A previously unknown mass grave dating back to the Great Patriotic War: Prosecutor General Andrei Shved visited mass grave site in the Gomel Region

A previously unknown mass grave dating back to the Great Patriotic War was revealed in the forest of the Chenkovsky forestry in the Gomel Region in the framework of investigation of the criminal case on genocide.

Procedural actions are organized and carried out there.

The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved, as well as Assistant to the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus Leonid Kasinsky, arrived at the site.


Deputy Prosecutor of the Gomel Region Alexander Shinkarev, who inspected the burials, reported on the work done.

According to historical evidence, during 1941-1943, the Nazi invaders and their accomplices drove civilians from occupied Gomel, including the elderly, women and children, to a transit camp, from where people were taken out in cars, or they often went on foot, to Novobelitsky forest, where they were shot.
The prosecutor’s office received information about detection of single bone remains during felling in the Chenkovsky forestry.

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Having compared this information with the results of laborious archival research, prosecutors determined the boundaries of the alleged mass grave site. Servicemen of the 52nd separate search battalion were recruited for assistance.

As a result, 34 pits-graves, each 2-4 meters deep and 4 meters and more in diameter have already been discovered. The remains of more than 300 people, including men and women, have already been removed from 13 such pits. The skulls have injuries characteristic of perforating gunshot wounds to the occipital part of the skull.  


A significant number of cartridges, bullets from firearms in service with the Wehrmacht, of 1938-1940 and 1943 model years, were withdrawn from the graves.

Among the remains are personal belongings of the killed (combs, toothbrushes and parts of their cases, coins, a wallet, a purse, plastic buttons, keys, pen knives, mugs, fragments of shoes, mirrors, belts with buckles and chemical pencils), which indicates the burial of civilians here.


 At the same time, two German coins were found in two pits bearing image of a one-headed eagle and a swastika – pfennigs, one of which is 42 years old, as well as a German military flask manufactured in 1940.

It was decided to perform medical-forensic, ballistic, genetic expertise of the found.

Communicating with representatives of the press, the Prosecutor General spoke about the victims buried here: “We are talking about the residents of Gomel and the surrounding areas. The methods of extermination, as the forensic expert said today, included a shot in the back of the head, a control shot. Those who did not die immediately were finished off. There were dugouts nearby. Punishers, accomplices, policemen constantly lived here, which means that [people] were constantly brought here, and, like on a death conveyor, they were exterminated... According to various estimates, there may be from tens to hundreds of thousands of civilians here.”

Leonid Kasinsky informed about the well-established cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office in the investigation and noted that in order to continue works at the site, it was decided to extend the search period. “We will work as long as the weather conditions allow us,” he stressed.

Andrei Shved summed up that previously unknown places of mass extermination of people are revealed almost every week, and the scale of the genocide of the Belarusian people has yet to be assessed.

The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus announced that the investigation reached a new level and spoke about the proposal, which was voiced by the Head of State during the meeting with the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, to create an international investigation team: “We are working in this direction together with our colleagues from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia... As we are talking about victims not only from among the inhabitants of the BSSR, but also from other countries that were part of the Soviet Union, as well as other states, including European ones.”

Photo: Prosecutor General’s Office, newspaper Gomelskaya Pravda, BelTA

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