4 Execution site(s)
Natalia V., born in 1926, recalls: “Some civilians were shot in the forest. I saw a covered truck coming to the forest while I was working in a field. It was summertime. Once on the site, the Jews were told to get off and lined up in groups of 10 to 15 at the edge of the pit. Then, the Germans fired with machine guns positioned inside the truck.” (Testimony N°606, interviewed in Mogilev, on April 28, 2012).
"The Zwangsarbeitslager in Mogilev was created shortly after the German occupation at the end of summer. The Jewish artisans from Mogilev and nearby areas were detained in this camp along with some Russian partisans. They slept inside the former Dimitrov factory. The camp was surrounded with double barbed wire and four guard posts. The Jewish inmates were separated from thr Russians. The Jews had distinguishing armbands. Several workshops, including a sewing workshop with thirty sewing machines, tannery, carpentry, and goldsmithery, were set in a big room. The primitive sleeping area was located on the ground floor, over the workshops. The chief of each workshop guarded his companions in misery. They were called Kapos and were subordinate to the Lagerführer. They had to beat and denounce the other inmates. During the shooting, they were shot the last. The auxiliary Ukrainian police conducted the shooting of women and children in a very cruel manner. Under the influence of alcohol, they fired at the victims without aiming. At least 2,000 Jews were shot during this extermination Aktion.” [The report of the public prosecutor within the trial of the Schutzpolizei of the Police Bataillon n°52;B162-7602 p.19]
Mogilev is located about 200 km from Minsk. The first records about the Jewish community date back to the middle of the 16th century. In 1776, there were 622 Jews living in the town. By 1897, the Jewish community grew and represented half of the local population. By the beginning of 1880’s, there were 38 synagogues and 14 cheders. At this time Mogilev became an important center of Bundist and Zionist activity. The majority of Jews was craftsmen or worked in factories. There were about a hundred different small industries. A number of Jews had shops or were involved in small scale trade. In 1910, 27,974 Jews lived in Mogilev. In the 1930’s, many synagogues were closed and religious organizations were banned. Due to migration, the Jewish population decreased and, on the eve of the war, only 19,715 Jews remained in Mogilev.
Mogilev was occupied by Germans on July 26, 1941. At least 40 percent of Jews managed to evacuate to the East before the war. Immediately after the Germans arrived, the Jews were marked and forced to perform labor. They were officially registered in August 1941. The Judenrat (Jewish council) and local Belarussian police were created by that time as well. The first execution was conducted against the supposed Soviet activists. 80 young Jews were killed in mid-August while the remaining was confined to the ghetto on Grazhdanskaya Street.In September, the ghetto was relocated to another part of the town close to the river. The Jews who refused to move to the ghetto or attempted to hide were shot on the spot. The mass extermination of Jews started in early October 1941. In the course of two days, 2,073 Jews were shot by Einsatzkommando 8B assisted by two Police battalions and Ukrainian auxiliary police. According to sources there were about a thousand Jewish specialists who were spared and placed into the newly created labor camp in the former Dimitrov factory.
During the second round up in the ghetto, carried out on October 19, 1941, 3,726 Jews were taken in trucks to the nearby village of Kazimirovka where they were shot. Several hundred Jews, especially elderly people and those who could not walk, were killed on the spot. 4,800 Jews from Mogilev were taken to be shot in Polykovichi. The labor camp existed until September 1943, when the remaining 120 Jews were transferred to Minsk. In May 1942, 400 Jews were brought there from Slonim. During its existence between 1941 to 1943, about 4,000 Jews were killed or died from typhus and bad living conditions.
For more information about the execution in Polykovichi please refer to the corresponding profile
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