Krasnoluki | Vitebsk

/ Surviving tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Krasnoluki. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum Surviving tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Krasnoluki. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum Valentina K., born in 1930 : “Zina worked in the shop. She had a daughter. Her father was Russian, a pharmacist. Zina wanted to give her daughter to somebody, anyone who could save her. But nobody took her. So, the girl went to the pit with her mother.”©J The Yahad team at the former Jewish cemetery. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The Yahad team with a witness at her house. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The execution site of 276 Jews murdered in March 1942. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The execution site of 276 Jews murdered in March 1942. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum The street where the Jews were gathered. They lived here before being murdered in March 1942. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Krasnoluki

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Clay quarry
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Valentina K., born in 1930: “Y.U.: Who did the shops belong to?
Witness: The Jews worked at the shops. I remember, we used to go to the shops to buy stuff. We studied with their children. I still remember the surnames.
Y.U.: Can you tell us the surnames?
Witness: Yes, I can. There was Aron, Farman, Dodin, Shapirov, Khoteikin. We studied together, during Easter we went together for matzo. They lived better than we did. And they always helped us. But when the war began their lives changed, and they came to us to ask for food. We had a little and tried to share with them. We gave them potatoes. All our cows and pigs were taken. We had nothing. Only the potatoes.” (Witness n°1024B, interviewed in Krasnoluki, on October 8, 2019)

Soviet archives

"Question: What do you know about the shooting of the Jewish population by the Germans in Krasnoluki?
Answer: During the first days of March 1942, a German punitive detachment arrived to Krasnoluki. I didn’t know exactly how many of them there were, or who was leading them. They put guards all around the village and began to round up all the Jews, including the elderly and children. Before that, the police chief, Kolos, (I don’t know his first name or surname; I don’t know where he is now either) forced us to remove the snow from the pit from which they had previously extracted clay for the brickworks. After gathering the entire Jewish population [276 people], they were taken to the place we had cleared out.
Sometime later, we were gathered again (more than 10 people) and taken to the place where the Jews had been taken. On the way we saw the bodies of the Jews shot by the Germans because they could not walk. One woman was shot directly on the street, because she was not able to walk by herself at all. The policemen who accompanied us picked up the bodies of the Jews lying on the ground and carried them to the pit from which we had removed the snow in the morning. There, a big number of the shot Jews died.
They were shot by the Germans, but I did not see it with my own eyes. We were brought there in the evening when the Germans had already left. We covered the bodies with snow. Inhabitants of the villages of Z[illegible] and Garavka covered them with earth in the spring.”
[Deposition of a local man Aleksandr K., born in 1903, given to the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on October 14, 1944; GARF: Fond 7021, opis 87, delo 16]

Historical note

Krasnoluki is a village located 107vkm (66mi) north northeast of Minsk. Little is known about the prewar Jewish community. From field research results we know that many Jews lived in the center and owned shops. Some Jews worked as tailors, carpenters, and shoemakers. The community had a cemetery and a prayer house, which no longer exists. It is estimated that on the eve of the war, circa. 300 Jews lived in Krasnoluki.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Krasnoluki was occupied by German forces in early July 1941. In late August or early autumn an opened ghetto was established. All the Jews had to move onto one street, today called Nizhnyava, which leads to the river. The ghetto was not fenced or guarded, and the Jews could freely circulate in the village. Some of them were subjected to agricultural labor, like harvesting and planting potatoes. On March 6, 1942, German security forces unit gathered all the Jews, 276 people according to the Soviet archives, composed mainly of women, children, and the elderly. They were escorted to a clay quarry, located about 1 km (0.6 mile) outside of town, where they were shot. 

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