Krivichi (Krzywicze) | Minsk

Execution of Jews in Krivichi

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Barn in the field
Memorials :
Period of occupation:
Number of victims :
Over 350

Witness interview

Konstantin T., born in 1927, remembered: “The rest of the Jews, about two or three families, were assembled in two Jewish houses on the Proletarskaya street and forced to do farming work. They were not guarded. Once a cart with Germans passed by. They stopped and threw a grenade inside one of the buildings with Jews. Before that, they took an old Jewish woman inside the house. Nobody in the house survived the explosion. One German entered the house to check for survivors, and then they all left. I saw that from a distance of 100-200 meters. The Germans came from Vileyka; they wore light military uniforms. Only old Jews were at home at that moment, others were working. The bodies of the victims were buried in the Jewish cemetery. The rest of the Jews left the village after this accident. About four of them came back after the war.” (Testimony n°906, interviewed in Krivichi, on May 23, 2016)

Soviet archives

“On April 20, 1942 the German Gestapo arrived from Vileyka and gathered the whole Jewish population of Krivichi in a barn. From there they were taken one by one to the place, located 50 meters from the barn and forced to undress. When 5 Jews were undressed, they were escorted to the barn and 2 German officers shot them. They shot 120 people. Afterwards, when they were tired of shooting, they forced the remaining Jews, about 80 people, to enter to the barn and set it on fire. Sonia Davidova, 9 years old, tried to get out from the house but she was thrown in the flames.
40 Jews managed to hide the day of the shooting but they were found later, gathered in the house where some Jews were stabbed to death. After, a grenade was thrown inside of the house”. [Act drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission after the war; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 83, Delo 7]

Historical note

Krivichi is located about 109 km north of Minsk on the banks of the Servach River. In 1897 there were 457 Jews in the village. Due to relocation of the Jewish population, it dropped significantly. In 1921, there were only 178 Jews living in the town. In 1920-1930 some Jewish organizations operated in the town. There was a two-storied synagogue located in the center of the village and a Jewish cemetery which still remains today. The Jews were religious and respected Shabbat. Jews spoke their own language between them, but at school they studied in Polish together with the other children. On the eve of the war there were about 400 Jews in Krivichi. The Germans occupied the village in early July 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the Germans’ occupation a Judenrat and local police was created. All Jews were registered and marked with yellow patches in form of the Star of David. They were subjected to perform different kinds of forced labor.  In the beginning, Jews lived in their own houses, the synagogue was open, but they stopped their commerce.

The first anti-Jewish Aktion was carried out on April 28 1942 by the Germans who came from Vileyka, Dolginovo and were helped by local police. The Jews were taken on foot to the place behind the old school where a big unfinished threshing floor owned by a local resident and a barn were located.  Thanks to the local eyewitness Yahad could get more information about how the execution was conducted. According to the witness, at the place, the victims were forced to undress down to their underwear inside the log house. Then they were forced to run to the barn and shot once they reached the middle of the barn. The distance between the log house and the barn was about 25 meters. When the execution was over, the Germans locked the barn and left. Once the Germans left after the execution, local people rushed to search for clothes, while wounded Jews tried to come out of the barn. But after 15 minutes, the Germans returned in two, three or four trucks, loaded the clothes and belongings on them, and set the barn on fire. The Germans left and didn’t wait until the barn burned down. About 130 Jews were shot during this Aktion and over 80 were burned alive in the barn. Some specialists with their families evaded the shooting.

The rest of the Jews, about two or three families (up to 200 Jews, according other sources), were assembled in two Jewish houses on Proletarskaya street and forced to do farm work. They were not guarded. According to the witness, in September 1942, the elder Jews who were staying at home while the younger Jews worked were blown up with a grenade. The bodies of the victims were buried in the Jewish cemetery. Only four Jews returned to the town after the war. 

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