Talka | Minsk

Rural ambiance near Talka. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Railway line in the direction of Mogilev. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Nadezhda B., born in 1925: “Shortly after the German occupation, all the Jews were marked with yellow badges. I guess they wore them on their backs.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview with a local witness. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The execution site located in the forest where 281 Jews were killed on September 22, 1941. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Executions of Jews in Talka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Nadezhda M., born in 1925: “At the beginning of the war, one night, a woman came to us. She was an old Jewish woman. She had a girl with her and we housed them for a night. We gave them food and made the bed. I slept with this girl and her mother asked permission to sleep on the Russian stove. The following morning, when we woke up, the Jewish woman had disappeared and the girl stayed. It was dangerous to keep her at our place, so my father took her to another family where she stayed and looked after a baby boy. She always said she was Armenian, even though she was Jewish. After a while my father took her to the partisans and she managed to survive the war. I still remember that. After the war we stayed in touch for a while, but then we lost contact.” (Witness n°689, interviewed in Talka, on July 19, 2013).

Soviet archives

“In September 1941, in the village of Talka, the German authorities and the police gathered all the Jewish population, about 300 people, in a camp. While being detained in the camp the Jews were forced to work all day long at the road construction. In late September or early October 1941, the Germans, assisted by the police, surrounded the camp. The German commandant ordered the police to conduct an organized execution of the Jewish population. Among the Jews there were children aged from 1 to 15 years old and elderly people. […] The shooting started in the following way. The women were put to one side and the men the other. They were then led towards the pit in groups of fifteen, forced to get inside and lie down facing the ground. They were shot from the edge of the pit. A Jewish woman whose last name was Goldberg and who worked as [illegible] before the occupation offered 300 golden coins to the police chief called Kulbitskiy so he could spare her life. Kulbitskiy took her money, but he still killed her. […]” [Deposition of a local resident, Anna K., born in 1906, given to the State Extraordinary Commission, in September 1944; RG: 22.002M: 7021-87-12]

Historical note

Talka is located about 65 km southeast of Minsk. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 19th century. In 1897, there were 74 Jews in the village, but in thirty years the Jewish population expanded to 709 individuals, comprising 85% of the total population. According to local witnesses there was no synagogue in the village. The majority of Jews lived off trade and handicraft, running the village shop. One Jewish man owned a sausage factory. On the eve of war, about 300 Jews remained in the village, including several dozen refugees from the west and Minsk. The Germans occupied the village in July 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the German arrival, all the Jews, including children and adults, were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges. They were then all confined into the camp located at the former Pioneer (Communist children’s) camp, behind the railroad. According to a local witness interviewed by Yahad, the camp was guarded but it was not fenced in. The camp was liquidated on September 22, 1941. The Jews were taken to the forest were they had to dig pits. Once the pits were dug, the Jews were forced to get inside and lie down facing the ground before being shot.

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