Myadel (Stary Myadel and Nowy Myadel, Myadzyel, Miadel) | Minsk

On the front steps of the Alperovich family (Shlomo & Rivka) home. The children are dressed in school holiday dresses. ©Taken from Ken Hashomer Hatzir from 1932. ©Taken from Meeting of youth from Myadel, Kurenitz and Smorgon on lake Miastro. Early 1930s. ©Taken from Shimon Bernstein family. Myadel 1934. ©Taken from Azriel Bernstein Family. Myadel 1934. ©Taken from Myadel 1929 - Yoseph and Rivka Bernstein and their son Avram Itze. ©Taken from The Estrin family in the early 1930s. ©Taken from / The former Jewish cemetery of Myadel, where the Jewish men were reburied several days after the shooting. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The former building of the Kommandantur. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The synagogue was located at the beginning of Yevreyskaya street (now Sovetskyi pereulok). ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The team interviewing Mikhail G. as he shows them a street of the former ghetto. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Mikhail G., born in 1929, points out the execution site of a Jewish man in Myadel. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Mikhail G., born in 1929, a Jewish survivor. He escaped with his family and other Jews into the forest in 1942. During a search operation, his parents and his little brother were shot in the forest. He managed to escape. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum A group of young people after the war. Michal G. is in the middle. ©From the family archives of Mikhail taken by Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum A group of young people after the war. ©From the family archives of Mikhail taken by Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during the interview at the execution site with Vyacheslav K.  ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Vyacheslav K.,born in 1929, showed us where he saw the column of Jews leaving the larger road to head towards a pit that had been dug in the forest. It was escorted by local policemen and a German soldier, giving orders. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum Vyacheslav K., born in 1929, followed the column up to the execution site and watched the shooting from a distance: “The Jews were shot in small groups in the pit.” ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The killing site of 60 Jews from the town on September 21, 1942 in Myadel. ©Jethro Massey/Yahad - In Unum The execution place in Myadel is located in the forest near the lake, about 100 meters from the road. The place looked the same before. © Jethro Massey-Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Myadel

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Swamp/Clearing in the forest
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Vyacheslav K., born in 1930: “A big pit was dug in the forest near Myadel on the day of the shooting. In the afternoon, all Jews were escorted to the shooting site by a single German accompanied by many policemen. They walked calmly down the road in the direction of Minsk. There were 32 people in the column, with many little children among them. I was standing near the road and counted them. There was only one German following the column, the other guards were policemen in civilian clothing. The column was escorted to the shooting site located in a small forest, 50m from the road and just 10m from the lake. Three people dug the pit; they left together with the shooters to Myadel. The two richest Jews were spared by the Germans, but later shot in a swamp.” (Testimony n°890, interviewed in Kochergi, on May 17, 2016)

Soviet archives

"At the beginning of September 1941, 6 Jews were arrested and taken to a burned house which belonged to a certain K. They were forced to move burnt bits of wood. Later, a dog was set loose on them until they passed out. It lasted 3 hours. Later, they brought in another 45 Jews, adults and elderly people among them. They were arranged in columns of two and taken to a grove called Mkhi (the ravine of Mkhi), located 1.5km away from Myadel. They were forced to dig a pit. Once they finished they were shot.

In the middle of September 1942, the gendarmes, headed by K., organized a round-up of the Jewish population. They arrested over 100 people, 69 of them were enclosed in the barn and the others were taken to the place called Bor to dig the pit. After that, 69 Jews were tied up together and escorted to the pit where they were shot”. [Act drawn by State Extraordinary Commission in 1945, to the; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 89, Delo 10]

German archives

“There were 60 Jewish families living in Novy Myadel, and about 7 in Stary Myadel. The Germans arrived in July 1941, and 7 weeks later they started their massacres. The 1st Elul (about September 1941), 21 Jews were killed. The 2nd Aktion took place on the day of Yom Kippur. A group of Jews escaped to the forest. After the escape, a big Aktion was conducted in Myadel, during which 70 Jews were killed. Those who stayed were tortured terribly and shot afterwards. For the Jews who managed to survive, a ghetto was established on the old Jewish street.” [Extract from the testimony of a Jewish survivor; B162-5885 p.36]

Historical note

Myadel, founded in 1324, is located 120km north-west of Minsk on the bank of the Myastra Lake. In 1897, the Jewish community numbered 436 Jews and represented almost 40% of the local population. By 1921, the number of Jews dropped significantly due to emigration. There were only 133 Jews living in the town in 1921. The majority of Jews lived off of small trade. In 1914, there were 9 bakeries, 2 taverns and 41 shops. All the shops were located on the central square. Many Jews were artisans, shoemakers, or tailors. There were two-storied brick synagogue, and a heder, located on the Jewish street.  The Germans occupied the town on July 2, 1941. On the eve of the war, there were about 200 Jews in Myadel. According to the archives, Novy Myadel counted 60 Jewish families in 1941, and Stary Myadel counted Jewish 7 families. The town was occupied by the Germans on July 2, 1941. By that time only 5% of Jews had managed to evacuate. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the German’s arrival, all Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing signs on their chests and backs. A local police and a Judenrat were created. The Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor. Systematically, all Jews had to pay contributions in gold and other valuables. They were also subjected to different kinds of humiliation and torture. During one act of torture, 6 Jews were mauled by dogs. Another day, all Jews were forced into the lake where they remained for one hour surrounded by policemen. There were men, women and the elderly among them. The majority of Jews could return to their homes afterwards.

The first Aktion was conducted in August 1941 against 21 Jewish men who were rounded-up by the police and taken to the swamps outside the town and shot. Among the victims were the local Rabbi Abram Shmuel Kashchevskyi and the uncle of the Jewish survivor, Mikhail G.,  interviewed by Yahad. The corpses were reburied afterwards at the Jewish cemetery by family members.

Three months after, a ghetto was created in Novy Myadel which included Yevreskaya Street and existed for one year, until its liberation by partisans in November 1942. According to the witness, it was not fenced in, only guarded. The Jews were allowed to walk on the streets, but were forbidden to leave the town. The Jewish inmates exchangied their belongings for food brought to them by farmers. Little by little, the resistance was organized with the help of the local partisans. On the night of September 19, 1942, about 70 Jews fled. After that the Germans and local police gathered about 70 people and took them into the forest 2km south of the town where they were shot. According to the witness, about 46 people among the escapees were shot.

In late September 1942, the Myadel ghetto numbered about a hundred Jews, including 50 workers transferred in from Kobylnik. According to a witness interviewed by Yahad - In Unum, two days later, 60 of them were shot, but the remaining skilled workers were spared because they worked for the German administration. Only 50 Jews of prewar population survived the Holocaust. 

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