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24 October 1941, Black Friday
October 24, 1941 is known as Black Friday. This day served as a preface to the mass murder that would be carried out later in the week, on October 30.

On that same morning, it was required of 34 Jews (according to other sources, 36) by the Council and the German commander's order, to present themselves to the governing office. The pretext for this call was their employment in the collection of potatoes for the town population. They were all imprisoned and held under arrest until candle-lighting Friday night. After that they were taken by truck to the Catholic cemetery on the Neshvizh road outside town.

Grisha Goldberg bears witness to us from his younger brother, who was 17 years old and one of those who dug the pit and covered it up:

The German murderers caught me at 2:00. They took me to the police station where there were already a group of 36 Jews who had been beaten mercilessly. At 4:00 they put us onto the truck with a German guard and began to drive us in the direction of the Catholic cemetery. There was a big valley there. Suddenly, a wild cry was heard, “Get down, cursed Jews (Ferfluchte Juden)!” They took out six from the group, I was one of them. They gave us shovels and we got the order: “You must dig a pit for yourselves, Jews, within the hour!” We began to dig. When we finished the pit, they ordered all 36 of us: Every fifth one was to march forward, undress and arrange his clothes according to groups - shoes, pants and shirts.

Whoever did not do this exactly was beaten. After all this, an order was given to lie down so that one's head was inclined into the pit. We stood and saw this, and a cold sweat covered my body. One of the murderers approached with a gun, climbed on the body of the first victim, and shot him in the head, and so shot each one of the group. We, the sixth group, were forced to take the bodies into the pit and to arrange them next to each other. And thus the Germans returned to the action until they had murdered the whole group. We couldn't help them in any way. After that we covered up the pit, over the Jews - the dead and the half-dead, the wounded. The Germans beat us with rubber clubs to hurry us up. They told us we would live. I began to run and with effort arrived home. It took me a while to find my house. [3]
The information spread rapidly in the town. Grief descended on the Jewish street. Alarm and despair gripped everyone. It was felt clearly that this was only the beginning. The public began to consider ways and means to escape the anticipated destruction. However, the paths of salvation were closed.

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3. Source: Diary of Grisha Goldberg (Gontovich)


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