2 Execution site(s)
Ivan F., born in 1929: “The Germans made the Jews get in the trucks near the orphanage building. I think they knew they were going to be shot. They only rounded up adults, Jews and POWs. Germans and policemen did it. The truck headed to the north of the kolkhoz and everything was made ready at the execution site, the Germans did not have to dig the grave. The Germans did not do anything themselves anyway, they always delegated. Local policemen carried out the Germans’ orders.” (Witness YIU/293R, interviewed in Mikhailovskaya, on April 6, 2012)
“The fourth grave was located west of the village of Mikhailovskaya, Kurgannaya district, south of the second section of sovkhoz Stalin: it was 1m long, 2,5m large and 2m deep, and was full up to the top with bodies. Bodies of children, women, teenagers and men were found in graves 2, 3 and 4. It was difficult to identify the bodies since they were so disfigured. Bullet wounds, broken bones and bruises could be seen. The majority of bodies were naked and when they were dressed, they only wore torn and bloodied underwear.” [Act drawn up on March 15, 1943, by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK); GARF 7021-16-463, p.16]
Mikhailovsakaya is a village in Kurganinsk district, Krasnodar region, southwest Russia. It is located about 125 km (77mi) east of the city of Krasnodar. Formerly named Staro-Mikhailovskaya, it was founded in 1845. Because the village was outside the Pale of Settlement at the time of the Russian Empire, there was no developed Jewish community in Mikhailovskaya, even after the Bolshevik revolution. Some villagers interviewed by Yahad - In Unum mentioned a small Jewish cemetery that was taken apart after the war, its stones used for construction work. As the war started between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941 however, many Jews fled eastwards and sought refuge in the Krasnodar region and in Mikhailovskaya.
The Germans occupied Mikhailovskaya in August 1942. They robbed the population of their goods and food and settled in the best houses. Very soon after their arrival, they set out to round up and execute all the Jews present in town. According to a witness interviewed by Yahad - In Unum, the Germans already had lists of people to execute, mainly communists.
Several shootings happened over the course of the German occupation. The Jews in Mikhailovskaya were all gathered in a building (an orphanage according to one witness, or a retirement home according to another) before being taken by truck to a field that belonged to the ‘Stalin’ kolkhoz and shot and buried there. Women, men and children alike were murdered. Some children might have been killed separately, poisoned, and buried in a mass grave near the Jewish cemetery.
A witness interviewed by Yahad - In Unum remembered seeing a dog dig up these children’s bodies the day after the shooting. Some Jews were also shot and buried in a mass grave behind a school building. Jews imprisoned in neighbouring Kurganinsk were taken to one of the kolkhozes in Mikhailovskaya and shot there. It is unclear whether the Jews taken in Kurganinsk were killed and buried at the same time and place as the ones in Mikhailovskaya.
Communists were also shot, notably members of the selsoviet like its head and secretary. They were shot in a field. The Red Army liberated Mikhailovskaya at the end of January 1943. The exact number of victims during the occupation is unknown, but it is around 100 people, mostly Jews and several communists.
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