaveta Moiseevna Ostrovskaya (born in 1910) and her sister, Sima Moiseevna, were born in Pogost (today Pogost-1).

Yelizaveta Ostrovskaya went to Moscow to study at the Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technologies, and then worked in Moscow at the “Kauchuk” plant. Her sister also went to Moscow and worked at the engine-building plant.

Moshe and Rivka Ostrovskys.
Moshe and Rivka
Itshok Ostrovsky.
Itshok Ostrovsky.

Their father, Moisha, worked as a mechanic for the estate owner (today Pogost-2), their mother, Rivka, was a housewife. There also was grandfather Itshok, a former blacksmith. The forge was located on the bank of the Sluch river, but it was burnt down before the war. The grandfather didn’t work before the war. It is said that the Germans took him to the Slutsk ghetto long before shooting in Pogost. People also say he killed a German soldier, but it’s doubtful, since the grandfather was elderly and weak.

He had four grown-up children who had families of their own. None of them survived. He had many grandchildren and some of them survived.

There were several families with the last name of Ostrovsky. After the war Liza and Sima’s cousins, Nahum and Grisha, stayed at our place on their way to Moscow. During the war Nahum was in a partisan unit.

I went to Pogost in the 1980s. The monuments stood in the middle of a meadow, surrounded by a fence. The inscriptions were made in Yiddish. They still can be seen through the whitewash.

One of the locals, a Belarusian, an ex-serviceman, told me that before the war people were united in Pogost. He could speak the Jewish language himself. The Jewish part of the population of Pogost lived on a slope near the Sluch river.


Only four Jews survived the war in Pogost: a girl who dived into the Sluch and crossed it under fire, and a local with two teenage sons who refused to obey the order to gather on the meadow and hid. After the shooting they went to Slutsk at night and got in the ghetto. Nobody believed their story about shooting in Pogost. They joined the partisans. I was told the story by one of the sons, a Slutsk resident. To my pity, I didn’t take his address and name.

As the son told me, the relatives of the killed gathered every 9 May in Pogost.

The houses of the killed Jews stood neglected for half a year, then were burnt down.

There are no Jews in Pogost now.

The school took care of the monuments, but now the fences around them are almost broken, and the monuments themselves look very sad.

Ilia Gertsenstein

Jewish settlements in Minsk region

MinskBerezinoBobrBorisov DolginovoDukoraDzerzhinsk Ivenets Myadel NesvizhObchuga Pogost Rakov Seliba Slutsk Svir Uhvaly Vileika

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