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The execution of the local Jewish population was horrible. Nazis assembled 400 people. They were forced to dig four huge ditches and then shot. That was a cruel burial of the dead and half-dead victims.

(From the story of G.A. Kirpich, 1998)

One third of the population from Staroselie was Jewish. When the village was occupied by the German army, a ghetto was not created here. The Jews lived in their own houses until the day of the execution.

Lubov Yegorovna Zhuravskaya.
Lubov Yegorovna Zhuravskaya.

Lubov Yegorovna Zhuravskaya, born in 1927.

"A lot of Jews were killed here. Among the survivors was Bronislava Surina, Rosman (whose relatives were killed in Schetinka), Zeiger and Surin. A memorial was set up here in 1957."

From the story of Zinovy Davydovich Surin, born in 1922.

I was born in Staroselie, Shklov region. Our village was rather big, about 100 households. There were about 30 Jewish families.

The Jews of Staroselie were shot in the summer of 1942. Sister Braina told me that in 1941 life in the village was relatively calm. Of course, everyone heard the stories about Jews executed in other villages. Braina managed to run away because she had been warned about what was going to happen.

First all the Jews were assembled in the building of the local primary school and kept there for a night. A punitive squad carried out the execution. They say that after the execution some local residents came to the execution site and took the victims' clothes. The Germans did not take anything.

In the evening Braina came home, where she met our brother. They decided to leave the village and went to Smolensk. In Smolensk they entered one of the houses to ask for some food. The house was filled with Nazi policemen, who caught Braina. She just managed to shout to our brother to run. So, Sema came back to Staroselie. In 1944 someone gave him away to the Nazis and he was shot in the village of Gvaltovnik.

Old Jewish house in Staroselie.
Old Jewish house in Staroselie.
Road to the old Jewish cemetery in Staroselie.
Road to the old Jewish cemetery in Staroselie.

Today there is a memorial on the mass grave, where about 200 people were buried. They were not only Jews from Staroselie, but also their numerous relatives that had come to the quiet place at the beginning of the war. There were also refugees from Mogilev and other areas of Belarus.

A modern well in Staroselie.
A modern well in Staroselie.

Braina did not look Jewish; she spoke excellent Russian and Belarusian. The Nazis forced her to sign a paper that she would cooperate with them and look for the partisans. Braina did not give anyone away and when the Red Army arrived, she was calm. She knew she had done nothing wrong. However, because of the paper that she had signed she was charged with treachery and sent to a camp in the Far East. Later Braina returned to Staroselie with her Belarusian husband. They did not have children.

(From Mogilev project "The lessons of the Holocaust")

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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