In Nikolskoïe, we interviewed Viktor, born in 1931. The psychiatric hospital, Katchenko, was located in the village and employed the majority of the local population. A group of medical personnel also lived in the hospital’s enclosure. Several doctors, including the director of the hospital, were Jews. During the arrival of the Germans, certain villagers left their house to seek refuge in the hospital’s cellars, in the bomb shelters. Viktor was one of those people; this is why he was able to give us such a complete testimony on the fate of the patients. One day, the Germans arrived at the Katchenko Hospital. They ordered the medical personnel to administer a poison to the children, using a syringe. According to Viktor, nearly 900 people were poisoned in this way in the hospital’s premises. Military trucks waited in front of the hospital to take the bodies to the village’s exit. Prisoners of war, who worked at the hospital, had to bury the bodies. Before their retreat, the Germans burned the bodies of the victims. According to Viktor, the director of the hospital was sent to Gatchina, where they were shot.
At the end of 15 days of research, Yahad-In Unum had recorded 34 testimonies and identified 14 mass graves, 4 of which did not have a monument.
Region: Leningrad Region
Towns and villages investigated:
Liuban, Vyritsa, Nikolskoie, Divenskaia, Starosiverskaia, Siverskii, Kurovitsy, Louga, Mchinskaia, Rozhdestveno, Oredezh, Vassilkovitchi, Gatchina, Kinguissep, Krivitsy, Kouchela, Savinovchtchina, Mga, Pavlovsk, Margus, Ulianovka, Gayanchtchina, Gostilitsy, Nevdoubostroi, Diatiltsy, Choundorovo, Iamkovitsy, Torkovitchi, Lissino-Korpous, Tosno, Romanovka, Krasnoie Selo
During this research trip, the Yahad-In Unum team investigated in the present-day district of Leningrad, a zone occupied by the Germans from the summer of 1941 until 1944. The front line crossed the region and consequently, the movements of the population were intense throughout the war. A part of the population succeeded in evacuating before the arrival of the Heeresgruppe Nord. The remaining Jews, who mainly lived in Vyrista, Luga or even Liuban were executed in mass graves. The preliminary work in the archives enabled us to collect information on the executions of the Jewish, Gypsy and Russian populations, the existence of civilian camps, camps for children, the forces present as well as prisoner of war camps.
During this research trip, the Yahad-In Unum team recorded crucial testimonies on different subjects:
- The executions of Jewish, Roma and Russian victims
- The poisoning of the mentally ill
- The Holocaust in the Baltic countries
- The execution sites of the Roma victims