Voronezh | Voronezh

Execution of Jews and non-Jews in Voronezh

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
On the streets
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Soviet archives

“On May 9, 1943, a pit full of bodies was found in the Popov Ravine in the area of the first Staro-Nikolskiy Rural Council, Khokhol County. Altogether, 77 partially decomposed bodies were exhumed from the pit, there were bodies of 10 children from 1.5 to 12 years old; of 47 women, and of 20 men. Besides the bodies in the pit, the everyday items, such as handbags, spools of thread, teaspoons and tablespoons, teapots, cups, and more were found. Some bodies had traces of gunshot wounds. Burnt cartridges from German automatic weapons were found nearby. Documents found in their pockets indicate that the people who had been shot were residents of Voronezh who had been evicted from the city.
4. Certificate issued instead of an identification paper to A. Altshul, who was residing in Voronezh…;
5. Passport issued to M. Fiterman, who was born in 1891 and was residing in Voronezh;
8. Birth certificate issued to A. Blyumkin, who was residing in Voronezh. Local residents testified that in September 1942, two guarded trucks were sent from Khokhol village, where a German checkpoint was located, to the Popov Ravine. The trucks were fully loaded with Soviet civilians. Shooting was heard soon after that.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) in September 1943; GARF: Fond 7021, opis 22, delo 3]

“On August 10, under the order of [the] German Kommandant whose name wasn’t established, who was present at the House for the deaf and the mute. In order to dissimulate the traces of their crimes, the Germans gathered wounded and ill Red Army prisoners of war and civilians in school n°5 (located on Cheliuskintsy Street 29), in the House of Communa (Дом «Коммуны») and in the nursing house (located on October Revolution Street 20), making them believe that they would be treated. But in reality, the gathered received no medical treatment, food, or water. The seriously injured were shot on the spot. For example, on August 20-21, 1942, in the courtyard of the House of Communa [Note: this is what the Germans called the handicapped house where they locked up the elderly and seriously ill], 30 Jewish old men and women were shot. […] Then, on August 25, 1942, all the sick and injured were transported to Orlovka. From there, they were also transported by truck in an unknown direction and exterminated. In all, around 400 people were taken from the above-mentioned buildings in the direction of Orlovka.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on August 17, 1943; GARF: Fond 7021, opis 22, delo 502]

Historical note

Voronezh is the capital of the Voronezh region located in Southern Central Russia. The province of Voronezh lay outside the Jewish Pale of Settlement, and until 1890, Jews were forbidden to settle there. However, some Jews attempted to settle in Voronezh in the early 19th century, but they were banned from the area in the 1820s because they were identified with the outsider communities of Subbotniki ("Sabbath observers") who lived in the area. Starting in the 1870s, with the construction of a railway line from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don, the local Jewish population began to grow. In 1874, 319 Jews lived in the town and obtained permission to maintain a synagogue in a private house. The constitution of their community received an official authorization in 1890.

By 1897, 1,708 Jews lived in Voronezh, comprising 16% of the total population. After World War I, the number of Jews in Voronezh increased and by 1926 had reached 5,208 (4.3% of the general population). In 1939, the city’s 8,358 Jews made up 2.5% of the total population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The Germans and Hungarians partially occupied Voronezh on July 7, 1942. During the six-month-long occupation, the town was divided by the river until January 25, 1943: the right bank of the river remained under German and Hungarian occupation while the left side was controlled by the Red Army. Right after the occupation began, the Germans started expelling the local population from the occupied part of the town.In the process, some Jews were shot on the streets of Voronezh. The Jewish residents of occupied Voronezh were transported to the village of Khokhol in September 1942, where they were murdered. According to the Soviet archives, about 400 civilians, mainly ill and disabled people, were transported to Orlovka where they were killed as well.

For more information about the killings in Orlovka and Khokhol please refer to the corresponding profiles.

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