Svyatsk (this village doesn’t exist anymore) | Bryansk

The Uspenskaya Church in Svyatsk, which was partially destroyed during the war ©Public domain  Wikipedia The ruins of the Uspenskaya church in Svyatsk © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum / There is only a road sign and some destroyed houses that remains of the village of Svyatk © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Previously, the village was a home for Old Belivers and Jews. Svyatsk was abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Valentina Zh., born in 1930: “Jewish women were badly treated by the Germans. In order to humiliate them, the Germans made them wear notices around their necks with the inscription « Juden kaput ».”© Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Valentina Zh., born in 1930. "Jewish women undressing and getting in a line to be shot. If they didn’t fall down into the pit, someone kicked the bodies to push them inside the pit. © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Olga U., born in 1929, pointing to the place where the Jewish women and children were shot by Germans in January 1942. © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team with a witness during an interview near the execution site of Jews © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum Execution site of Jewish victims © Jordi Lagoutte - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Svyatsk

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1943

Witness interview

Valentina Zh., born in 1930, recalled: “When the Jews were taken to be shot, my grandfather was forced to watch the houses of our neighbors. Not willing to do it, he placed locks on the doors, without actually closing them. Afterwards, under the Germans’ orders, the local police entered the Jews’ houses and threw all the belongings outside so that the local people could take what they wanted. The same day, after the execution, the Germans organized a party in the village. During the celebration, they played the harmonica, sang songs and danced with young local girls.” (Eyewitness n°507, interviewed in Novozybkov, on May 23, 2015)

Soviet archives

"On October 02, 1945, and January 25, 1942, the inhabitants of the village of Svyatsk were brutally massacred by the Germans. The Germans shot and tortured to death 149 people. On January 22, 1942, a punitive detachment arrived and, after gathering all the Jews in the garden of the local administration building, brutally massacred them. All those who have were caught, 116 in total, were forced to undress completely. After being forced to stay outside at -37°, they were shot in the nape of the neck." [Act of Soviet Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on October 22, 1945, RG-22.002M.7021- 85/4]

Historical note

Svyatsk, which no longer exists, is situated about 40 km from Novozybkov. The village used to be a home for Old Believers and Jews. The Svyatsk Jews lived off of trade and artisanship. They were religious and observed the Sabbath. There was a wooden synagogue in the village but no cemetery. The village was occupied by German forces in mid-August 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the first Aktion took place in September 1941.  During this Aktion, Jewish men along with 3 Russian communists were shot near the brick factory. The remaining Svyatsk Jews were executed during the second Aktion, which took place in January 1942. During this Aktion, conducted by a particularly chosen punitive unit, 116 Jews were gathered and taken in sleds to the execution site, situated in the forest. In all, during the occupation period, 149 people were executed. The executions were carried out by a German punitive detachment, accompanied by the local police.

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