The family of Antonina P. (born 1926) had housed Jews. Antonina told us that the Germans had shot the Jewish refugees in two groups : those who were in the radio station building were shot first, the others were housed by the inhabitants of the stanitsa and were gathered in the nursery school.
The witness worked at the kolkhoz at that time and, upon going to work, she saw the slaughter of the Jewish refugees: “There were trenches close to each other. As I was walking not far from the shooting site, I saw that the children and the adults were separated and that their belongings were near them. The children were made to stand at the edge of a trench, the adults at the edge of another one. While a German was putting something under the nose of the Jewish children, four other Germans shot their parents."
During a 15-day research trip to Russia, a Yahad-In Unum team conducted investigations in 24 towns and villages in the region of Krasnodar, in the south of Russia. Our investigations focused mostly on the zone which is located to the northeast of the city of Krasnodar itself. This second research trip aimed at continuing the productive investigations of Yahad-In Unum in this region, which is adjacent to the Caucasus and Georgia.
In the course of this investigation, the Yahad team interviewed 42 witnesses and identified 14 sites of execution – 75 percent of which have no memorial and are therefore completely unknown.
Region of Krasnodar
Investigated towns/villages: Dinskaïa, Voronejskaïa, Oust-Labinsk, Tbilisskaïa, Vannovskoïé, Severin, Bezlesny, Kropotkin, Korenovsk, Timachevsk, Dnieprovskaïa, Krasnaïa Poliana, Otradnaïa, Arkhangelskaïa, Tikhoretsk, Illinskaïa, Belaïa Glina, Kanevskaïa, Leningradskaïa, Novominskaïa, Novochtcherbinovskaïa, Starominskaïa, Starochtcherbinovskaïa, Chkourinskaïa.
The lack of archival sources is what makes the testimonies collected by Yahad so particular in this region. The gathered testimonies include important historical information on a larger scale.
As already noticed during our previous investigation trip in the Krasnodar region, the Nazis didn’t carry out their murders homogeneously throughout the studied territory. The organization of the murders differed not only at the level of towns and villages, but also at the level of investigated districts and areas. Although the Germans remained in the occupied territories for only six months, they set up ghettos in several places.
From a historical perspective, the extermination of Jewish refugees in Illinskaia has distinct characteristics among many other extermination sites. The absence of Soviet and German sources regarding the stanitsa – as well as the investigations our team conducted in Illinskaia – reveals the importance of the information gathered from Yahad's investigations.
Nazism claimed many victims in the Krasnodar region and prisoners of war – as well as communists, partisans, Jews and Gypsies – and they have a major place in National History. The POW camp of the stanitsa of Voronejskaia is the place where more than three thousand Soviet soldiers died.
The investigations conducted by Yahad-In Unum in this region show some specificities :
– The scarcity of Russian and German sources concerning the investigated territories
– The poisoning of Jewish children
– The existence of ghettos in spite of a 6-month Nazi occupation in this part of Russia
– The multiplicity of the victims