Mglin | Bryansk

/ Local scene in the town © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Local ambiance picture. At witness’ home. © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Varvara G., born in 1927, explains that at the beginning of the occupation, the Germans ordered the Jews to draw a yellow star on the front of their houses © David Merlin – Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Ksenia T. pointing out the place where she watched the mass shooting of the Jews. According to her, they were shot in two mass graves © David Merlin – Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Vasili K. shows the team the prison where the Jews were locked up for almost a month before being executed. Today, it is a psychiatric hospital © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Vasili K. shows the team the location of the morgue where the Jews had to undress to their underwear before the shooting. They were brought there in groups of 2-3 people © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum Vasili K. remembered that the day of the shooting, the Jews had to get undressed in the mortuary before being shot © David Merlin – Dufey –Yahad-In Unum The Yahad team during the interview © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum The monument to the 500 Mglin Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators © David Merlin-Dufey –Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Mglin

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Ksenia T., born in 1927, remembers the day when the Jews from Mglin were shot: “The shooting lasted almost the whole day. They finished at about 5pm. That day, I wanted to go to the town center but as I got closer to it, I was forced into the house by a policeman because apparently it was forbidden to circulate during the shooting. There were other Russians with me. That day was very cold, about -36 degrees. We could see what was happening through a window. The Jews had to walk from the prison towards the pits, situated about 500m away. They were walking just in their underwear, in a line, one by one. Once one got down to the edge of the pit, a German fired at him. When there was a mother with her children, the gunmen didn’t shoot the children; he hit the head of one against the head of another. There were Germans in green and black uniforms.” (Eyewitness N°121, interviewed in Mglin, on November 2, 2011).

Soviet archives

“On January 21, 1942, all the Mglin Jews, about 600 people, were locked up in the town’s prison where they had been kept in the [illegible] conditions, in the premises without heating and starving from hunger until March 02, 1942. That day, they were shot in a public park. The shooting started at 10am and ended in the afternoon. First, they shot all the men, then the women, teenagers and children. Before they stood along the pit, they had to take off their clothes and shoes in the guard’s shack. Afterwards, they were forced to walk on the snow towards the pit, where they were shot in the nape of the neck. Half of them, including babies or 3-4 year old children, were thrown in alive.” [Deposition of a Russian peasant, Ivan L., an eyewitness to those events, made to the Soviet extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-94]

Historical note

Mglin is a town located on the banks of the Sudynka River, 167 km (104 miles) west of Bryansk. Prior to the war, 726 Jews lived in the town. According to Yahad’s research, the majority of Jews were merchants and artisans. There was also a Jewish kolkhoz. There was a synagogue in the town, but it was closed before the war. Some of the Jews managed to evacuate before the Germans arrived. The town was occupied in the middle of August 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the occupation, all of the Jews were registered and marked. According to Varvara G. (Witness n°120), all of the Jews were forced to mark their houses with the Star of David. In January 1942, they were confined to a prison, where they stayed till the execution Aktion on March 02, 1942. While in prison, the Jews were used for forced labor. From their fieldwork, Yahad discovered that the prison was surrounded with stone fences, with electric cables over it. Concerning the shooting, the Jews were shot in groups of two or three. Before being executed, the Jews had to undress to underwear in the little house, which used to be a morgue, situated about 500m from the mass grave. The shooting was carried out by a special German punitive unit in black uniforms.

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