The last pictures of the Jews of Mogilev

The German forces arriving in Mogilev tell the Jewish women that they have to 'register' with the authorities.

On the 26th July 1941 the Germans captured the city of Mogilev, a district capital in what is now Belarus. About 50% of the inhabitants were Jewish, part of an ancient community that dated back to the 14th century. The Germans undertook the usual ‘special measures’ against them – and in the early stages a German photographer was on hand to take a series of photographs for propaganda purposes.

The men were apparently supplied with large yellow stars which they were forced to sow onto their clothes for the benefit of the camera.

They were then organised into work gangs under the supervision of the Germans.

They were then marched off to clear up the city streets.

They were put to work cleaning up the debris from the recent battle.

Another shot of the labour gang clearing up the street.

It appears that meanwhile the women and children were being evicted from their homes. These barefoot peasants were the ‘enemies of the Reich’. It is known that the Jewish community was at first ordered into ghettoes. However Einsatzgruppen ‘B’ soon arrived and began systematically shooting the entire Jewish population that remained in the town.

Women and children were allowed to gather some possessions and then evicted from their homes.

It is likely that these women and children were being marched off to a nearby ghetto on this occasion. However by the end of August 1941 the entire Jewish population of Mogilev had been shot.

When the Wehrmacht and the SS conducted a joint ‘seminar’ on anti Partisan operations on 24th September 1941 there were no Jews left in Mogilev. As part of a practical exercise during the seminar they went looking for ‘Partisans’ in the local area. They could find no strangers or partisans in the nearby village of Knjashizy, so they shot 32 Jews instead.

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