4 Execution site(s)
Natalia V., born in 1926: “Some civilians were shot in the forest. I saw a covered truck on its way to the forest while I was working in a field. It was summertime. Once at the site, the Jews were told to get off and were lined up in groups of 10-15 along the edge of the pit. The Germans then fired at them with machine guns positioned inside the truck.” (Testimony N°606, interviewed in Mogilev, on April 28, 2012).
"The Zwangsarbeitslager in Mogilev was created shortly after the German occupation at the end of summer. Jewish artisans from Mogilev and nearby areas were detained in this camp along with some Russian partisans. They slept inside the former Dimitrov factory. The camp was surrounded with a double barbed wire fence and four guard posts. The Jewish inmates were separated from the Russians and had distinguishing armbands. Several workshops, including a sewing workshop with thirty sewing machines, a tannery, a carpenters workshop, and a goldsmiths were set up in a big room. The primitive sleeping area was located on the ground floor, near the workshops. The chief of each workshop guarded his companions in misery. They were called Kapos and were subordinate to the Lagerführer. They had to beat and denounce the other inmates. During the shooting, they were shot last. The auxiliary Ukrainian police conducted the shooting of women and children in a very cruel manner. Under the influence of alcohol, they fired at the victims without aiming. At least 2,000 Jews were shot during this Aktion.” [The report of the public prosecutor within the trial of the Schutzpolizei of the Police Bataillon n°52;B162-7602 p.19]
Mogilev is located about 200km from Minsk. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the middle of the 16th century. In 1776, there were 622 Jews living in the town. By 1897, the Jewish community grew and represented half of the local population. By the beginning of 1880s, there were 38 synagogues and 14 cheders. Around this time Mogilev became an important center of Bundist and Zionist activity. The majority of Jews were craftsmen or worked in factories. There were about a hundred different small industries. A number of Jewish residents had shops or were involved in small-scale trade. In 1910, 27,974 Jews lived in Mogilev. During the 1930s, many synagogues were closed and religious organizations were banned. Due to migration, the Jewish population decreased and, on the eve of the war, only 19,715 Jews remained in Mogilev.
Mogilev was occupied by the Germans on July 26, 1941. At least 40 percent of Jews managed to evacuate to the East before the war. Immediately after the Germans arrived, the Jews were marked and forced to perform labor. They were officially registered in August 1941. The Judenrat (Jewish council) and a local Belarusian police force had been created by that time as well. The first execution was conducted against supposed Soviet activists. 80 young Jews were killed in mid-August while the remaining Jews were confined to the ghetto on Grazhdanskaya Street. In September, the ghetto was relocated to another part of the town close to the river. Any Jew who refused to move to the ghetto or attempted to hide was shot on the spot. The mass extermination of Jews started in early October 1941. Over the course of two days, 2,073 Jews were shot by Einsatzkommando 8B assisted by two Police battalions and the Ukrainian auxiliary police. According to sources, about a thousand Jewish skilled workers were spared and placed into the newly created labor camp in the former Dimitrov factory.
During the second round-up in the ghetto, carried out on October 19, 1941, 3,726 Jews were taken in trucks to the nearby village of Kazimirovka where they were shot. Several hundred Jews, especially elderly people and those who could not walk, were killed on the spot. 4,800 Jews from Mogilev were taken to be shot in Polykovichi. The labor camp existed until September 1943, when the remaining 120 Jews were transferred to Minsk. In May 1942, 400 Jews were transferred there from Slonim. During its existence between 1941 and 1943, about 4,000 Jews were killed or died from typhus and bad living conditions.
For more information about the execution in Polykovichi please refer to the corresponding profile
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