2 Execution site(s)
Rosa L., born in 1926: “There was a very good doctor among the Jewish victims. The Germans wanted to spare him to make him work for them. But as his family was also in the column he preferred to be killed with them. He hugged his wife and children at the edge of the pit and they were all shot.” (Witness n°948, interviewed in Cherven on August 10th 2017)
“[...] On February 1st 1942, at around 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, the ghetto on Griadka Street in Cherven was surrounded by Germans and police officers so that no one could escape. I personally saw how R., Y. and S. arrived on horses harnessed to a cart loaded with ammunition and shovels prepared for the shooting of the Jews. All the local policemen participated in the shooting of the Jews, and especially R., S. and others. First, the pits were dug. The Jews were then taken to the grave in groups of 30-40 people, forced to undress down to their underwear and shot. [...] I don’t know how many people were shot in total in Cherven. But I know that the day of execution there were about 1,400 Jews. They were shot in a locality called “Glinishche” [“glina” = clay; probably the site of a clay quarry] located on the way to the village of Zametovka. [...]” [Deposition of Zinaida S., born in 1912, given to the State extraordinary commission (ChGK); RG 22.002M:7021-87-17]
Cherven is located 66km east of Minsk. The first written records about the city date back to 1387. Until 1923 it was called Igumen. Jews started to settle in the city in the end of the 18th century and according to the 1897 census, they numbered 2,817 people, comprising 63% of the total population. At that time the Jews lived off small-scale trade and clothing manufacture. In 1899 the city burned down. At the beginning of the 20th century, two tanneries, a four-class city school, and a hospital were opened in Cherven. Under Soviet rule, the Jews worked in agriculture, predominantly in nearby kolkhozes. During the 1920s-1930s a Yiddish school operated in Cherven. By 1939, the number of Jewish inhabitants had decreased to 1,491 people, comprising 23% of total population. Cherven was occupied by German troops on July 2nd 1941.
From the beginning of the occupation, the Jews continued to live in their homes until late autumn 1941, when a ghetto was created. All the Jews from the town, as well as nearby villages, had to move into the ghetto located on Griadka street. The first Aktion was conducted sometime before the creation of the ghetto or shortly after, but, unfortunately, Yahad was not able to identify the exact date. During this execution about 1,750 Jews were murdered at the Jewish cemetery. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on February 2nd 1942 and was carried out by the Germans assisted by local police. Before the execution, all the victims were forced to undress down to their underwear and lie down inside the pit. Soviet POWs, partisans and civilians were also murdered in Cherven from 1941 to 1944.
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