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On entering the city the German punitive battalions immediately began to put the theory of the Holocaust into practice. The official passportization of the population identified all the Jews. Needless to say, they were forced into the ghetto. Some qualified workers were allowed to remain in their homes for some time, while all the others were taken to compulsory “labour”.

The Slutsk ghetto was divided into two camps: one was for people able to work, the other for the disabled. It often happened that small groups of Jews from the second camp were sent out of the city for shooting.

The bloodiest event took place in late October 1941 with the arrival of the 12th Lithuanian Police Battalion in the city. The Third Reich ordered to carry out the task within two days. However sad it may sound, but the executioners succeeded in fulfilling their task. Not only did they shoot about 5000 Jews, but also dealt with non-Jewish residents. Violence, plunder and widespread looting. The city fell into total violence.

After such pogrom the few Jews who survived realized that staying in the city for a long time was impossible and the only way to saving their lives was to join the partisan units. Mass escapes from the ghetto of mostly young people started.

The Germans realized that they had to stop the escapes, and decided to establish a new ghetto. This time it was the ghetto with maximum security and an outside fence. It existed until the order came from the chief of the Security Police and SD on its liquidation in February 1943. This time, apart from the Germans, the Latvian volunteers were involved. The Jews were able to hide in shelters, but very few managed to survive. The ghetto prisoners, who failed to hide (about 3000 people), were murdered and the ghetto was burnt down.

From the order of the commander of the security police and SD in the General District of White Ruthenia, SS Obersturmbahnführer Eduard Strauch:

On February 8 and 9 our service is carrying out the resettlement of Jews living in Slutsk. Officials whose names appear below, as well as about 110 members of a company of Latvian volunteers, are taking part in this operation.

SS Obersturmfuehrer Mueller is in charge of this operation…

Securing and guarding the ghetto is to be carried out by the Order Police.

SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Madecker is responsible for the evaluation of the Jewish property left behind, he has for this task a group of two officials…, two translators… and 10 Latvians at his disposal. SS Sturmbannfuehrer Graaf is in charge of rounding up the Jews in the ghetto and has for this purpose 6 commandos, each consisting of one official and 9 Latvians at his disposal… Transportation of the Jews to the resettlement place is to be carried out by 6 trucks each accompanied by 4 Latvians…

There are two graves in the resettlement area. To each grave one group of 10 officers and soldiers is assigned to work in 2-hour shifts: 8-10 a.m., 10-12 a.m., 12-14 p.m., 14-16 p.m… The cordoning off of the resettlement area is to be secured by SS Untersturmfuhrer Pierre with 10 Latvians.

From The Holocaust in Belarus 1941-1944. Documents and Materials, Minsk, 2002, pp. 115-121 (in Russian).


Reichskommissar for Ostland

Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse



Minsk, 07.31.1942

“Following exhaustive discussions with the SS Brigadefuehrer Zenner and the exceedingly capable Leader of the SD, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. jur. Strauch, we have liquidated about 55,000 Jews in Byelorussia in the past 10 weeks. In the area of Minsk county Jewry has been completely eliminated without any danger to the manpower requirements. In the predominantly Polish area of Lida, 16,000 Jews were liquidated, in Slonim, 8,000, etc.

Owing to encroachment by the Army Rear Zone (Command), which has already been reported, there was interference with the preparations we had made for the liquidation of the Jews in Glebokie. Without contacting me, the Army Rear Zone Command liquidated 10,000 Jews, whose systematic elimination had in any case been planned by us. In the city of Minsk about 10,000 Jews were liquidated on July 28 and 29. Of these 6,500 were Russian Jews – mainly old men, women and children – and the rest Jews incapable of work, who were sent to Minsk in November of last year by order of the Fuehrer, mainly from Vienna, Bruenn, Bremen and Berlin.

The District of Sluzk has also been relieved of several thousand Jews. The same applies to Nowogrodek and Wilejka. Radical measures are planned for Baranowitschi and Hanzewitschi. In Baranowitschi there are still another 10,000 Jews in the city itself, of whom 9,000 will be liquidated next month.

In the city of Minsk about 2,600 Jews from Germany have remained. In addition all of the 6,000 Russian Jews and Jewesses remained alive who were employed during the Aktion by various units [of the Wehrmacht]. In future, too, Minsk will remain the largest Jewish element owing to the concentration of armament industries in the area and as the requirements of the railroad make this necessary for the time being. In all other areas the number of Jews used for work will be reduced by the SD and myself to a maximum of 800, and, if possible, 500, so that when the remaining planned Aktionen have been completed there will be 8,600 in Minsk and about 7,000 Jews in the 10 other districts, including the Jew-free Minsk District. There will then be no further danger that the partisans can still rely to any real extent on Jewry. Naturally I and the SD would like it best if Jewry in the Generalbezirk of Byelorussia was finally eliminated after their labor is no longer required by the Wehrmacht. For the time being the essential requirements of the Wehrmacht, the main employer of Jewry, are being taken into consideration.”

Jewish settlements in Minsk region

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

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