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1 Execution site(s)
Volodymyr K., born in 193, remembers: “At the end, they almost didn’t shoot people there. They brought them, already suffocated from gas in special trucks, from Novgorod and they threw the bodies in the ditch.
YIU: Where were the Jews from? Were they from Novgorod?
W: Yes. Beforehand, all the Jews from the district and town were gathered, on Kavaleriskaya Street. And then, at a certain point, they were taken here and shot. When we heard the shots, we got closer to watch. Many Jews were waiting not far from the anti-tank trench. They took them in groups of 10 people, men, women, children, lined them up at the edge of the trench and shot them with a sub-machine gun." (Testimony n°1984, interviewed in Otroushky, on November 28, 2015)
“On November 07, 1941, the whole Jewish population of Novgorod Siverkiy was gathered by the SS soldiers on the site close to the former kindergarten. Once gathered, they were marched by Germans to another bank of the Desna River, where they were shot in the antitank ditches. The shooting was ordered by police chief V., burgomaster K., and German commandant P. More than 160 Jews, including women, men and children were shot.”
[Deposition of witness L., taken by the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, July 12, 1944; RG.002M: Fond 7021, Opis 78, Delo 22, p.33]
Ostroushky is located 7km away from Novgorod Siverskiy. According to the witness, there was only one Jewish family living in Ostrousky, but they evacuated before the Germans’ arrival. The majority of Jews lived in the nearby town. Novgorod Siverskiy is located on the banks of the Disna River, 170km northeast of Chernigiv. During the course of its history, Novgorod Siverskyi was under Lithunauin, Polish and Russian administrations, which contributed to its rich history and heritage. The first Jewish community numbered 10 families and was recorded at the beginning of the 17th century. The Jews suffered several waves of pogroms in 1648, 1905 and 1918-1920. Due to the pogroms, the Jewish population dramatically decreased from 4,386 in 1910 to 2,089 in 1926. In the beginning of the 20th century, there were several synagogues, two cemeteries and a Jewish secondary school. As in all of Eastern Europe, the majority of Jews made a living off of small trade, including owning their own stores, which were nationalized under the Soviet administration. Other Jews worked as artisans. The town was occupied by the Germans on August 26, 1941. The majority of local Jews had managed to evacuate by that time.
Immediately after the Germans’ arrival, the remaining Jews were ordered to register and forced to wear armbands bearing the Star of David. The Jews were able to continue living in their houses till early November. On November 7, all the Jews were gathered at the central square and taken in the direction of the village of Ostroushky, on another bank of the Disna River, where they were killed. According to the witness interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were shot in small groups of 5-10 people. The shooter fired with a machine gun placed on a tripod. According to the historical sources, the shooting was conducted by the first mechanized infantry brigade of the SS, aided by the Ukrainian police. The remaining 50 Jews who had managed to hide were killed on the following days on site. In addition to the Jews, local Gypsies were also murdered in Ostroushky.
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