Bykhov | Mogilev

Bykhov Castle, where the Jews were gathered before the execution © Aleksey Kasyanov – Yahad-In Unum Rural landscape © Aleksey Kasyanov – Yahad – In Unum Location of the mass grave of the Jewish victims © Aleksey Kasyanov – Yahad – In Unum

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Execution of the Bykhov Jews

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Anti-tank trench
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Eva K. recalls : “I saw two shootings in an anti-tank trench near Voronino. There were lots of shootings at this place. The victims were killed in groups, lined up at the edge of the grave. They were still dressed and they cried. It was cold, there was snow. The victims were brought in covered trucks. In the spring, when the snow melted, there were corpses that were uncovered from the grave. Later, I saw these corpses being buried in the earth before being burned. They were sprinkled with gasoline. Germans were on the site.” (Witness N°661, interviewed in Godyliovo, on June 25, 2013).

Soviet archives

« In September 1941, the Oberleutnant Mertus decided to gather 4679 Jews in a castle. After seven days in this place without food or water, they were taken by truck to the edge of the Dniepr and were shot in an anti-tank trench. The children under 10-12 years old weren’t shot, and instead the Germans threw them alive into the trench and buried them ». [Act drawn by the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, on December 1944, RG22.022M/7021-88/35].

German archives

“According to a German report from December 27, 1944, a shooting is mentioned in which around 4600 Jews were shot in September 1941” [Attorney’s report, Bykhov region of Mogilev, B162-7602, p.99].

Historical note

Bykhov is located 50 kilometers away from Mogilev. In 1925, there was a Jewish kolhoz which was established 4 kms from the village. There was also a synagogue and a Yiddish school, which closed in 1938. The German occupation began on July, 4, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The Jews of Bykhov were killed in two mass shootings in September and November of 1941. In September 1941, 252 Jews were shot by the SS. The execution site was located between the former hospital and the village of Bykhov in a site known as the Gankov ditch. The remaining Jews were killed in November 1941 by the SS in the neighboring village of Voronino. According to Eva K. (Witness N°661), one week before the shooting, the Jews were rounded up in a castle, without food or water. Then, they were brought by truck to an anti-tank ditch in Voronino. The victims were forced to undress and were then shot in lines at the edge of the ditch. The children weren’t shot. Instead, the Germans threw them alive in the ditch. According to the witness Yahad interviewed, in December 1943, the Germans exhumed the bodies and burned them.  According to the German and Soviet archives, there were 4600 Jews from Bykhov who were shot in Voronino.

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