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A. Litin, I. Shenderovich


Krichev is an administrative center of Krichev region, located on the river Sozh.

The town was first mentioned in documents in 1136. In the 12th century it was a defense fortress and an administrative center.

At the beginning of the 19th century the population of Krichev was about 2.000 people (371 households). There were 6 Orthodox churches, 1 Catholic and 2 synagogues. In 1847 the Jewish community of Krichev consisted of 1225 people. In 1897 the population of Krichev was 6637 people, 2566 of them Jewish. In 1910 Krichev had a private Jewish college. By 1928 the town had 5 synagogues.

From July 17, 1941 to September 30, 1943 the town was occupied by fascist troops. During the occupation more than 24,000 residents were murdered.

In 2004 the population of the town was 28,000 people. Today Krichev has its own religious Jewish community.

Prepared by I. Shenderovich, A. Litin, Mogilev, 2009

The Holocaust

Krutaya Debra – place of the execution of Jews near the linen factory.
Krutaya Debra – place of the execution of Jews near the linen factory.
Memorial near Krichev cement factory. Here hundreds of Krichev Jews were executed. Memorial near Krichev cement factory.
Memorial near Krichev cement factory.
Here hundreds of Krichev Jews were executed.

Most of the Jews in the town were shot by Nazis in October-November 1941 in a ditch near a cement factory, in Krutaya Debra near the linen factory and in the forest near the village of Prudok. The exact number of the Jews murdered in Krichev is unknown.

Gerasim Sviridovich Zaitsev, a resident of Krichev, born in 1891.

I was a witness of how the Germans tortured the Jewish population of Krichev. In the autumn of 1941 about 80 Jewish residents were assembled. They were kept in unbearable conditions, given only water and forced to work. The weak, who could not work, were beaten up and made to dig a ditch. They were later shot.

Yevdokia Prokofievna Byrbo, a resident of Krichev, born in 1921.

In the autumn of 1941 I was arrested by Germans on suspicion that I was Jewish. I witnessed all the tortures that the arrested Jews had to go through. When I told the Germans I was not Jewish they would hit me on the head with a cane. I saw an arrested girl named Sonia tortured. She had to stand on red-hot iron barefoot and was pricked with needles. Later she was undressed and shot.

After two months of torture sixty arrested Jews were taken to a cement factory and made to dig out a grave. They were shot. I was freed due to the requests of Krichev residents.

From the story of Maria Savelievna Kovaleva (Mirlina), born in 1929

I was born in Krichev and used to live there before the war. The town consisted mainly of Jewish houses, especially the center. All the synagogues had already been closed before the war started, and so had the Jewish schools. I used to attend a Russian school, the building of which had once been a synagogue. My sisters also graduated from that school when it was a Jewish one. In the school there were a lot of Jewish students and teachers. Our German teacher was Yelizaveta Yakovlevna Bakunina, mathematics teacher – Sarah Azarovna Dodkina.

My best friend was Zina Mer. She, together with her mother and brother, were killed during the war in Krichev. Their father was at the battlefront and survived. There was also Maria Kurbatskaya, who is living in Volgograd, Mara Ioffe, who is living in Nizhny Novgorod. I also remember the Zhdanovich, the Beilins, the Temkins, and the Krimermans.

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

Jewish settlements in Mogilev region

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

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