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in what is today Lyakhovichi, Belarus    


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This site is created as a way to further research and publication of materials on the history of Lyakhovichi.If you have been aided in your research and wish to contribute materials and resources to further our knowledge, contact Gary Palgon and ask how you can help.

This site is hosted at no cost by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in your research by this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly appreciated.

Remembering 5000 Lyakhovichi Jews Murdered in the Holocaust
by Deborah Glassman, copyright 2007
All indices and tables on this page are ęDeborah Glassman 2007 and may not be reproduced in whole or part without her written permission.

This is a page in our Documents section. Click the button labeled "Documents" in the left-hand column to reach all of the other resources of the Document area.

We have Holocaust Records across several pages. There is a table of links to each individual article (it will take you directly to the part of the page with that report) on our first page Holocaust Records

The Trial of a Nazi Murderer of Lyakhovichi Jews - "Bloody Yosef" A Report on the trial of the murderer & destroyer of a series of Jewish communities in the Baranovici area, including Lyakhovici, and about his trial in Wroclaw, Poland in 1947, as reported in news papers and letters. By A. Narkunski and Zwi Mukasai, 1949
translated from the Yiddish by Wilfred "Bill" Kay, 2008.

On trial in Wroclaw Poland, 1947
Yosef Griunevich murderer in Lyakhovichi and throughout Baranovichi area

Wilfred Kay provided the information about his search for his brothers and sisters that we report in The Katz Children of Pultusk and Lyakhovichi . The genealogy community reached out to him and offered many suggestions on locating his sibs who may have survived in Russian orphanages and , we are still awaiting the results of Wilfred's attempts to have his search aired on a Russian language television program suggested by a Belarus SIG member in Germany. Wilfred has become a staunch supporter of our research efforts generally and has translated several Yiddish language pieces about Lyakhovichi.

Dr. Narkunsi and Zvi Mukasey who testified at the trial of Bloody Yusef and reported on his criminal fate to their fellow Lyakhovichi survivors and mourners.

A Summary

The mass murderer: His name - Yusef Gruniewich, born in Kovno 1923, there he finished gymnasium, came from Lithuanian background, but considered himself Polish at the trial, calculating that a Polish court would be more lenient. He was fluent in Lithuanian, Polish, German & Russian.

Yusef's invented story for his defense was that he decided to penetrated the German SD (Sicherheitsdienst) to serve the Polish cause. He started his criminal career in Kovno, later moved to the Baranovici area. According to his lies, he penetrated the SD Service as a "Polish Patriot", so that, as an insider, he could report what the German plans against the Polish community leaders were. He said, he wanted to avenge the death of his parents; he wanted to destroy the German's from within. He used the old argument other prominent defendants used.

The Germans immediately started to recruit local helpers for their occupation plans.Yusef Gruniewich immediately joined the SD (Security Services) to provide reporting services, obviously, to spy for the Germans. He became a translator and "negotiator" for Jewish problems. He quickly advanced to higher positions, gained the trust and admiration of the Germans in the Baranowici area.

His murderous talents were exposed during the trial. As written by a reporter "his fantasies and pathalogical methods were exposed at the trial". He and his helpers were responsible for the death of 25,000 victims, mostly Jews.
(I will skip the gory details of some of his crimes)
The three phases of the murderous Yusef:
First, he started as a friendly, sympathetic person, he was known as the "Good Looking Yusef". Second, he pretended to help the Jews by extracting large summs of money to buy them favorable treatment from the Germans. He was then known as the "Friendly Yusef". Third, when the Jews had nothing left to extort, he became the sadistic "Bloody Yusef", this label also came out at the trial. He was occused of crimes against the Jews, The killing of partisans, forcibly removing hidden children from churches - never to be seen again, etc.

When the Russians liberated the area, he loaded his stolen jewish valueables and escaped with his family to a safe area. But he was discovered in Wroclaw (the area was part of Germany before 1945, it is now part of Poland). Many witnesses testified against him, including two Jews; witness Hirshel Mukasai was from Lyakhovici / Israel.

Yusef Gruniewich, "Bloody Yusef", was found guilty, sentenced to death and executed by hanging.



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Bloody Yusef
Yosef Griunevich on trial in Wroclaw Poland, 1947
receiving his death sentence - execution by hanging