A mass grave containing the remains of more than 1,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis during the 20 years of Poland’s sovereignty, has been found in Belarus.
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 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.
The victims were from the Brest Jewish ghetto where up to 28,000 lived in 1941-42, it is understood.
Records say that only 19 people out of up to 28,000 were alive after the Brest ghetto, which had been founded on 16 December 1941, was ‘liquidated’ in October and November 1942.
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.
The Kats sisters who survived the mass slaughter in Brest ghetto – concealed in an attic – heard the mass killing:
‘Workers came to dig graves early in the morning. 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…’
The recent discovery of human remains came during excavations for a new luxury residential development and a shopping mall said city officials.
The building work has been suspended while the remains of the mass murder victims are disinterred.
A petition has been started in Brest demanding that building work is permanently halted at the site. The matter is being discussed by the city authorities.