Krasnoye (Krasnae, Krasnei) | Minsk

The view of the market square, 1902. ©Taken from The Katz family from Krasnoye. ©Taken from / The local railway line. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum A few tombstones, long since destroyed, remain at the site of the former Jewish cemetery. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Pre-war home of a Jewish family. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Rostislav K., born in 1930: “Some Jews hid in the caves and escaped through the tunnels. Some of them joined the partisans.” ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Anna B., 1930: “The Germans decided to spare two doctors, but not their daughter Lilechka. She tried to escape from the column but she was struck to the ground by a dog.” ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Location of the local ’klub’. It was singe storey building and used as the ghetto. It no longer exists. A new building stands at the site today. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum This street formed part of the ghetto. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview near the execution site. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum A local woman shows us the street where she saw the column being marched to the execution site. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The Jews were taken from the ghetto to the shooting site down this path. At the time it was a very narrow passageway. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The witness shows us the execution site located in a small field between houses. Once at the site, the victims were forced to undress and were shot in the barn, which was set on fire after the shooting. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Krasnoye

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
A barn in a field
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 1,400 and 2,340

Witness interview

Anna B., born in 1930: “Our family saved a Jewish woman, Anna Moiseievna, and her daughter Irochka. They arrived in our village from Minsk. Anna had a Tartar passport and spent some time doing some agricultural work for the Germans, while I took care of Irochka. We shared food and I spent all my time with her. When the Germans learned that they were Jewish and decided to kill them, my father told them to go to the forest and pretend to forage for berries. My brother waited for them there with a cart. He took them to the partisan unit. But the partisans didn’t accept the baby, so Anna had to leave her daughter with a Belarusian family, while she stayed with the partisans. They survived the war, came back to us after it was over before moving first to Minsk and later emigrating to the United States.” (Witness n°932, interviewed in Krasnoye on August 2, 2017)

Soviet archives

“In March, the German soldiers and doctors arrived in Krasnoye from Vileyka. They ordered the local German authorities to round up all the Jews. Once rounded up, they were lined up in columns and taken to the building of the former forest district. The soldiers encircled the building. Once inside, the Jews had to undress down to their underwear. Then, they were taken to the barn surrounded by Gestapo soldiers. The machine guns had been installed in front of the building. Then the soldiers were ordered to fire. The Jews who were still alive had to crawl over the dead, but then they were shot in turn. The barn was burned down with the victims’ bodies inside. That day, 2340 people were killed.” [Act drawn up byt the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) after the liberation; RG22.002M: 7021-83-14, p.327]

German archives

“Several hundred Jews from Krasnoye and nearby localities were confined in the Krasnoye ghetto. [...] As far as I remember, the ghetto was guarded by Wehrmacht soldiers. A Jew, called O., prepared a group for manual labor the previous evening, and members of my unit arrived in the morning to pick them up and bring them back in the evening.
At our place, the Jews were assigned to clean, maintain and load weapons and machines. We were very satisfied with the work of our Jewish workers [...].
One morning, at the end of March 1943 or 1944, I learned that some soldiers had been assigned to cordon off and guard the territory during the shooting of Jews in the ghetto. The shooting took place behind the ghetto, on the edge of the village of Krasnoye. The liquidation lasted until early afternoon. It was conducted by the SD commando, composed of Latvians and others. To get an idea of what was going on, I went to the execution site myself. I stayed there for ten minutes. When I arrived, a group of Jews - men, women and children - were on the site, about thirty meters from a barn. They were almost naked. I heard shots in the barn. The Jews were taken in in groups of three to four people and shot as soon as they entered. [...] Their bodies were burned in the barn at the end of the execution.” [Deposition of Georg B., a Heeresfeldzeugpark soldier, born in 1914, drawn up on December 19, 1961 in Wiesbaden; B162-1294, p. 2]

Historical note

Krasnoye is located 50km northwest of Minsk. The first written records of the settlement date back to the second half of the 15th century. After the Second Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1793, it became a part of the Russian empire. According to the census of 1897, 1,019 people lived in Krasnoye. The majority of Jews were engaged in small-scale trade and handcraft. There were 22 shops owned by Jews and 8 taverns. According to the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, Krasnoye became a part of the interwar Polish Republic. In 1939, it fell under control of the USSR. Krasnoye was occupied by the German forces on June 25, 1941. About 350 Jews inhabited the village at the time.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish measures were implemented soon after the occupation. All the Jews were marked with yellow Stars of David and forced to carry out hard labor. The German administration created the Judenrat in order to control the Jewish population, who were forbidden to leave the village. Local policemen systematically beat Jews and confiscated their property. In the late summer/early autumn, a ghetto was created on Naberezhnaya, Rodoshkovskaya and 17 Sentiabria streets. It was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by German soldiers. Due to the harsh winter of 1941-1942, as well as terrible living conditions, many Jewish detainees died of hunger and disease in the ghetto. In the spring of 1942, all the Jews fit to work, including those who were transferred in from the liquidated ghetto in the Molodechno and Lida districts, were forced to carry out the manual work at the repair workshop for the Wehrmacht artillery and ground forces, known as Heeresfeldzeugpark. In addition, on August 19, 1942, about 700 Jewish workers were transferred to Krasnoye from Baranovichi. In all, about 2, 850 Jews were confined into the ghetto by the spring of 1943.

According to the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, there were two ghettos, we believe that the second one was located at the barracks constructed near the repair workshop where some of the Jewish prisoners deemed fit to work were detained. The ghettos were liquidated during an Aktion conducted on March 19, 1943. All the Jews were rounded up and gathered at the synagogue. They were then taken to a barn located on the banks of the Usha river. There, they were forced to undress and were shot inside the barn. Those who tried to escape were shot on the spot. Their bodies were later piled up and burned inside the barn. Some victims were burned alive. According to the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, 2,340 Jews were killed during this Aktion, including 349 Jews from Krasne. About a hundred of Jewish inmates managed to escape to the forest and joined the partisans.


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