Korma | Gomel

/ On the road to Korma    © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum Another building where the Jews from Korma and the surrounding villages were gathered    © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum The school where the Jews of Korma were gathered    © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum Sofia D. remembers that a sale of Jews belongings was organized after the shooting    © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum Viktor P. remembers : « When the Jews were gathered in the ghetto, they were under guard of Germans with dogs. »  © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum Tatiana K. saw the shooting of the younger Jews: “The Jews were lined up at the edge of the pit and shot in the back. There were men, women and children among them." © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum The Yahad team during the interview of Sofia D.     © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum Sofia D. shows the Yahad team the location where the Jews from Korma were shot    © Sabine Mirlesse  - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Korma

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Trench dug in the ravine
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
About 700

Witness interview

Viktor P., born in 1928, remembers : “Germans, armed with machine-guns, who were stationed in Korma, chased away the Jews from their houses and brought them up to the school building. On the way, they were beating the Jews. They had dogs. It was summer; the weather was very beautiful, in 1941. The Jews were gathered at first in front of the school building, then pushed inside. On this day, the Jews had distinguishing signs, they were wearing yellow stars on the chest.” (Witness N°790, interviewed in Korma, on June 13 , 2014)

Soviet archives

"The innocent civilian population was interned in a camp installed in the stone building of the school and surrounded with barbed wire, people were imprisoned and subjected to cruel torture, to the blows, they were forced to carry out superhuman tasks. More than 700 Soviet citizens were interned in the camp and the prison, including women, the elderly and children. To exterminate the Jewish population, the German executioners had created a special cemetery in an anti-tank ditch 500m from Korma, where they carried out the mass shootings. Before bringing people to the cemetery to shoot them, we made them undress themselves, we tore out their gold teeth, we struck them with rubber bats, then we brought them, beaten, to the cemetery, we obliged them to dig their own grave and then we shot them. Between November 7-8, 1941, the mass shooting of civilians and the Jewish population of Korma was organized, supervised by the military governor Rosmeisel. The investigation established that at night, from November 7-8, more than 700 Jews from Korma were shot.” [Act of The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, drawn up on November 25, 1944, RG- 22.002M.7021-85/215]

Historical note

Korma is a city located about 110 km north of Gomel. The first mention of the Jewish community in Korma dates back to the 19th century. The majority of Jews lived off of craftsmanship and small trade. On the eve of the war, 981 Jews lived in Korma, making up 40% of the total population. There were 2 wooden synagogues, closed before the war, and Jewish schools.  Before the war, it was already a district center. The German occupation of Korma began on August 15, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

After the occupation of the town by German forces, many Jewish shops and private apartments were looted.

In September 1941, two closed ghettos were created. One was located on Chkolnaya Street, in the building of the Jewish school; the other on Abaturov Street, in the administrative buildings. In this second ghetto, there were mostly Jews gathered from neighborhood villages. The ghettos were under the guard of local police. While in the ghetto, the Jewish inmates were subjected to different kinds of forced labor.

The Jews were shot on November 8, 1941, 1km away from Korma, in a trench. According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews had to dig the pit themselves. It was stated that 68 Jews who were too elderly to walk were killed a few days before the liquidation of the ghetto, near the same place. In total, there were around 700 victims.

Jewish corpses were exhumed after the war and reburied in the Jewish cemetery.

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