2 Execution site(s)
Yuriy M., born in 1927: “The sun was going down when I was walking down Stavropolskaia street with six friends. Several German trucks were passing, and one of them stopped suddenly. Young Germans in green uniforms came out and dragged me and two my friends Grisha and Petia into the truck; other friends ran away. There were three other older civilians and 7-8 Germans in the truck. We were brought to the execution site located between the airport and the railway. The Jews were shot in a dugout. There were four trucks with victims and one with diggers. The trucks were illuminating the execution site with their headlights. I stayed in the truck until the end of the execution so I didn’t see the shooting. But I heard the cries of men, women and children, and isolated shots. After the shooting was over, I along with other men was forced to fill the pit in. There was a pile of bodies inside it, about 20-30 people. When the pit was covered, we were told to run away.” (Witness n°743, interviewed in Kropotkin on September 16, 2017)
“Shortly after the arrival of the fascists in the city of Kropotkin, hundreds of people were confined into the Gestapo jails and the prison. Defenseless victims were subjected to inhuman torture during interrogations. [...] Then they were shot near the city: on the hill called “Kazanskaya gora”, at the airfield, in the woods near the river Kuban, in the gardens of the kolkhoz “Komsomolskaya Pravda”. [...] All in all, according to the incomplete data, more than 20 pits and ravines with the bodies of shot people were discovered. It should be noted that in the pits and ravines on the hill “Kazanskaya Gora” the number of victims of fascist terror was over 700” [...] [Act of the Red Army Commission; Fond 51, Opis 958, Delo 52, pages 99-1015]
Kropotkin is a town located on the right bank of the Kuban River, 142 km north-east of Krasnodar. It was founded as Romanovsky Khutor in the late 19th century. In 1905 there were 1,619 households and almost 20,000 inhabitants. At that period the new building of the railway station, the railway men’s club, the first public library, the railway school, the male and female gymnasiums, the power station, and the water pipe were built in the settlement. On February 4, 1921 it was renamed Kropotkin and granted town status. According to the census in 1939 the Jews numbered 109 persons in a total population of 41,600 people. The Jews lived off small-scale trade and handicrafts. The Jewish population increased significantly due to the mass evacuation of the Jews to the region at the outbreak of WWII. The Jewish refugees lived with the locals and worked in kolkhozes. Kropotkin was occupied by the German troops on August 4, 1942.
As a result of Yahad’s research we are able to confirm that several executions of Jews took place in Kropotkin. A local woman, interviewed by the Yahad team, happened to witness the shooting of about 30-40 Jews on the airdrome territory. Another local villager was requisitioned by the Germans to cover the pit with 20-30 corpses. He claims that the victims were shot in a pit located between the airdrome and the railway. According to the historical resources about 700 people were shot in different places in Kropotkin: on the hill “Krasnaya Gora”, in the airfield, in the forest next to the River Kouban, in the gardens of the kolkhoz “Komsomolskaia Pravda”. Besides the Jews, Soviet prisoners of war were also murdered.
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