TESTIMONY: Georgi: “We were coming back from the fields and saw trucks full of Jews going past. The last truck stopped nearby and we were forced to climb on. There were 4 Jewish men in the truck with us. The trucks then stopped. The Jewish were hit and forced off the trucks. We heard the gunfire. Then, we too were forced off the trucks. The graves were lit up at night by the headlights of the trucks. We had to dig the graves as the Germans watched on and finished off their last victims”.

BASIC INFO: A Yahad team spent two weeks investigating the crimes against the Jews in the southern regions of Krasnodar and Adygea in Russia, near the Georgian border. The team was able to document the massacre of thousands of Jewish refugees from Ukraine, Russia and Moldova, killed by Nazi bullets or gas trucks. The vast majority of mass grave sites were found in Cossack villages and were without memorials.
Our team interviewed several people who were requisitioned by the Germans to dig the graves for the victims and to cover them up once they had been shot, as well as witnesses to the mechanisms of the killings at a local level, who were able to show us the execution sites. The team also met two Russians who saved some refugees from the shootings, including a woman who, adolescent at the time, bravely pulled a 3 years old Jewish girl out of a mass grave. 

Our researchers also gathered testimonies from the children of communist families who were also targeted, humiliated, tortured and shot in public by the Germans and their local collaborators.

Finally, the team carried out research on the occupation of towns bordering the Black Sea, between Novorossiysk and the Crimea, where there was fierce fighting between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army, notably along the so-called “blue line” front. Civilians who found themselves stuck in these areas became victims of artillery attacks, famine and forced deportation to Germany and Ukraine, which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

During the trip, 37 witnesses were interviewed and 20 execution sites were discovered.

PLACES: Kuzhorskaia, Sergievskoie, Yaroslavskaia, Blechepsine, Natyrbovo, Kropotkin, Kalnibolotskaia, Konokovo, Mostovskoy, Apsheronsk, Poltavskaia, Varenikovskaia, Temriuk, Starotitarovskaia, Korenovsk, Zarechny, Novorossiysk.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

KEY FINDINGS:
– The killing of Jews in mass graves or gas trucks.
– Mechanisms of killing at a local level.
– Saving of refugees.
– Persecution of communists.
– Victims along the “blue line” front.