A mass grave with the remains of over 1,000 Jewish people murdered by the Nazis has been found in Belarus. The 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 skeletons of around 600 have been found so far. City official Anna Kondak said: ‘We expect the number of victims to go over 1,000.’
Belarus soldiers have been deployed to handle the excavation. They have been uncovering the remains of some 40 people each day.
The victims are assumed to be from the Brest Jewish ghetto where up to 28,000 lived in 1941-42.
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.
This horrifying discovery came amid work for a planned new luxury residential development and a shopping mall. The city has suspended the work indefinitely, while the remains are being excavated. A petition has been started in Brest demanding the work be permanently halted at the site of the mass shooting.
City official Anna Kondak says they have so far uncovered the remains of 600 people. ‘As far as we know, there are two major graves here. We have almost finished with the first one. After this, experts will start on the second one.’
Governor Alexander Rogachuk said: ‘We will not allow the building of anything on bones of people.’
Local reports say the human remains have been found in a 20 metre long pit, some 1.5 metres deep.
This isn’t the first time human remains from the Holocaust have been doscovered in Brest. In 1950, the remains of 600 victims were discovered, and 20 years later another 300 were found.
The Jewish community is demanding that religious traditions be followed during re-burials. Governor Rogachuk is reported to have held a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in Brest, and suggested to re-bury the remains at ‘Severnoe’ cemetery, which already contains victims of the Holocaust.
The Brest ghetto was founded on Dec 16, 1941, and was liquidated over November and December of 1942. While 28,000 victims were incarcerated there, only a mere 19 made it out alive.
At the time of this writing, 492 people have called for a memorial park to replace the shopping centre. The matter is being discussed by the city authorities.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)