Talka | Minsk

Rural ambiance near Talka. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Railways going to Mogilev © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Nadezhda B., born in 1925: “Shortly after German occupation, all the Jews were marked with yellow marks. I guess they wore them on their backs.” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview with a local witness. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The execution site located in the forest where 281 Jews were killed on September 22, 1941. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Executions of Jews in Talka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
281

Witness interview

Nadezhda M., born in 1925 : “At the beginning of the war, one night, a woman came to us. She was old and Jewish. She had a girl and we housed them for a night. We gave them food and made the bed. I slept with this girl and her mother asked permission to sleep on the Russian stove. The following morning when we woke up the Jewish woman had disappeared and the girl stayed. It was dangerous to keep her at our place, so my father took her to another family where she stayed to keep a baby boy. She always said she was Armenian, although she was Jewish. After a while my father took her to the partisans and she managed to survive the war. I still remember that episode. After the war we stayed in touch for a while, but then we lost contact.” (Witness n°689, interviewed in Talka, on July 19, 2013).

Soviet archives

“In September 1941, in the village of Talka, the German authorities and the police gathered all the Jewish population, about 300 people, in a camp. While being detained in the camp the Jews were forced to work all day long at the road construction. In late September or early October 1941, the Germans helped by police surrounded the camp. The German commandant ordered the police to conduct an organized execution of Jewish population. Among the Jews there were children aged from 1 to 15 years old and elder people. […] The shooting started in the following way. The women were put from one side and the men from another. Then, in groups of fifteen they were taken towards the pit, forced to get inside and lie down facing the ground. They were shot by the shooters from the edge of the pit. A Jewish woman whose last name was Goldberg and who worked as [illegible] before the occupation proposed 300 golden coins to the police chief called Kulbitskiy so he could spare her life. Kulbitskiy took her money, but he still killed her. […]” [Deposition of a local resident, Anna K., born in 1906, given to the State Extraordinary Commission, in September 1944; RG: 22.002M: 7021-87-12]

Historical note

Talka is located about 65 km southeast of Minsk. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the 19th century. In 1897 there were 74 Jews in the village, but in thirty years the Jewish population grew up to 709 and made up 85% of the total population. According to the local witness there was no synagogue in the village. The majority of Jews lived off trade and handcraft, for instance Barka had a shop. One Jew owned a sausage factory. On the eve of the war about 300 Jews remained in the village, including several dozen refuges from West and Minsk. The Germans occupied the village in July 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the German arrival all the Jews, including children and adults, were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges. Then, all the Jews were confined into the camp located at the former Pioneer (Communist children’s) camp, behind the railroads. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad the camp was guarded but it wasn’t fenced in. The camp was liquidated on September 22, 1941. The Jews were taken to the forest were they had to dig pits. Once the pits were dug, the Jews were forced to get inside and lie down facing the pit and to lie face down.

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