Kalinkovichi (Kalinkowitschi) | Gomel

/ Here was the synagogue of Kalinkovichi. The buidling wans’t preserved © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The building where the Gestapo of Kalinkovichi was  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The place where the Jews from Kalinkovichi were gathered before the shooting    © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Maria K. remembers that her father was very angry because she went to see the shooting of the Jews    © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Maria K. drawing the scene of the shooting of the Jews    © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad team with the witness    © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The mass shooting place of the Kalinkovichi Jews    © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Kalinkovichi

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Trench near the railway line
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
Between 600 and 720

Witness interview

Maria K., born in 1927, remembers : «Trucks approached the trench along the railroad and the policemen got in the trucks to round up the Jews. Then, they pushed the Jews into small groups towards the trench before shooting them. The policemen fired at the Jews from about twenty meters away. There were men, women and children among the victims. When Jews were shot down a little further from the pit, their bodies were then brought to the pit by the policemen. Trucks made trips there and back towards the city center to bring the Jews. I do not remember having seen Germans. » (Eyewitness N°842, interviewed in Kalinkovichi, on September 20, 2014).

Soviet archives

« On September 20, 1941, the German command stuck posters in the city ordering the Jewish population to move to Datchnaya Street, which was appointed for the Jews. As soon as the Jewish population moved into this street, a second order was posted there, ordering the entire Jewish population, from elderly men to babies, to appear at the Kalinkovichi station, for a meeting, where questions to improve their material situation were to be discussed. The entire population had to get dressed with clean and good quality clothes. The gathered people were surrounded by German soldiers armed with machine-guns and locked into camps surrounded with barbed wires. [Act of The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M. 7021-91-15-]

Historical note

Kalinkovichi is a city situated 120 km west of Gomel. It’s an important railway junction. Before the war a significant part of the population was Jewish, 3,386 out of 9,799 were Jews. There was a Yiddish school and a synagogue. A well-known Yiddish author, Solomon Simon, who emigrated to New York City in 1913 was a native of this village. The city was occupied by German forces in late August 1941, but before their arrival, a part of the Jewish population managed to evacuate the city by train.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

As there are very few historical documents regarding the fate of the Jews in Kalinkovichi, the Yahad ground investigation was more than necessary to understand the main steps of their fate during German occupation.  

On September 20, 1941, all the Jews were ordered to move to  Datchnaya Street. The Jews were shot by the local policemen and German gendarmes in a trench next to the grade crossing of the Dudichi quarter in the north of the city. According to the eyewitness interviewed by Yahad, the Jews arrived there in covered trucks. The trench was approximately 2m in depth and very long. After the shooting, the policemen filled the pit and left on trucks.

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