2 Execution site(s)
Rosa L., born in 1926: “Among the Jews there was a very good doctor. The Germans wanted to spare him to make him work for them. But as his family was also in the column he preferred to be killed with them. He embraced his wife and children at the edge of the pit and they were all shot.” (Witness n°948, interviewed in Cherven on August 10, 2017)
“[...] On February 1, 1942, at around 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, the ghetto on Griadka Street in Cherven was surrounded by Germans and police officers so that no one could escape. At that time, I personally saw how R., Y. and S. arrived on horses harnessed to a cart loaded with ammunition and shovels prepared for the shooting of the Jews. All the local policemen participated in the shooting of the Jews, and especially R., S. and others. First, the pits were dug. Then, the Jews were brought in groups of 30-40 people to the grave, forced to undress to their underwear and shot. [...] I don’t know how many people were shot in total in Cherven. But I know that the day of execution there were about 1,400 Jews. They were shot in a locality called “Glinishche” [“glina” = clay; probably the site of a clay quarry] located on the way to the village of Zametovka. [...]” [Deposition of Zinaida S., born in 1912, given to the State extraordinary commission (ChGK); RG 22.002M:7021-87-17]
Cherven is located 66 km east of Minsk. The first written records about the city date back to 1387. Until 1923 it was called Igumen. Jews started to settle in the city in the end of the 18th century and according to the census in 1897 they numbered 2,817 people, comprising 63% of the total population. At that time the Jews lived off small-scale trade and clothing manufacture. In 1899 the city burned down. At the beginning of the 20th century two tanneries, a four-class city school, and a hospital were opened in Cherven. Under Soviet rule the Jews were engaged in agriculture, working in nearby kolkhozes. In the 1920s-1930s a Yiddish school operated in Cherven. By 1939 the number of Jewish inhabitants had decreased to 1,491 people, comprising 23% of total population. Cherven was occupied by German troops on July 2, 1941.
From the beginning of the occupation the Jews continued to live in their homes until late autumn 1941, when a ghetto was created. All the Jews from the town as well as the nearby villages had to move into the ghetto located on Griadka street. The fist Aktion was conducted sometime before the creation of the ghetto or shortly after, but, unfortunately, Yahad was not able to identify the exact date. During this execution about 1,750 Jews were murdered at the Jewsih cemetery. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on February 2, 1942 and was carried out by Germans assisted by local police. Before the execution all the victims were forced to undress down to their underwear and lie down inside the pit. Besides the Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, partisans and civilians were murdered in Cherven from 1941 to 1944.
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