Unecha | Bryansk

/ Lilia V., born in 1932, remembered that the Jews were confined in a restaurant.  One day, the Jews managed to escape because a few of the German guards were drunk and had fallen asleep. © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Linaida V, born in 1928, had to cover the mass grave of the Jewish victims and the Gypsies in Unecha. © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Nadezhda, born in 1930: "When I came to take a look at the pit there were a lot of children’s toys around. The pit was very large and long. According to rumors in the village, the communists were forced to dig the pit." © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Members of Yahad-In Unum during the interview.© David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum The monument to the Jewish Holocaust victims from Unecha and its surroundings, who were murdered by Nazis in 1941-1942 © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Unecha

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Near the railroad
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
342

Witness interview

Linaida V. recounted: “Suspected for having connections with the partisans, my mother, my sister and I were taken to the same building where the Jews were confined. It happened just after the shooting of the Jews. We thought that we would be also murdered. But the next day, women and girls of about 14 years old were taken to cover the mass grave of the Jews. They gave us a shovel. Once we got there, we saw a huge pit, about 5x4m, which was barely covered—we could see children’s hands. We heard moans. They were not screaming, but moaning. Probably, there were some people who were just wounded or even fell in alive. All around the perimeter, there were Germans and local police who watched us. We couldn’t do anything but cover the pit…” (Witness N°124, interviewed in Unecha, on November 3, 2010).

Soviet archives

“In October 1941, a Gestapo unit arrived in Unecha and installed themselves on Pervomayskaya Street. The Gestapo arrested local civilians who had done nothing criminal, put them in trucks and brought them to the railroad pump, where they were shot. 600 people were shot at that place. Aside from that, 342 Jews and Roma, including children and women, were also shot. [Act drawn up by Soviet Extraordinary Commission, on May 10, 1944, RG-22.002M, Reel 9(II)/7021-19/4].

Historical note

Unecha is located about 120km southwest of Bryansk. Prior to the war, about 12% of inhabitants were Jews. 1,708 Jews were living in Unecha. The majority of them lived off of trade. The Jewish children went to the same school as the Slavic children. The town was occupied by the German army in the middle of August 1941. A large number of Jews managed to flee to the east before the Germans’ arrival.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the German occupation, the Jews were distinguished and forbidden to leave the town. In October of 1941, all the Jews were confined to a closed ghetto, where they stayed till its liquidation in mid-March 1942. Due to harsh living conditions and hunger, many Jews died before the liquidation. During the liquidation, Aktion 342, it is thought that the Jews were exterminated by SD unit Sonderkomamndo 7a. According to Yahad’s research and archives, a group of Roma from another village were murdered alongside the Jews on this day.

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