2 Execution site(s)
Raisa R., born in 1927: “We saw trucks passing by almost every day. We also heard gunshots. One day, it was in the fall of 1941, my brother and I went to a well located on a field near the anti-tank trench. We saw a black truck arrive. The Jews were marching in groups. There were also children among them. The Germans started the execution in a ditch dug perpendicular to a hill and a road. As the shootings progressed the bodies fell closer and closer to the road.” (Witness N°1704, interviewed in Trudove, on May 21, 2013)
« We were taken to an anti-tank trench located on the left side of the road to Feodosiya. When we arrived, there were a lot of people, including women, elder people, and children. The people stood huddled, we heard howl, some women were hysterically crying. Drunken German Gestapo soldiers walked at the site. The machine guns were placed in a row 100-150 m from the ditch. The execution started approximately at 8 am. The Germans took the victims’ belongings, forced them to undress, to take off coats, jackets, and shoes. The Jews were lined up in groups of 300at the edge of the trench. The machine guns fired, and the victims fell inside the pit. Horrible cry and howl of the wounded spread. After the third group, we, the prisoners of war, were forced to fill in the pit. I threw soil in the pit and was trying not to look down. Then, new trucks with victims arrived. They were shot immediately. It lasted until the dusk. All the day long the trucks did round trips from Simferopol to the execution site. I did not count how many people were shot that day, but there were definitely at least 1,200-1,500. The next day I got sick, and I didn’t go to the execution site anymore, but I know that a long while the prisoners from the camp had been requisitioned with shovels to go to the execution sites.» [Deposition of Sushkov V.A., a former prisoner of war, given to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 9, Delo 194, p.168-170]
“When I arrived to Simferopol, on the same evening I heard that the anti-Jewish Aktions would take place. I heard it from a member of the police battalion 9. He bragged he would kill Jews once again. The next day, I was chosen as a shooter for the execution of the Jews. […] The execution took place outside the town in the anti-tank trenches. The victims, men, women and children were brought to the execution site by truck. They had to undress. The members of the German kommando lined up in two parallel rows and when the Jews passed between the rows towards the pit they were beaten. […] The Jews were lined up at the edge of the pit and then were killed. […] I think that 5,000 Jews altogether were murdered that day.” [Deposition of Erich G., a member of the police battalion 3, EK11a, made in Berlin, Germany, on August 25, 1964; BArch B162-1014].
Simferopol is a one of the biggest cities on the Crimean peninsula located on the banks of the Salghir river and about 80km north east of Sebastopol. The Jews lived in Simferopol since it was founded in 1784. In 1803 about 470 Jews lived in the city. By 1897 the Jewish community grew and numbered about 8,951 Ashkenazi Jews, 500 Krymchaks and 1,000 Karaites, comprising 18% of the total population. The Jews lived mostly off small-scale trade and handcraft. Some had their own factories and printing houses. There were nine synagogues and prayer houses in the city. Two Talmud Torahs were opened. The number of Jews rose drastically, and by 1926, 19,863 Jews, including Krymchaks and Karaites, lived in Simferopol. The city had the biggest Jewish community on the peninsula that numbered 22,791 in 1939. Approximately 10,000 Jews fled the city and its county before the German occupation.
In the beginning of 1941, the Republic of Crimea numbered about 70,000 Jews, most of whom lived in large cities. The majority of them were exterminated shortly after the invasion of the Soviet Union. Simferopol was occupied by the Germans on November 1, 1941. Shortly after the occupation all the Jews were registered and marked with white armbands bearing the Star of David. According to Yahad’s witness, some of those Jews who refused to come to the registration point were shot or hung in the streets or their homes. All the Jewish population fit work was used as forced labor until its liquidation. The first mass executions took place between December 9 and 13, 1941. During this period 12,000 Jews, both Ashkenazi and Krymchaks, were arrested under the pretext of resettlement and taken outside the city, at the 11th kilometer of the road leading to Feodosiya, to the anti-tank trenches to be shot. Even though the Ashkenazi and Krymchaks were shot separately, the extermination process was the same. First, they were gathered at some central places in Simferopol and then taken by truck to the execution site. Once on the site, the Jews were forced to undress and then line up in groups of 300 at the edge of the trenches. The shootings were conducted by Sonderkommando 10b, 11a and 11b. The small children were poisoned and thrown into pit. Another execution site was located in the northwest of Simferopol close to the village of Dubki. According to some testimonies, several Jews were shot dead at that place. Later, there was a camp for prisoners of war, who were murdered at the same place. Through 1942 the Germans continued to search for the Jews who stayed in hiding. Between January 9 and February 15, 1942, another 300 Jews found in hiding or those who were denounced by locals were murdered. According to Yahad’s witness, there was another execution which had occurred before the main mass execution at the 11th km. The Jews were brought to the Petrovskiy ravine in the south of Simferopol by covered black truck in groups of 20-30. The victims had to undress and surrender all the valuables including golden teeth. There were Krymchaks, Karaites and Roms among the victims. Unfortunately, Yahad couldn’t establish the exact number of the victims. The next victims of the Nazi regime became children from mixed marriages, Jewish craftsmen and artisans whom Germans kept for their needs until the last moment. They were murdered in the period between May –July 1942. The victims were gassed in gas vans and their bodies were thrown into the anti-tank ditches. In all, during the occupation, according to different historical sources, from 10,000 to 12,000 Jews were murdered, which is 5,000 less than claimed by the Soviet archives.
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