DRUJA Print
DRUJA:
     We traveled to Druja to survey the town, now 1,400 mostly aging, agricultural workers. We knew that Germans and Latvians murdered nearly two thousand Jews from Druja and surrounding areas in 1941. But the execution site seemed too small to contain so many victims of German violence. We conducted excavations and found evidence of only about 350 bodies. What had happened to the other 1,650? The answer was found by interviewing the oldest residents in the town. From them, we discovered that 700 men had been machine-gunned into a lake 25 km out of town. Latvians ran through the streets of the German-created ghetto killing everyone in sight, leaving the corpses where they fell. The remaining Jews set fire to their houses before they were marched to the execution by the river. There, German boats waited to transport the clothes and belongings of the defenseless people whom the Germans and Latvians were about to gun down. Two days later, the surviving residents of Druja were forced to carry the bodies of their friends and dump them near the Jewish cemetery. On the basis of this information, we located the site of where these bodies had been abandoned. They now rest under gasoline storage tanks near the remains of the cemetery. Pending verifying excavations, the local authority will remove the tanks; and we will fence the area. We will now, with Jacov's help, repair the cemetery, build a new monument to the murdered Jews of Druja and make good the area where the bodies of the murdered were dumped.
     Before the war Druja was 50% Jewish. The remaining older generation remembers their friends. Since the war and without remuneration, the entire population has maintained the memorial to the execution site. We have photos of Druja to illustrate this story. If anyone wants them please e-mail me. Franklin J. Swartz, Executive Director, Eastern European Jewish Heritage Project (Reg'd U.K.), Jewish Revival Charitable Mission (Reg'd Republic of Belarus), 13b Dauman Street, Minsk 220002, Republic of Belarus, Tel/Fax: +375 17 234 3360/5612, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [1999?]