Staryi Krym | Crimea

/ This building was a Gendarmerie post at the time of the German occupation.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Yevgenia K., born in 1925:”There was a Karaite family, the Kurzums. They hid their 5 year-old son in one of the surrounding villages. The parents were shot dead inside the house.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Illya Z., born in 1928: “The Germans rounded-up all the Jews, even those from Koktebel. They all were taken towards the slaughterhouse and were shot behind it in ravine.  We could hear noises, cries, and machine gun fire.”  ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The former Kommandantur in Staryi Krym.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum team interviewing one of the witnesses in Staryi Krym.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum The place where the slaughterhouse was located. Some 105 Jews murdered here. © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum At this place, Soviet civilians were murdered in April 1944.  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Staryi Krym

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Darin-Kale ravine near the slaughterhouse
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Yevgenia K., born in 1925: “Before the war many Karaite families lived here, in Stary Krym. Once the Germans arrived they were persecuted as well. I remember there was one Karaite family. Their last name was Kurzums. They lived not far from us. They hid their 5 year-old son in one of the surrounding villages because they knew the Germans would kill them. The Germans came to their house and shot them dead. Later, somebody denounced the child, so the Germans brought him back to the town and forced the locals to watch the execution. They prepared a pit. This little boy asked them to spare his life, but the Germans didn’t care much. They shot him dead without mercy.” (Witness N°1686, interviewed in Staryi Krym, on May 15, 2013).

Soviet archives

« In November 1941, under the German administration, the entire Jewish population was registered and forced to wear white armbands on their sleeves as a distinctive mark. Raisa wore an armband as well and suffered because of it. On December 22, 1941 she, along with some other Jews, was taken by cart to Staryi Krym, guarded by the policeman Peter S. All the Jews were shot to death there. On January 13, 1942, Orlov, husband of Orlova (who was Jewish and was shot to death in December) met his family on January 13, at 10 o’clock. His daughter told him to come and take them since they would be allowed to go home at 2 p.m. He came at 2 p.m., but they had been already gone. They had been all shot to death. Orlov, who is Russian, told me about this on January 15. After his family was shot to death, he suffered badly. He almost went mad. » [Deposition of Nadezhda U., given to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission(ChGK); RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 9, Delo 53]

Historical note

Staryi Krym is a town located about 90 km east of Simferopol. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the 9th century. Starting from the 16th century Karaites and Krymchaks started to settle down.  And in 19th century many Ashkenazi Jews from Western parts arrived to Staryi Krym.   There was a Karait kenassa and cemetery in the town. The Staryi Krym synagogue built in the 14th century was closed and damaged after the 1917 Revolution. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and hand craft. According to the witnesses, in the interwar period, all the children went to the same school. Only Tatars had their own school. In 1939, there were 104 Jews in Staryi Krym comprising about 5% of the total population. More than half of them, about 60 people, managed to evacuate before the German occupation.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Staryi Krym was occupied on November 2, 1941. Shortly after the occupation, all the Jews were registered and marked with white armbands at the beginning and after with yellow Stars of David on their clothes. According to the Soviet archives, the executions took place between December 1941 and February 1942. Approximately 105 Jews from Stary Krym and surrounding areas were killed in that period. One of such executions during which about 50 local Jews, mostly women, children and elder people, were shot occurred in December 1941.  The execution was conducted at the Darin-Kale ravine area, a couple of meters from a slaughterhouse. According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad-In Unum, the Jews from Koktebel and other surrounding villages were also executed there after being confined in the town prison for several days.

According to another Yahad’s witness, one Karaite family was executed on the spot in their house. Besides the Jews, 62 Soviet prisoners of war, some 584 civilians and Roma were murdered in Staryi Krym under the occupation.

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