Krasnoye (Krasnae , Krasnei) | Minsk

The view of the market square, 1902 © Taken from www.gazetaby.com The Katz family from Krasnoye © Taken from eilatgordinlevitan.com / The local railroad © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum A couple of destroyed tombstones which remain from the Jewish cemetery formerly located at this place.  © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Before the war a Jewish family lived in this house © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Rostislav K., born in 1930: “Some Jews were hiding in the caves and escaping through the tunnels. Some of them joined the partisans.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Anna B., 1930: “The Germans decided to spare two doctors, but not their daughter Lilechka. She tried to escape from the column but she was struck down to the ground by a dog.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The ‘klub’ was located at this site. It was a one level building, used as a ghetto. It doesn’t exist anymore. A new building stands at this site today.  © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum This street was part of the ghetto. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview near the execution site. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum A local woman shows us the street where she saw the column being  marched to the execution site.© Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum By this road the Jews were taken from the ghetto to the shooting site. Back then it was a narrow path. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The witness shows us the execution site located in a small field between the houses. Once at the site the victims were forced to undress and were shot in the barn that was set on fire after the shooting.  © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Krasnoye

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
A barn in the field
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
Between 1,400 and 2,340

Witness interview

Anna B., born in 1930, says: “Our family saved a Jewish woman Anna Moiseievna and her daughter Irochka. They arrived to our village from Minsk. Anna had a Tartar passport and was doing some agricultural work for the Germans for a while, and I took care of Irochka; we shared my food and I spent all my time with her. When Germans understood that they were Jews and decided to kill them my father said they should go to the forest under the pretext of gathering berries. There, my brother waited for them with a cart. He took them to the partisans’ unit. But the partisans didn’t accept the baby so Anna had to leave her daughter with a Belarusian family and she stayed with the partisans. They survived the war, came back to us after it and then moved to Minsk first and later to the United States. ” (Witness n°932, interviewed in Krasnoye on August 2, 2017)

Soviet archives

“In March the German soldiers and doctors arrived in Krasnoye from Vileyka. They ordered the local German authorities to gather all the Jews. Once rounded-up, they were lined in columns and brought to the building of the former forest district. The soldiers encircled the building. Once inside, the Jews had to undress until the underwear. Then, they were brought to the barn surrounded by the Gestapo soldiers. The machine guns had been installed in front of the building. Then the soldiers were ordered to fire. The Jews who were still alive had to crawl over the dead ones and then they were shot in their turn. The barn with the bodies was burned. That day 2340 people were killed.” [Act drawn up byt the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) after the liberation; RG22.002M: 7021-83-14, p.327]

German archives

“Several hundred Jews from Krasnoye and nearby localities were confined into the Krasnoye ghetto. [...] As far as I remember, the ghetto was guarded by the Wehrmacht soldiers. A Jew, called O., prepared a group for manual labor on the evening before, and the members of my unit arrived in the morning to pick them up and to bring them back in the evening.
At our place, the Jews were assigned to clean, maintain and load weapons and machines. We were very satisfied with the work of our Jewish workers [...].
At the end of March 1943 or 1944 in the morning, I learned that some soldiers were assigned to block and survey the territory during the shooting of Jews in the ghetto. The shooting took place behind the ghetto, on the edge of the Krasnoye village. The liquidation lasted until early afternoon. It was conducted by the SD commando, composed of Latvians, among others. To get an idea of what was going on, I went to the execution site myself. I stayed there for ten minutes. When I arrived, a group of Jews - men, women and children - were on the site, about thirty meters from a barn. They were almost naked. I heard shots in the barn. The Jews were taken in groups of three-four people to the barn and shot as soon as they arrived. [...] The corpses were burned in the barn at the end of the execution.” [Deposition of Georg B., a Heeresfeldzeugpark soldier, born in 1914, drawn up on December 19, 1961 in Wiesbaden; B162-1294, p. 2]

Historical note

Krasnoye is located 50 km north-west of Minsk. The first written records about the settlement date back to the second half of the 15th century. After the Second partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1793 it became a part of the Russian empire. According to the census of 1897 1,019 people lived in Krasnoye.  The majority of Jews were engaged in small-scale trade and handcraft. There were 22 shops owned by Jews and 8 taverns. According to the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, Krasnoye became a part of the interwar Polish Republic. In 1939 it fell under control of the USSR. Krasnoye was occupied by the German forces on June 25, 1941. About 350 Jews inhabited the village at that time.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish measures were implemented soon after the occupation. All the Jews were marked with yellow stars of David and required to perform heavy labor. The German administration created the Judenrat in order to control the Jewish population, who were forbidden to leave the village. The local policemen systematically beat Jews and confiscated their property.  In the late summer-early autumn a ghetto was created on the Naberezhnaya, Rodoshkovskaya and 17 Sentiabria streets. It was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by the Germans. Due to the harsh winter of 1941-1942 and terrible living conditions many Jewish inmates died in the ghetto of hunger and diseases. In Spring 1942 all the Jews fit to work including those who were brought from the liquidated ghetto in the Molodechno and Lida districts were subjected to perform the manual work at the created repair workshop for the Wehrmacht artillery and ground forces, known as Heeresfeldzeugpark. In addition, on August 19, 1942 about 700 Jewish workers were brought to Krasnoye from Baranovichi. At all about 2, 850 Jews were confined into the ghetto by spring 1943. According to the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad there were two ghettos, we believe that the second one were the barracks constructed near the repair workshop where a part of Jews fit to work were detained.  The ghettos were liquidated during the Aktion conducted on March, 19, 1943 when all the Jews were rounded up and gathered at the synagogue. Then, they were taken to the barn located on the banks of the Usha river. There they had to undress and were shot inside the barn. Those who tried to escape were shot on the spot. Later their bodies were put on the pile and burnt inside the barn. Some victims were burnt alive. According to the Soviet State extraordinary commission 2,340 Jews were killed during this Aktion, including 349 Jews from Krasne. About a hundred of Jewish inmates managed to escape to the forest and joined the partisans.

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