1 Execution site(s)
Nikolay D., born in 1930, remembered: “All the Jews were gathered on one street where they lived for a couple of months. They had yellow circles on their backs to mark that they were Jews. I am not sure that children had that as well, but I remember seeing such signs on the adults. After a while the pits were dug. As far as I heard, they were Jews themselves who dug them. Once the pits were ready, the Jews were shot. I didn’t see the shooting myself, but I could hear the submachine gunshots and childrens’ screams. (Testimony N°665, interviewed in Krucha, on July 11, 2013).
Krucha is located about 64 km northwest of Mogilev. The first record of a Jewish community goes back to the early 19th century. In 1841, there were 123 Jews and by 1908 the numbers increased to 805. The majority of Jews were artisans or lived off of agriculture. There were also those who were engaged in small trade; there were 13 shops owned by Jews. There was a synagogue, a cheder, and a Jewish cemetery. According to the census in 1920, about 300 Jews lived in the village, comprising 50 percent of the total population. However, due to relocation in the 1930’s, the Jewish population decreased. The village was occupied by Germans on July 8, 1941. Before the German arrival, a number of Jews managed to leave Krucha, leaving approximately 120 Jews behind.
Shortly after the German arrival, all Jews were marked. Three months later, in late September or early October 1941, an opened ghetto was established, but it did not exist for long time. The liquidation of the ghetto was conducted on October 10, 1941 by the Wehrmacht soldiers with the help of local police. On this day, 114 Jews were shot. According to the local witness, the Jews were not taken directly from the ghetto. The day of the shooting the Jews were rounded up on the edge of the village in a clay quarry, before that the Germans searched their houses and guarded them while on the way to the gathering place. There were women, men and children among the victims. Then they took one Jewish family after another toward the forest. On the clearing there were two pits dug in advance by requisitioned locals. The Jews were forced to undress and shot in these pits.
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