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Vladimir I.: "When I wanted to approach to look at the bottom of the mine shaft where were thrown the Jews, a German wanted to catch me to throw myself to it, but I managed to escape." (Witness N°1607, interviewed in October, 2012)
"One day, in winter 1942, a driver being a member of the commando squad 1 told me some anecdotes which occurred in mine 4.4. Among others, once, there was a woman accompanied with a young woman. When the order to undress was given, the young woman caught the translator who was held near the pit and tried to throw him in the shaft. SS who were there saved Schneider and threw the woman still dressed in the shaft. The mother jumped directly into the shaft." [KGB interrogation of Valentin J, German collaborator, in January, 1944, B162-20218]
This major town was founded at the beginning of the 19th century by an English business man, and became the most important coal mining and industrial centres of the Donbass Basin. Before the war, the city had 400,000 inhabitants. The Jewish population comprised 5% of the total population but Jews were mostly Soviet and assimilated. The city was under German occupation from 1941 to 1944.
Many Jews managed to escape the city before the arrival of the Germans. Nevertheless, a ghetto was set up in the territory of a chalk mine, to confine 5,000 Jews. The ghetto was liquidated on April 30th, 1942. The Jews were shot or loaded in gas trucks, then taken towards the well of the coal mine 4-4 bis, where they were thrown in. In this well, there were also thousands of other victims killed, in particular, prisoners of war.
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