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Rechytsa is the center of the district of the same name and one of the oldest settlements in Belarus. According to 1939 data, 7.2 thousand Jews lived here, who made up 24% of the local population. The city was occupied in August 1941. There are reports that local authorities persuaded Jews to evacuate. Those who decided to leave chose the wrong direction and found themselves in the occupied settlements of Belarus.
The city was occupied in August 1941. Rechytsa became part of the Zhytomyr District of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. A week and a half after the capture of the city, the Nazis conducted a census of the Jewish population. A prohibition was introduced on the appearance of Jews in public places. When going outside, they had to wear insignia.
Even before the ghetto was created in the city, several cases of the extermination of Jews were known. Therefore, in September 1941, Einsatzkommando 7b destroyed about 200 people. They were rebuilding a bridge over the Dnieper River two kilometers from the city. In October 1941, a representative of the occupation authorities, Obergefreiter Heinz Fischer, killed nine people who came across him on the road.
In mid-November 1941, the Nazis created a ghetto. Everyone who was registered as a Jew by the invaders was driven in two buildings at the corner of Sovetskaya and Frunze Streets. The ghetto created on the territory of the former prison was of a closed type. It was surrounded by barbed wire. You could go outside through one entrance, near which there was a police booth.
The concentration of the population in the ghetto was high. According to eyewitnesses, there were up to 40 people in the room. The prisoners could only stand in the rooms. During the day, the invaders took some of the prisoners to work. Then the ghetto became freer.
About a dozen cases of abuse of ghetto prisoners have been documented. Instead of horses, they were harnessed to carts with loads and lowered into wells.
The Nazis began the extermination of the ghetto prisoners on November 25, 1941. Seven cars drove up to the ghetto. Each accommodated more than 40 people. The prisoners were told that they were going to harvest vegetables at a neighboring collective farm.
Three places of extermination of Jews have been established:
• An anti-tank ditch in the area of the tuberculosis sanatorium, where the Nazis destroyed the prisoners of the ghetto. About 3 thousand people died here.
• A forest near the village of Ozershchina, where the invaders in November 1941 shot about 80 people who were caught in Rechytsa and the surrounding villages.
• Anti-tank ditches in the area of the village of Bronnoye, where the invaders shot about 2 Jews in December 1941.
In total, according to official data, about 3.5 thousand Jews perished in the Rechytsa area. In 1946, a memorial to the victims was erected at the Jewish cemetery, funded by the local community.
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