1 Execution site(s)
Raysa N., born in 1922, remembers: “I lived in the center of the city. There was a ghetto. My house was located near this place. The Jews were forced to put a yellow patch before the creation of the ghetto. I remember an old Jewish lady, called Gilta, she threw away this patch to go outside the ghetto and to come to our house. We gave her some food”. (Witness N°225, interviewed in Rudsk, on August 16, 2009)
« On that day, the Germans killed about 2,000 civilians in two mass graves, each 20m long, 2m wide and 3m deep. Concerning the shoes, the clothes and other belongings of the victims, the Germans brought them first to Ivanovo, then to Germany. In 1944, before the retreat, the Germans opened the graves in order to erase the marks of their crimes: they burned the bodies and buried the ashes”. [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission drawn up on November 6, 1944;RG-22.002M/7081-90-27]
“Regarding the Aktion in Ivanovo, three men were designated to shoot. I was one of them. At this time we killed with a bullet in the neck all the Jews, laid in the grave. We had sub-machine guns. We were standing in the ditch. Before the execution the Jews had to undress. We shot men, women and children”. [Deposition of Adolf P., a German shooter, made on June 2, 1964; B162-4965)
Rudsk was a small village near Ivanovo. During the war, the German authorities chose a site in a forest between Ivanovo and Rudsk to conduct the mass shooting of the Jews of Ivanovo. Ivanovo, also called “Janow Poleski” before the war, belonged to Poland until 1939. The first settlement of the Jews in Ivanovo wad in the 17th century. The city knew a large development at the end of the 19h century thanks to the industries, mostly at the instigation of Jewish entrepreneurs. Before World War II, many Jews were artisans (tailors, furriers, carpenters, builders, tinsmiths, and locksmiths), storekeepers and merchants. It was a time of flourishing for the Jewish community. They were around 3,000 in 1939 – about half of the total.
Ivanovo was first occupied by the Soviet troops until June 27, 1941. At the beginning of the German occupation about 400 male Jews were shot. A local police was created; the majority of the Schutzmänner were Ukrainians. In early April 1942 a ghetto was established, surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. The conditions were disastrous. The liquidation of the ghetto took place on September 22, 1942. The Jews were gathered at the marketplace and brought to the killing site between Ivanovo and Rudsk. Some Jews resisted with weapons; the ghetto burst into fire. About 120 Jews managed to escape and hide in the forests. In total, about 2,800 Jews were murdered in Ivanovo under the German occupation. Just before the retreat, the perpetrators opened the graves and burned the corpses to erase the marks of their crimes.
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