1 Execution site(s)
Valentina M., born in 1936, remembered: “The Jewish refugees had passed through our settlement the day before the Germans arrived. They stayed here over a night. In the morning they went through a mountain pass towards the sea coast and in the evening the Germans arrived. Somebody denounced the Jews. The part of the Germans stayed in the settlement in order to execute the man who had tried to evacuate the villagers and another part went after the Jews. Once they found them, they killed them on the spot. The Jews had nowhere to hide. They were on the mountain pass; there was the river on one side and the mountain on another. So the Germans caught them and shot one by one. We don’t know what exactly happened there. But the fact is that we saw their corpses flowing down the river Zelenchuk. ”(Testimony n°709 interviewed in Kurdzhinovo on May 17th, 2017)
Arkhyz is situated in the valley of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River 115 km south-west of Cherkessk, the largest city of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. The modern village was founded in 1923 near the confluence of the Arkhyz and Pshish rivers. According to the local woman, interviewed by Yahad-In Unum’s team, the villagers lived off logging. There was a bakery, a kindergarten, a shop and a Klub, but there was no school. The villagers slept and lived in barracks. The settlement was populated only by the Russians and one Karachay family. However, in the wake of the German invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941, the area came to house a large number of civilian refugees, including many Jews from other areas of Soviet Russia, Ukraine, Bessarabia (present-day Moldova), and Belarus.
Arkhyz was occupied by the German forces in the early August of 1942. With the help of the local residents Yahad’s team was able to identify the execution site of about 20 Jewish refugees. The Jews were shot in early August, on the same day of the Germans’ arrival, on the mountain pass close to the settlement. According to the witness the Jewish refugees were shot dead and their corpses were thrown into the Zelenchuk River. Unfortunately, Yahad couldn’t find out if the corpses were buried at the end.
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