1 Execution site(s)
Anna P., born in 1928: “Me and some other children went to see the mass grave in the evening after the shooting. The grave was large. It was only half filled in and we could see some bodies. I saw a beautiful woman clutching her dead baby in her arms.” (Witness YIU/323R, interviewed in Vannovskoe, on June 11, 2012)
“Before the beginning of the occupation, a great number of Jews evacuated from Ukraine and Belarus and arrived in the villages of Tbiliskaya, Vannovskoe and Sheremetievka. […] During the first days of the district’s occupation, German officers and soldiers, fearing the escape of all these Jews, caught them all, with no distinction of sex or age, and threw them alive in the Kuban river and into wells. […] In August 1942, in the villages of Vannovskoe and Sheremetievka, German soldiers arrested Jewish refugees at night and shot them near Vannovskoe in an anti-tank trench. The bodies were buried 3 days later by local inhabitants. As assessed through witness testimonies, about 213 people, including women, children, and elderly people, were executed.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) in 1943; [GARF 7021-16-?]
Vannovskoe is a village in Tbiliskii district, Krasnodar region, southwest Russia. It is located about 120 km (75mi) east of the city of Krasnodar. The village, formerly called Eigenfeld, was founded in 1868 as a German colony. Its first inhabitants were German families from Bessarabia. At the beginning of the 1890s, the colony was renamed Vannovskoe. During the interwar period, Germans and Russians lived together in Vannovskoe. There was a German school and a Russian school, and children had to learn both languages. But one day, as a witness recalls, all the Germans left. They were all deported in a single day. They did not want to leave, but they had no choice. They had to leave all their belongings behind. There was no Jewish community in Vannovskoe, but as the war began, many sought refuge to the east as the German advanced on the Krasnodar region. Many Jewish refugees therefore found themselves in Vannovskoe in 1941. They lived in the German deportees’ houses.
German forces took over Vannovskoe in August 1942. Soon after, they set out to round up all the Jews for execution. Many of them were arrested and locked inside a house, and others in a basement of an administrative building in the village. They were guarded by armed soldiers, Cossacks according to a witness interviewed by Yahad - In Unum. That same witness brought food and water to the Jewish prisoners for the duration of their imprisonment. After a few days, the Jews were taken to be executed. They were put on carts and trucks early in the morning. They were shouting and crying as they understood what awaited them. They were driven out of Vannovskoe to Severin, a neighboring village. The shooting took place at a sand quarry. Men, women, and children were shot and buried in one large mass grave. The bodies were reburied at a cemetery by the local population after the war. Vannovskoe was liberated by the Red Army in January 1943. In total, about 200 Jewish refugees living in Vannovskoe were killed in Severin.
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