1 Execution site(s)
Lidia M. recalls: “People were marching in droves. There were women, disabled persons, civilians and prisoners of war from Kerch and Feodosiya. Gendarmes with dogs escorted the column. The column was marched on Kirov and Oktyabrskaya streets heading to the anti-tank trenches where the victims were shot. I heard a machine gun fire at about 2 pm. It lasted until late evening. After the execution, the pits were filled in.” (Witness N°1672, interviewed in Dzhankoy, on May 11, 2013).
“In early February 1942, I witnessed a terrible execution of Soviet citizens. At 10 am, the anti-tank trench and adjacent roads were encircled by German soldiers. One hour later a group of about one thousand people escorted by the Germans appeared on the road. There were women with newborns, elder people, young girls, elder women. I was near my house and saw with my own eyes a German officer gathering people in groups of 10-15 and giving them order to undress. The people undressed and left their clothes on a pile. Then, they were ordered to lie inside the pit facing the ground. They tore their hair out begging for mercy, but the Germans, like ferocious beasts, kicked them into the pit. Then, I heard a rattle of submachine guns, the groaning of wounded people, and the order of a German officer: “Next group to the pit!” The shooting lasted for four hours until 3 pm. When the trench was completely filled with the bodies of those who had been shot, the Germans loaded all the belongings onto four trucks and drove to the town, leaving the guards behind. Shortly after the departure of the Germans groups the prisoners of war arrived, guarded by Tartar volunteers, and started to cover the trench.” [Deposition of Dmitri P., Dzhankoy inhabitant, given to the Soviet Extraordinary commission on 8 October, 1944; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021-9-193]
“I remember that once about 100 men, women, and children were taken out of their homes and shot at the natural depression outside the city. As far as I remember, the victims did not have to take off their clothes. I also do not remember their handing over their valuables. During this aktion I forced the victims out of their apartments and led them to the execution site. The victims were shot there in groups of about tens. The execution commando consisted, as far as I remember, of members of the urban police, Schutzpolizei and of Waffen-SS members. As far as I remember, any shooter who did not wound his victim fatally had to shoot again, on his own. I remember another shooting of a smaller number of victims. They consisted only of adults, who were shot at the same place while being completely dressed. Another five or six executions were carried out in the same way in or around Dzhankoy, each with a different number of victims.” [Interrogation of Oskar R., former member of the Sonderkommando 10b, made on April 17, 1693; Central Office for the Prosecution of National Socialist Crimes: ZStL, 213 AR1899/66]
Dzhankoy is a town located 90 km northeast of Simferopol. The first records about the Jews go back to the 19th century. According to the 1897 census, there were 109 Jews in Dzhankoy making up 11% of the total population. In 1917 different braches of Zionist organization operated in the town. On the eve of the German occupation, the Jewish community numbered 1,397. According to Yahad’s witnesses, the Krymchaks and Crimean Karaites also inhabited the town. However, the majority of Jews managed to evacuate before the Germans arrival.
Dzhankoy was occupied by Germans on October 31, 1941. A Security Police post was created in the fall of 1942, as well as four Gendarmerie posts. Shortly after the Germans arrival all the Jews were ordered to wear a white armband bearing Star of David. On November 7, 1941, after an announcement, all the Jews had to gather in the center from where they were taken to the ghetto. According to a local witness interviewed by Yahad, the ghetto was located on the territory of a vet clinic, on the Tolstoy street. Another ghetto, which served more as a labor camp, was created in the mid of December and was located in the premises of a local dairy. The Jews inmates who remained in this ghetto were subjected to perform different kind of forced labor, for instance road construction and farm work. They were guarded by a Tatar police, created in Dzhankoy out of volunteers upon the German arrival. According to the sources about 700 Jews, including those who were brought from the Jewish colonies located in the are, were confined in the ghetto or labor camp. Many inmates died of hunger and diseases.
The first execution was conducted on December 30, 1941, by Sonderkommando 10b assisted by Tatar police. On this day 443 Jews were taken to the anti-tank ditches located on the corner of Kirov and Oktyabrskaya sreets, outside of Dzhankoy. According to an eyewitness, the victims were taken in small groups to the trench, ordered to undress made to lie face-down in the trench and, then, they were shot. The same witness claim that some Jews were killed in gas vans, as he saw the vans coming inside the vet clinic’s territory. Some Jews who escaped this massacre, along with Jews who had been brought over Dzhankoy from other places in Crimea, were murdered in the town and the vicinity during 1942. Thus, in January or February 1942 450 Krymchaks were murdered. The third mass execution occurred in March 1942, during which 241 Jews were murdered. Besides the Jews about 150-200 Gypsies were gassed in gas vans and buried along with Jewish victims. A big camp of prisoners of war was as well created in the town. Those prisoners who didn’t die from hunger or bad living conditions were murdered in the anti-tank ditches during 1941-1942.
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