• Memorials to the Murdered Jews of Kerch
Several memorials in the Crimean city of Kerch honour the approximately 7,000 Jews from the city and surrounding areas who were murdered by SS mobile killing units in 1941/1942.
Image: Kerch, 1942, Bodies of murdered Jews, Yad Vashem
Kerch, 1942, Bodies of murdered Jews, Yad Vashem

Image: Kerch, 2009, Jewish museum in the Jewish community centre, Mark Goldsmith
Kerch, 2009, Jewish museum in the Jewish community centre, Mark Goldsmith
Kerch, a city in the east of the Crimean Peninsula, was home to over 5,000 Jews before World War II - 5% of the total population. German troops took Kerch on November 16, 1941, following the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. Shortly before the German invasion, some 3,000 Jews were able to flee from the city. The invading Wehrmacht was closely followed by SS-Sonderkommando 10b. Immediately upon arrival, the SS began repressions against the Jews. Between December 1 and 3, 1941, the members of Sonderkommando 10b shot about 2,500 Jews in the trenches outside of the city. Almost all of the remaining Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the end of the month. After launching a successful attack on Crimea, the Red Army retook Kerch on December 30, 1941. In May 1942, following fierce battles, the Wehrmacht once again drove back the Soviet troops, taking Kerch on May 23. In the weeks that followed, the SS murdered the remaining Jews, most of whom were Krymchaks - an ethnic minority of Jewish faith which spoke a Crimean-Tatar language. The German occupiers were at first indecisive as to whether they should consider the Krymchaks as being Jews. At the end of 1941, Berlin issued an order to the mobile killing unit according to which Krymchaks were to be considered Jews and thus murdered. Kerch was liberated by the Red Army on April 11, 1944.
Image: Kerch, 1942, Bodies of murdered Jews, Yad Vashem
Kerch, 1942, Bodies of murdered Jews, Yad Vashem

Image: Kerch, 2009, Jewish museum in the Jewish community centre, Mark Goldsmith
Kerch, 2009, Jewish museum in the Jewish community centre, Mark Goldsmith
In all, about 7,000 Jews from Kerch and vicinity were murdered by members of the SS mobile killing unit. Members of the SS shot approximately 5,500 Krymchaks in all of Crimea.
Image: Kerch, 2010, Memorial set up by the Jewish community, Miriam Halahmy
Kerch, 2010, Memorial set up by the Jewish community, Miriam Halahmy

Image: Kerch, 2005, Soviet Holocaust memorial at the Bagerovsgo trench, Stiftung Denkmal
Kerch, 2005, Soviet Holocaust memorial at the Bagerovsgo trench, Stiftung Denkmal
In 1976, a memorial was dedicated to the murdered Jews in Kerch, at the site of one of the mass shootings - the former Bagerovsgo trench. A further memorial was unveiled on another authentic site - also a former trench - in 1991. In 2010, the Jewish community erected a memorial of its own; the Jewish community also runs a Jewish museum in the city. There are several monuments in Kerch, most of which honour the Soviet soldiers who twice liberated the city from German occupation.
Image: Kerch, 2010, Memorial to the murdered Jews, Miriam Halahmy
Kerch, 2010, Memorial to the murdered Jews, Miriam Halahmy
Name
Pamjatniki schertwam holokosta - ewrejam Kertschi
Phone
+380 (0)806561 62387