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Vasily Yemelianovich Tsirkunov.
Vasily Yemelianovich Tsirkunov.

The story is based on materials, collected by Vasily Yemelianovich Tsirkunov, a former director of Golovchin museum.

The site of execution in Budki. Now located at the bottom of a pond.
The site of execution in Budki.
Now located at the bottom of a pond.

The settlement of Golovchin was mainly Jewish. According to the census held in 1894, the population of Golovchin was 1250 people, with 433 of them – Jewish. At the beginning of 1908 there were 911 Christians and 676 Jews. The town had several Jewish schools.

Before the war, more than half of the population in the town was Jewish. Until 1941 everyone in the town lived in peace.

On July 5, 1941 Germans invaded Golovchin. The first repressions against Jews began immediately. The first executions started in September 1941 in a ditch near Budki.

There is no memorial on the site of the execution but we have the names of the victims and several photographs. The museum had photographs of one of the families. Here is their story. Sima Yevseyevna, a Jewish woman, married a Belarusian man, Nikifor Drakin. He was mobilized and killed in 1942. They had two small children – a six-year-old Sergey and an 8-year-old Galina. The woman did not try to evacuate the family. She, together with the children, was living with her husband’s parents. Someone reported on Sima and she was killed together with the children in December 1941.

All in all, 126 local Jews were executed in Golovchin: 52 men and 74 women. 67 people were sent to the ghetto in Belynichi and shot on December 12, 1941. The rest of the Jews were executed in Budki, near Golovchin.

According to the census held in 1999, neither Golovchin, nor other settlements of Belynichi region, had any Jewish population. In Belynichi there were 22 Jews.

(Taken from the materials of a former museum).

Maria Filimonovna Gribalova.
Maria Filimonovna Gribalova.

Maria Filimonovna Gribalova, born in 1929

I am 78. I was born in Golovhin. The town used to have a wooden synagogue, which was closed down in about 1938-1939.

Map of Golovchin.
Map of Golovchin from the memories of D.L. Meinster.
Provided by V.Y. Tsirkunov.

I know that only two families left Golovchin before the invasion: the Magarases and the Henkins. The Magarases came back to Golovchin after the war and moved to Mogilev in the 1950s, where they died. Their daughter Ida is now living in Israel. The Henkins went to live in Leningrad after the war. They had two daughters: Rimma (Fruma) Akselrod (born in 1923) and Tsilia (Sonia) (born in 1929). Fruma visited Golovchin several times afterwards.

(Taken from the archive of Mogilev project “The lessons of the Holocaust”).

From the story of Anna Platonovna Kuzmina, born in 1914

I originate from Golovchin. It used to be a nice-looking town. The local Jews had their own shops and were involved in trade. They had cows, horses, chicken, turkey and geese. They did not keep swine.

The last matseiva from the Jewish cemetery in Golovchin.
The last matseiva from the Jewish cemetery
in Golovchin.

A shoichet was our neighbor. Many people brought him chickens, especially on Fridays. On Fridays everybody cleaned their houses. There were no drunkards in the town.

We were all friends with the Jews. We went to school together. My father could speak Yiddish rather well. My parents had a lot of Jewish friends. On Saturdays they would have tea with Berka and Yevel and speak Yiddish. Once I asked them what they were talking about because I could understand nothing. My father replied: “You have to learn.” So I began learning Yiddish from my friends.

There is a Jewish cemetery in Golovchino. We used to live not far from it. Before the war it used to be very well looked after. There was a brick fence and metal gates. People used to bring a lot of flowers. Now the cemetery is deserted.

(Taken from the archive of Mogilev project “The lessons of the Holocaust”).

Prepared by A. Litin and I. Shenderovich
Photos taken by A. Litin

The list of the executed Jews from Golovchin

Jewish settlements in Mogilev region

MogilevAntonovkaBatsevichiBelynichiBelynkovichiBobruiskByhovChausyCherikov Dashkovka DribinEsmonyGluskGolovchinGorki GoryGrozdianka Hotimsk KirovskKlichev KonohovkaKostukovichi KrichevKruchaKrugloye Lenino LubonichiMartinovka MoliatichiMstislavlNaprasnovkaOsipovichi RodniaRudkovschina SamotevichiSapezhinkaSeletsShamovoShepelevichiShklovSlavgorodStaroselieSukhariSvislochVereschaki ZaverezhieZhilichi

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