70 Years Later, Villagers Tell Father Desbois What They Saw in Yaktorov

I was walking with my cows on the meadow when I heard shots in the forest.

The clouds were high, the sky blue.

When they brought the Jews to the pits, a German played his harmonica.

A woman was forced to hold her baby in sight; first they shot the baby, then her.

When it was quiet, I went to have a look.

The pits were nearly filled.

I glanced only for a moment, and then I ran away.

I can’t say whether they were naked or clothed.

The bloody earth moved for three days.

Sometimes the soldiers paid us to bring them the gold teeth and clothing.

A boy from the village was also there.  We stared into the pits.

I remember my Jewish neighbors: Brick, Gorovich, Shurman, and Folst.


The bones of the Jews may not be disturbed; their faith forbids it.

Sometimes there are flowers growing in the fields.