Nazi Execution of 15,000 Jews in Borisov Reported by Soviet: Guerilla Officers
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Nazi Execution of 15,000 Jews in Borisov Reported by Soviet: Guerilla Officers

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The mass-execution by the Nazis of 15,000 Jews in the occupied town of Borisov, 75 miles west of Smolensk, was described here today by two commanders of Soviet guerilla detachments who, after long months of operating behind the Nazi lines, reached Moscow to report on what is going on in Nazi-held White Russia.

The two leaders of the Russian partisan fighters both stated that the policy of the German administration in the occupied Soviet territory is “to completely exterminate the Jews.” Under the pretext that the Jews are helping the Russian guerillas, mass-executions of Jews are taking place in practically every town and village in occupied White Russia.

Emphasizing that their reports could be confirmed by at least 500 eye-witnesses, the two guerilla officers gave the following details:

“After capturing Borisov, the Germans ordered all Jews there to wear a special armband and to live in a ghetto for which they set aside one of the streets fenced with barbed wire. Then an announcement was suddenly posted stating that the Jews were helping the Soviet partisans and would be held responsible. This was a lie since none of us, partisans, could enter the ghetto, nor could the Jews leave it.


“The next day after the announcement appeared, a pogrom started in the ghetto. Jewish homes were plundered by German soldiers from five o’clock in the morning until several hours later. Then all the 7,000 Jews who remained in Borisov were marched off in groups to the outskirts of the city and ordered to dig their own graves. When the graves were dug, the victims were lined up and shot by Nazi firing squads. No difference was made between men and women. Only the children were not shot. The Nazi soldiers threw the children into the graves alive, occasionally knocking some of them unconscious with the butt ends of their rifles.

“The shooting of the adults was carried out carelessly, and many of the victims were only slightly wounded when thrown into the grave. As the graves were not deep and were filled with earth in a hurry, the non-Jewish population which was forced to witness the horrible scene actually saw the graves “breathing” for two hours during which many of the victims were apparently still alive.

“Several days later, after disposing of the local Jewish population, the Nazis brought some 8,000 more Jews to Borisov from the western part of occupied White Russia, and executed them in the same manner. This same fate was meted out to all Jews in the township of Shamkovo. The Jews of Shamkovo were harnessed to coaches in place of horses and were forced to haul their executioners to the place where the entire Jewish population of the township was shot by firing squads after being forced to dig their own graves.

“Following the two mass-executions in Borisov, all three Nazi newspapers published in White Russia – one in the Russian and two in the White Russian languages cynically reported that “the Jewish problem in White Russia is now solved, but there are still five million Jews left alive in the United States.”

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