Myadel (Stary Myadel and Nowy Myadel, Myadzyel, Miadel) | Minsk

Execution of Jews in Myadel

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Swamp/Clearing in the forest
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
21/70

Witness interview

Vyacheslav K., born in 1930, remembered: “A big pit was dug in the forest near Myadel on the day of the shooting. In the afternoon, all Jews were escorted to the shooting place by one German and many policemen. They walked calmly down the road toward Minsk. There were 32 people in the column, with many little children among them. I was standing near the road and counted them. There was only one German who followed the column; other guards were policemen in civilian clothing. The column was escorted to the shooting place located in a small forest, 50 meters from the road and just 10 meters from the lake. Three people dug the pit; they left together with the shooters to Myadel. Two richest Jews were spared by the Germans, and later shot in a swamp”. (Testimony n°890, interviewed in Kochergi, on May 17, 2016)

Soviet archives

"At the beginning of September 1941, 6 Jews were arrested and taken to a burnt house which belonged to a certain K. They were forced to move burnt parts of wood from one place to another. After, a dog was set loose on them until they fainted. It lasted 3 hours. Later, they brought another 45 Jews, adults and elderly people among them. They were arranged in columns of two and taken to the grove called Mkhi (the ravine of Mkhi), located 1.5 km away from Myadel. They were forced to dig a pit. Once they finished they were shot.
In the middle of September 1942, the gendarmes, headed by K., organized a roundup of Jewish population. They arrested over 100 people, 69 of them were enclosed in the barn and the others were taken to the place called Bor to dig the pit. After that 69 Jews were tied up together and escorted to the pit where they were shot”. [Act drawn by State Extraordinary Commission in 1945, to the; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 89, Delo 10]

German archives

“There were 60 Jewish families living in Novy Myadel, and about 7 in Stary Myadel. The Germans arrived in July 1941, and 7 weeks later they started their massacres. The 1st Elul (about September 1941), 21 Jews were killed. The 2nd Aktion took place on the day of Yom Kippur. A group of Jews escaped to the forest. After the escape, a big Aktion was conducted in Myadel, during which 70 Jews were killed. Those who stayed were tortured terribly and shot afterwards. For the Jews who managed to survive, a ghetto was established on the old Jewish street.” [Extract from the testimony of a Jewish survivor; B162-5885 p.36]

Historical note

Myadel, founded in 1324, is located 120 km north-west from Minsk on the bank of the Myastra Lake. In 1897, the Jewish community numbered 436 Jews and represented almost 40% of the local population. By 1921, the number of Jews dropped significantly due to relocation. There were only 133 Jews living in the town in 1921. The majority of Jews lived off of small trade. In 1914, there were 9 bakeries, 2 taverns and 41 shops. All the shops were located on the central square. Many Jews were artisans, like shoemakers, tailors. There were two-storied brick synagogue, and a heder, located on the Jewish street.  The Germans occupied the town on July 2, 1941.  On the eve of the war there were about 200 Jews in Myadel. According to the archives, Novy Myadel counted 60 Jewish families in 1941, and Stary Myadel counted Jewish 7 families.  The town was occupied by Germans on July 2, 1941. By that time only 5% of Jews managed to evacuate. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the German’s arrival all Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing signs on their chests and backs. The local police as well as Judenrat were created. The Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor. Systematically all Jews had to pay contributions with gold and other valuables. They were also subjected to different kinds of humiliation and torture. Thus, during one of the tortures 6 Jews were mauled by dogs. Another day, all Jews were forced into the lake where they remained for one hour surrounded by policemen. There were men, women and the elderly among them. The majority of Jews could return to their homes afterwards.

The first Aktion was conducted in August 1941 against 21 Jewish men who were rounded-up and taken by the police outside the town, in the swamps, and shot. Among the victims were the local Rabbi Abram Shmuel Kashchevskyi and the uncle of the Jewish survivor, Mikhail G.,  interviewed by Yahad.  The corpses were reburied afterwards at the Jewish cemetery by family members.

 Three months after, a ghetto was created in Novy Myadel which included Yevreskaya Street and existed one year, until its liberation by partisans in November 1942. According to the witness, it was not fenced, only guarded. Jews were allowed to walk on the streets, but were forbidden to leave the town. Jews were exchanging their belongings for food brought by farmers. Little by little the resistance was organized with the help from the local partisans. At night of September 19, 1942, about 70 Jews fled. After that the Germans and local police gathered about 70 people and took them into the forest 2 km south from the town where they were shot. According to the witness, about 46 people among the escapees were shot.

In late September 1942, the Myadel ghetto numbers about a hundred Jews, including 50 workers brought from Kobylnik.  According to the witness interviewed by Yahad-In Unum, two days later, 60 of them were shot, and the remaining specialists were spared because they worked for the German administration.  Only 50 Jews of prewar population survived the Holocaust. 

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