Grigoropoliskaya | Stavropol

/ Ivan G., born in 1927, recounted how the execution happened and took our team to the exact location of the massacre. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum Liubov O., born in 1926, also directly witnessed the execution: ‘They grabbed the Jews, children and adults alike, by the hands and feet and threw them into the pit’. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum The Yahad team interviewing Ivan G. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum The place where the Jews were assembled before being taken to the execution site. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum Ivan G. showing the Yahad team where the execution took place. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum The forest at the execution site. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum The ravine where the execution took place. Today, it is full of garbage and litter. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Grigoropoliskaya

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
circa 150

Witness interview

Liubov O., born in 1926: “A day or two after they arrived, the Germans started to round up the Jews, but no one knew why. At night, they gathered all the Jews in the school building. The next morning some trucks arrived. We were still children, we were scared to get up close, so we hid and watched. We saw the Jews get into the trucks, adults and children, altogether. There was a construction site outside the village, a hospital was being built. All around this site there were fields and trees that we hid behind in order to see what was going to happen. The trucks parked next to a ravine and we saw men throw the Jews into it. Then two Germans standing at both sides of the ravine shot the Jews. They grabbed the Jews, children and adults alike, by the hands and feet and threw them into the pit, directly from the truck. They threw two or three people, the shooters shot them, and then they threw other people and so on.” [Witness YIU/290RU, interviewed in Grigoropolskaya, on April 9, 2012]

Soviet archives

“On October 12, 1942, more than 150 people, mainly Jews, were arrested in the village of Grigoropolisskaya, district of Novoaleksandrovskaya. By order of the village’s Kommandant, the policemen, lists in hand, proceeded with the arrests. All the people arrested (women, children, young girls and elderly people) were taken to the school n°22 and put in a small room. There, they were beaten with the butt of rifles, humiliated, abused. They were not allowed to go out, not even to relieve themselves.
On October 13, 1942, at dawn, the district’s chief of police, Piotr S., and the village’s Ottoman, B., arrived and checked all identity documents. Then all the Jews were loaded onto a truck and taken to the ravine located on the territory of the kolkhoz’s ‘Pravda’, near the hospital under construction. The traitors to the Motherland, dressed in German uniforms, threw the Jews into the ravine, and the German, sitting on the ravine’s slope, shot them with his machine gun. Newborns were ripped from their mother’s arms and thrown alive into the ravine.”[Act drawn up on June 24, 1943 – GARF 7021-17-11, pp. 235-236]

Historical note

Grigoropoliskaya is a village in Stavropol region, southwest Russia. It is located about 100 km (62 mi) away west of Stavropol. The village was founded in 1784 as part of the North Caucasus line of fortification. It was named after Grigorii Potemkin. Not much is known about the Jewish population of Grigoropolisskaya before the war. Witnesses Yahad interviewed recall the presence of a very small community. However, the vast majority of Jews present in Grigoropoliskaya when the Germans arrived were refugees.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Before the Germans occupied Grigoropolisskaya in October 1942, many Jewish refugees arrived in the town by train, fleeing the Germans’ eastern advance. According to a witness Yahad interviewed, they mostly came from Ukraine and Belarus. The Jewish refugees stayed with villagers who shared their houses with them. Some were also welcomed in the kolkhozes where they worked in exchange. The Germans took over Grigoropoliskaya in October 1942. A few days after they arrived, they went door to door to arrest all the Jews, men, women and children, and gathered them inside a school building. This happened at night according to some witnesses. The next day, some villagers were requisitioned by the starost to drive the Jews by cart to the execution site, a ravine at one of the kolkhozes. The Germans, in trucks, were at the front and back of the procession. At the ravine, the Jews were ordered to surrender all their belongings and valuables, jewels included. The Germans gathered them in a pile. The Nazis were brutal, ripping rings straight from fingers for example. The Jews were then divided into groups of 15-20 people and made to stand next to the pit to be shot. If the victims did not fall directly into the pit when shot, they were thrown into it. The children were not shot but poisoned in front of their parents. A German would go from child to child with a product and rub it under their nose, after which they would immediately collapse, dead. About 150 Jews were murdered in Grigoropoliskaya in October 1942. 

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