Bilohirsk (Bilogorsk, Belogorsk, Karasubazar) | Autonomic Republic of Crimea

/ View of the former Krymchak quarter . © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Nina L., a Jewish survivor, born in 1939: “The victims were shot in the back. I lost consciousness and felt inside the pit. I woke up at night  and tried to get out. Once out, I went to the nearest village.”  © Guillaume Ribot/ Yahad – In Unum Maria T., born in 1926: First, all the the Jews were ordered to wear six-pointed stars. Soon after, they were executed. The Krymchaks were still living. They tried to prove they weren’t Jewish. In early January, they were all shot.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov/YI Yahad-In Unum team talking with a witness during the field research  in Bilogorsk.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Execution site of 76 Ashkenazi Jews and Soviet marines who had dug the pit, murdered on December 10, 1941.   © Guillaume Ribot/ Yahad – In Unum    © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum The memorial to the 468 Jewish (Krymchak) victims of 17 and 18 January, 1942 killed in gas vans. It is located 1 kilometer south of the outskirts of Bilohirsk, former Karasubazar. Execution site n°2. © Guillaume Ribot/ Yahad – In Unum Location of the execution site of the Jewish victims © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Yahad’s team on the execution site© Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Karasubazar

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Anti-tank trench
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Nina L., born in 1939, explains: "One of my neighbors wrote a denunciation letter, accusing my grandparents of hiding a Jewish child. I was dressed in only one blouse and was taken by truck to the execution site. It was in April 1944, the Germans were rushing to execute the remaining Jews because the Soviet Army was approaching. I remember we were lined up above the ravine, the sun was shining. The victims were shot in the back. I lost consciousness and woke up at the night trying to get out from the pit. When I got out, I went to the nearest village." (Witness N°103, interviewed in Bilohirsk on December 24, 2004).

Soviet archives

«[…] At the beginning of the German-Romanian occupation the anti-tank trench was expanded to 3 meters in depth, 4 meters in width and 20 meters in length. In approximately the first half of December 1941 [the Germans] began to carry out mass shootings of town residents at this trench. In December 1941 I saw a group of about 70 Jews who had been brought from Karasubazar. In this group there were children of all ages. They were poisoned by smearing an ointment on their lips and then, when they were dead, they were thrown into the pit. The adults were shot to death. […]» [Deposition of Anastasiya L., eyewitness in Karasubazar, given to the Soviet Extraordinary commission on October 6, 1944; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 9, Delo 80].

Historical note

Bilohirsk, known until 1945 as Karasubazar, is a town located 45 km east from Simferopol.  A Jewish, Krymchak community existed there since the 14th century. In 1897, there were 3,144 Ashkenazi and Krymchak Jews in Bilohirsk. A small number of Karaites also lived in the town. There were two synagogues in the village, one for Ashkenazi Jews and another one for Krymchaks. The overwhelming majority of the Bilogorsk Jews were Krymchaks. The majority of them lived of small scale trade and craft.  After World War I, the Jewish community decreased due to famine and migration to bigger towns and represented only 16% of the total population among whom were Russian, Tatars, Bulgarians, Greek and Tatars.  On the eve of the war 429 Jews lived in the tows. Some 250 Jews managed to escape before the German’s arrival.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Bilohirsk was occupied by Germans on November 1st, 1941. A local police composed of Tatars and Russian was created. Shortly after the occupation, under an order all the Jews were forced to wear distinctive armbands bearing Star of David. There was no ghetto in the town. The first mass-shooting took place on December 10, 1941 when 76 Ashkenazi Jews were executed by the Germans in an anti-tank trench near the hatchery. According to Yahad’s witness, the shooting lasted 3 days. The small children were poisoned and thrown into the pit. The execution as conducted by Sondercommando 11b.  On January 17-18, 1942, 468 Krymchaks from the village and surrounding settlements were killed in a gas van and buried outside the town, on the road to Golovanivka, in two anti-tank trenches that were dug before the war. The trenches were located near the town’s hospital on the hill. During that day, all the Bilogorsk inhabitants had to stay at home and instructed to not look out the windows. The remaining Jews, mostly artisans, were executed later when the Germans didn’t need them anymore.


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