Zhuravli (Former Jewish colony Gortenshtot) | Crimea

/ Vladimir Z., born in 1923: ”The Germans killed a lot of Jews here during the war. There is a profound well near a mine, they threw there Jews, Russians, partisans and others who were caught.”© Mona Oren  /Yahad-In Unum    © Mona Oren The road in Zhuravli leading to the execution site.  © Mona Oren  /Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s witness showing the execution site in Zhuravli.  © Mona Oren  /Yahad-In Unum Father Desbois and Yahad-In Unum team interviewing in Zhuravli.    © Mona Oren  /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews from Gortenshtot and Voyo-Nova

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Well
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 25
Witnesses interviewed :
1

Witness interview

Vladimir Z., born in 1923: "Then, they threw them down a well that was actually a stone pit, about 30m deep. Once their work was done, they filled the pit with earth. The SS were helped in this task by Ukrainian police, and also Romanians. Two trucks were standing besides the well, those that had transported the Jews to the execution site."(Witness N°127, interviewed in Zhuravli, on December 31, 2004)

Soviet archives

“On March 19, 1942 a group of German officers from the railway administration of Saki arrived in two cars. Among them there was a former commandant of Saki, Oberleutnant T. They arrested 15 Molotov kolkhoz members of Jewish nationality, took them to the well where the community used to water their livestock, brutally shot them, and threw the bodies into the well, after that they threw grenades inside the well.” [Act drawn up by State extraordinary commission (ChGK) ; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 9, Delo 44]

Historical note

Zhuravli, known as Gortenshtot until 1948, is a village located about 70 km northwest of Simferopol. The village was established in the early 1930’s as a Jewish agricultural colony. At this time a kolkhoz named after Molotov was created. All the Jews lived off agriculture. The children went to a four year Yiddish school located in the nearby colony of Voyo-Novo which numbered about 100 Jews. The majority of the Jews from Gortenshtot were evacuated before the Germans’ arrival.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Gortenshtot, today’s Zhuravli, was occupied in the fall of 1941. Little is known about the life of the Jews in the village during the occupation until its extermination which took place on March 19, 1942. According to the Soviet archives, on this day a small murder squad from Saki arrived and rounded up the remaining Jews.  About 15 victims were taken to the wells outside the village and shot to death at the edge of the well. The victims’ bodies were thrown into the well. Another 10 victims from were brought from Voyo-Noya, today’s Lystove, and killed in the irrigation well along with the residents of Gortenshtot.  According to the same archives, people from the village were forced to watch the execution. The witnesses report that the Germans threw hand grenades into the wells after the shooting. Supposedly, the small children were thrown into the well alive.

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