Bryansk | Bryansk

/ Street in the town of Bryansk  © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum Vera L., born in 1928, witnessed the shooting of the camp prisoners. There were children and women among them: “Once a group was shot, they put a little soil over it and brought another one.”© David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum Vera L., born in 1928, showing the Yahad team the location of the former camp. © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum Yulia V., born in 1932, is half-Jewish as she was born to a Russian mother and a Jewish father. She was able to survive because her maternal grand-mother hid her in the attic during the occupation. © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Aba G., born in 1916, a Jew, who was a political instructor in the army during the war. His family moved to Bryansk after the WWI. © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Vera L., with the Yahad team near the ravine called Verkhniy Sudok, where about 3.500 vitcims were executed. © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum The former camp was situated in the building of the military factory. © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum Alexandra and Lidia described of the camp: “The camp was located in the military factory which produced the tanks. The whole territory was surrounded with electric barbed wire.” © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum Valeriy Y., born in 1927, said: “The camp was created right after the Germans’ arrival. It was guarded by Germans. The civilians, who were also in the camp, were separated from the POWs with barbed wire.” © David Merlin-Dufey -Yahad-In Unum

To access full (non-subtitled) videos of witness testimony for a village, please visit the Registered users area

Execution of Jews in Bryansk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ravine
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
3500

Witness interview

Alexandra V. evokes: "The mortality rate [in the camp] was very high. The police threw the bodies into the swamps, a bulldozer pushed the bodies inside. There was a very high number of deaths, one had to get rid of dead bodies every day." (Witness N°80, interviwed in Bryansk, on October 22, 2010).

Soviet archives

"Once they arrived in the city of Bryansk and its district, the German military command started ordering mass arrests and exterminating the civilian inhabitants: women, children, the elderly. From September 18-25, 1943, the Bryansk municipal commission (...) opened mass graves, discovered on the hillside of the "Verkhni Sudok" ravine, containing the bodies of civilians who were shot as well as those who died due to poor treatment. One of [the mass graves] measured 9m in length, 7m in width and 2-4m in depth and contained 3,500 bodies. In the vicinity of the village of Bryansk II, to the right of Bryansk-Karachev, in front of the Medical estate [Bolnichny Gorodok, trn , on the territory of Probnoye Pole, 2km away from the road leading from the Medical estate to the woods, 769 bodies of the elderly, women, and children were found. All the bodies were completely naked. The people had been shot in the nape of the neck. The shooting took place just before the arrival of the Red Army, in the last days of August to the beginning of September 1943. In the other opened mass graves, situated west of the first one, on the sand mound, other decomposed bodies (people who were executed in 1941-1942) were discovered. In all, 14 mass graves of about 7 500 people, including the elderly, women and children, were discovered at this site. The majority of them were Jews but there were also Gypsy victims. [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, made on 18-28 September, 1943; RG-22.002M/7021-19/8]

Historical note

Bryansk is located 385 km southwest away from Moscow. The town had a Jewish cemetery with a burial society, Mikvah, a Talmud Torah, several Yiddish schools and a synagogue. According to the witness n°498, in 1928, as a result of the anti-religious movement, the synagogue was closed and transformed into a Klub and a Jewish butchery was closed.  The majority of Jews was craftsmen, like cobblers and tailors, or worked in trade. There was little fabric. Prior to the war, about 5.102 Jews lived in Bryansk, which represented about 6% of the total population. The Germans occupied the city on October 6, 1941. By this time, a lot of refugees had arrived in the city and many Jews were evacuated or were enrolled in the Red Army.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad as well as the archives, prisoner of war camp was created in autumn 1941 as there were approximately 80.000 Soviet soldiers who were taken as prisoners of war during the attack. Half of them died due to hunger and harsh living conditions. In addition to POWs, there were also civilians in the camp, including women and children. The first Aktion took place in August 1942, when 3.500 prisoners of the camp, Jews among them, were executed in the “Verkniy Sudok” ravine. In the period from October 1941 until September 1943, 7.500 people, children, women and the elderly among them, were executed in 14 mass graves on the territory of “Probnoye Pole”, near the village of Bryansk II. The last execution, during which 769 victims were killed, took place before the Germans’ retreat, in late August or in early September 1943. The majority of the victims were Jews but there were also Gypsies among them.

Nearby villages

Other links

Do you have additional information regarding a village that you would like to share with Yahad ?

Please contact us at contact@yahadinunum.org
or by calling Yahad – In Unum at +33 (0) 1 53 20 13 17