Sevastopol (Sebastopol) | Crimea

/ Ivan R., born in 1929:” The Jews were shot in the anti-tank trenches. They filled in the pits themselves. One group of Jews was shot, another covered the bodies. They were all shot with machine and submachine guns.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum team interviewing a witness in the region of Sebastopol.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum One of the execution sites in Sebastopol where the Jews were killed in an anti-tank trench.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Memorial erected in the center of Sebastopol in 2003 by the Jewish community of Sebastopol and the Joint organization in the memory of about 4,000 Jews murdered in Sevastopol. © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Sevastopol

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Several
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1942-1944
Number of victims :
About 4,000

Witness interview

Galina L., Krymchak historian from Sebastopol: “When Tatars arrived to the Crimea they called these people “Krymchaks” because for them they were locals. There were different last names among Krymchak population. Very often it reflected their origin. For example, “Mangoupli” as last name indicates that a family comes from Mangoup, former principality in the Crimea. Last names like “Lombrosa” and “Trevogoda” suggest Spanish and French origins. They probably arrived in the 13th century when Genoese colonies were formed on the peninsula and it continued during the Jewish persecutions in Spain in the 15th century. First records about the community date back to the 13th-14th centuries when the local population was authorized to trade. ” (Witness N°269, interviewed in Sevastopol, on January 7, 2006).

Soviet archives

“According to the testimonies of Sevastopol citizens […] on July 12, 1942, German executioners rounded-up all the Jewish population, including sick women, children and elder people at the Dynamo stadium. The Germans took all the valuables away from them, beat them up, then threw onto the trucks and took to an anti-tank trench located on the road to Balaklava. More than 1,500 Jews were shot there. […] Besides, a large number of Jews were transported from Sevastopol to the villages of Staryie Shuli and Balta-Chekrak […] Altogether, 4,200 Jews from Sevastopol were shot.” [Act of State extraordinary commission ; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 9, Delo 45]

German archives

“Several days after our arrival to Sevastopol, the kommando started to shoot the Jews. During the shooting I stood aside and watched. The execution site was outside the town where there was an anti-tank trench. The execution commando was composed of three or four men. The victims were shot with pistol in the nape of the neck. I know that only men were killed in the beginning.
During first days 30 men were killed every day. After every execution, the corpses were covered with soil. I do not know who had to do it, but I know that a few days later we still could see the victims’ arms and legs coming out from the pit. They were blue or black. The Jewish bodies were still dressed.” [Deposition of Georg W., a driver pf the Sonderkommando 11a, made in in Kupferzell, Germany, on March 8, 1961; B162-1008].

Historical note

Sevastopol is the capital of the Crimea, located in the southern Crimea, some 90 km southwest of Simferopol. The Jewish community was established in Sevastopol in the late 18th century. The majority of them lived of trade and handcraft. From 1834 until 1859 the Jews were expelled from Sevastopol. But once back the community grew up quickly and according to the 1910 census, numbered 3,655 Jews. In 1926, the community numbered 6,038 including some 800 Krymchaks. There were several synagogues, prayer houses and a Jewish cemetery. By 1939, this number decreased to 5,988 making up only 5% of the total population. Among other nationalities that lived in Sevastopol before WWII there were Germans, Tatars, Ukrainians, Estonians, Greeks and others.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Sevastopol was occupied by Germans on July 1, 1942, after months of siege that started in October 1941. Many residents including Jews died at this time. Approximately the half of the Jewish population managed to evacuate before the occupation. Shortly after the Germans arrival all the Jewish population was marked with distinguishing badges in the form of Star of David. The Judenrat was created and the local auxiliary police was formed.

 According to the Soviet archives, in the first two weeks, the Germans executed outside Sevastopol more than 1,500 Jewish prisoners from the camps in Bakhchisaray and Tole.  On July 12-13, 1942 the remaining Jews of Sevastopol were ordered to gather for the registration and further resettlement. They were told to take the provisions for three days and their valuables. Once gathered at the stadium, some groups were taken directly outside the city, at the 4th km of the road Sevastopol-Balaklava where they were shot, while others were first taken to the local prison. After having their valuables taken away and beaten the inmates were transported by truck to either anti-tank ditches at 4th km or other places in and outside the town, for instance to a ravine and a cemetery in Novyye Shuli (today Shturmovoye), near a train station in the village of Balta-Chokrak near Bakhchysaray, at Maksimova dacha. The victims were shot with machine guns. Some groups transported to the 4th km site were suffocated with exhaust gases on their way. In all, there were 1,200 Jews, mainly children, women and elder people who were taken and murdered at the 4th km site. The aktion was conducted by Sonderkommando 11a. The local Tatar auxiliary police took part in searching for those who stayed in hiding. Those who were found were executed by SD unit and local police. In all, under the occupation about 4,000 Jews from Sevastopol were killed.

Note: Unfortunately, during the field research Yahad-In Unum couldn’t identify the location of all execution sites, many of which remain under the buildings, parks, roads. 

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