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2 Execution site(s)
Maria D., born in 1924, remembered: “The Jewish men were shot separately from the women and children. They were shot the next day or two days after the Jews moved into the camp. I don’t remember exactly. They were shot in the ditch that had been dug on purpose.
YIU: Did the Jews dig the pit themselves?
W: I don’t think so, but I can’t tell you exactly.
YIU: How were they taken to the killing site?
W: They were brought on foot.
YIU: Did they have their belongings with them?
W: No, they didn’t.
YIU: Was the pit where they were shot big?
W: Yes, it was very big. I will show you it afterwards if you want. While I was working in the field, I saw the column of Jews being brought to the killing site.” (Witness n°113, interviewed in Starodub, on October 31, 2010)
“For two days, they took 1,410 people (men, women and children) to the camp created especially for them in the vicinity of Starodub, in Belovshchina. All of these people were placed in a cowshed. At the end of September, the Gestapo selected all the men who were older than 14, there were 400 of them, and took them near Starodub to be shot at the place called “Gniloye Logove” [Rotten swamps] close to Volchaya Gora [Wolf’s hill].” [Act of Soviet Extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-19/3]
Belovshchina is located 5 km from Starodub, which is located 140 km northwest of Bryansk. Today this village is a part of Starodub. Before the war, 1,639 Jews lived in Belovschina (13% of the town’s population). The majority of Jews lived as artisans. There was a Jewish kolkhoz, a vocational school for men and women and a Talmud Torah school. The town was occupied by German forces on August 18, 1941.
From September 1941, about 1,400 remaining Jews were confined to a ghetto situated in the sovkhoz, known as “Belovshchina.” According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews who were locked up in Russian houses had been expelled from their homes and were forced to move to Starodub. The territory was fenced in with barbed wire. The men and young boys were separated from the women and girls immediately after the Jews moved into the ghetto. The ghetto inmates were exterminated during two big Aktions that took place in October 1941 and in March 1942, carried out by the Sonderkommando 7a. During the first execution, about 400 men and young boys were murdered. During the second execution, about 800 women and children were murdered by Nazis in a forest on the outskirts of Belovshchina. Moreover, about 155 Jews died in the ghetto due to the harsh winter and terrible living conditions.
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