The Germans took care beforehand to explain to the local population who there enemies were: the Jews. Vera K. from Tchachniki recounted seeing red papers dropped down from a plane, flying above the villages. They read: "Do not fear us. We will lead this war against the Jews."
During this 14-day investigation, the research team interviewed 73 witnesses, discovered 20 execution places and 24 common graves.
Vitebsk Region, Polotsk District
Before the German invasion, many towns in the region were composed mainly of Jews. The coexistence between Jews and non Jewish population seems to have been peaceful.
This second research trip allowed us to increase the number of interviews on the ground, thanks to the presence of Russian speaking members in the team. It also offered us the opportunity to verify how reliable the Soviet commission archives are, as we used them for our research. In fact, many witnesses spontaneously remembered names of Jewish neighbours and friends or were able to give details on people who were named in the commission list. In Volyntsi, Viktor M. even asked us if we knew something about his childhood Jewish friend. He didn't hear about him since the war. We were able to tell him, thanks to the Soviet commission archives, that his friend was killed the day of the mass execution of the Volyntsi Jews.