A HORRIFYING mass grave of more than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children shot in the head by Nazis has been unearthed at a building site in Belarus.
Discovered with gunshot wounds to their skulls, the victims’ remains were buried in a pit located at a building site in the city of Brest on the Polish border.
East2west News The remains of more than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children have been unearthed at a building site in Belarus
East2west News There were gunshot wounds to their skulls as they were executed by Nazis during the Second World War
The skeletons of about 600 have been unearthed so far, with Belarus soldiers – deployed to undertake the macabre work – now locating the remains of some 40 people each day in the sinister burial place.
City official Anna Kondak said: “We expect the number of victims to go over 1,000.”
The dead are believed to have been Holocaust victims of the Nazis from the Second World War, say officials.
Those executed 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.
“TWO MAJOR GRAVES”
Historic accounts say victims were ordered by Hitler’s forces to strip naked before being shot.
City bosses said that the recent discovery of human remains came during excavations for a new luxury residential development and a shopping mall.
The building work has been suspended while the remains of the mass murder victims are exhumed.
Kondak said: “During three weeks, 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 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 20metre-long pit, some 1.5metres deep.
One account said they included “men, women, and children, all with gun shot wounds in their skulls”.
Previous mass graves were found 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.
Rogachuk is reported to have held a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in Brest and suggested re-burying the remains at “Severnoe” cemetery.
VICTIMS MADE TO STRIP NAKED
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 December 16, 1941, was destroyed in October and November 1942.
Sisters, who survived the mass slaughter in Brest ghetto – concealed in an attic – heard the mass killing outside their home.
“Workers came to dig graves early in the morning,” said their account.
“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…”
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A petition has been started in Brest demanding that building work is permanently halted at the site of the mass execution.
So far, 492 people have called for a memorial park to replace the residential development and shopping centre.
The matter is being discussed by the city authorities.
East2west News The victims were from the Brest Jewish ghetto where up to 28,000 lived in 1941-42
East2west News Grim task: the remains are currently being exhumed
East2west News Pictured: Brest ghetto burial
East2west News Above: documentary video showing the Brest ghetto, from 1941-1942
East2west News More than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot in the head by Nazis in the city of Brest
East2west News Historic accounts say victims were ordered by Hitler’s forces to strip naked before being shot
East2west News Pictured: new real estate development to be built at the ghetto site