Sacha (b. 1931) recalled the scene: “As if it were yesterday: I saw two Germans exit a metal truck. One of them went to my neighbors’ houses. The other turned a crank between the cab and the back. The first German came back with a Jewish woman and her child. He opened the back of the truck and put the two inside. I saw two men in the back leaning over to look outside, but the Germans quickly closed the metallic doors. The two Germans got in the cabin and the motor started. I heard screaming in the truck and some banging as the victims were hitting the inside of the truck.
From October 15 to 29, a Yahad team completed our sixth research trip to Russia, the second in the Rostov region. Over the course of the trip, Yahad worked in 12 towns and interviewed 32 witnesses.
Region of Rostov
Investigated towns/villages: Novotcherkassk, Starotcherkassk, Volochino, Petrouchino, Taganrog, Guigant, Kroutchenïa Balka, Ekaterinovka, Skossyrskaïa, Morozovsk, Grouzinov, Bolchoïa Martinovka
From a practical and historical point of view, it was a complicated investigation due to various problems, the terrain, and the difficulty in locating witnesses. There were large areas to cover as this zone was very sprawling. German archives, like their Soviet counter-parts which covered Nazi crimes perpetuated in this zone, held little information, reinforcing the need for extensive investigation. In the region studied, with the exception of large towns like Taganrog, there were few local Jews, and they were quite assimilated. The actions against the Jews were primarily directed at the refugee population, notably from Ukraine. Gradually, beginning with several villages, the team was able to find traces of the Jewish refugees as well as the related shootings.
The team attempted, as much as possible, to include all the different groups of victims in the scope of its investigation, which could provide complete historical clarity on the period of occupation.
With the exception of Tagarog, the primary region studied was occupied by the Germans in the summer of 1942 until the winter of 1943. The zone remained under military administration during the entire occupation.
– The execution of Jewish refugees
– Investigation of the massacres at Taganrog
– The Stalingrad Front, catalyst of violence
– Operation of gas trucks in Morozovsk