Surazh | Vitebsk

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Execution of Jews in Surazh

2 Execution site(s)

Investigated by Yahad :
2011
Kind of place before :
Pits in the linen factory
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
600

Witness interview

Grigori S. : "In 1941, the Germans were approaching Surazh. All the members of my family hid in a trench that we had dug in the back of the garden. The Germans then thought that everyone in the neighborhood was a Russian soldier, so they shot all the villagers along with the Jews. They shot my mother, as she was close to this trench… I only left my hiding place after one week." (Witness N°513 interviewed in June 2011)

Soviet archives

"On August 12 1941, in the square beside the print shop in the city of Surazh, around 2-3 PM, the representatives of the German authority assembled the whole population of the town. The Jewish population of over 600 people, including women, children, and the elderly people, were separated and their names put on a list." [Act of the Soviet Extraodinary Commission, RG-22.002M/7021-84/13]

German archives

"During the time that it was based in Vitebsk, the EK9 had troops in Polotsk, Lepel, Nevel, Surazh and Gorodok." [Prosecutor’s report on Vitebsk’s region, B162-2400]

Historical note

Surazh is a small city 30 kilometers east of Vitebsk, on the Dvina river. In the town of Surazh, there were 461 Jews in 1939 (15.4 % of the total population). In 1917, there were 6 synagogues. All of them were wooden, except one made out of stone. The village was under German occupation from 1941 to 1943.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Einsatzkommando 9 carried out the murder of the Jews of Surazh  in conjunction with an antipartisan operation. On August 12, 1941, between 600 and 750 Jews were gathered by the Germans on the location of the former printing office in Sourazh. Then, they were taken and shot behind the linen factory, 2 km away from the village, in pits of the ravine, known as Loubtchyno. The bodies of the victims were exhumed and reburied after the war in the Jewish cemetery.

According to eyewitness Guenadi V., interviewed during Yahad’s research trip, individual shootings of Jews and mass shootings of partisans also took place on the border of the village, in a swampy ravine, which had been created during the war from bombings. Thanks to the help of the witness, it was possible to find the exact location.

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