Materials of scientific conferences

Feferman Kiril. “Jewish Refugees and Evacuees under Soviet Rule and German Occupation: The North Caucasus”.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a refugee is “any uprooted, homeless, involuntary migrant who has crossed a frontier and no longer possesses the protection of his former government.”[1] It is common knowledge that a refugee leads a difficult life that involves adapting to a new environment often with a different language and culture. Usually, too, a refugee has no way back, having been persecuted for one reason or another in his former surroundings, as a result of which he or she chose or was forced to escape. It follows that the attitude to him of the authorities and the local population in the receiving country is crucial in enabling him to survive the transition period without undue suffering.

The large-scale flight eastwards of Jews from the Soviet Union’s western areas in the initial phase following the German invasion in June 1941 placed them in the aforementioned category.[2] Jews who stayed in territory under German rule faced the danger of physical extermination. Jews who fled into their country’s interior were moving within their own country, to regions ruled by their own government, and arriving in areas whose official language and culture were familiar, or at least not foreign, to them. Furthermore, the flight eastwards was often undertaken with explicit encouragement from the authorities, who had an interest in removing certain sections of their citizenry from the Germans’ reach. After a short period of utter turmoil at the very beginning of the war with Germany, the central Soviet government adopted decisions to this effect.[3]

In this respect one has to distinguish between two different processes: organized evacuation conducted by the government and non-organized flight by private persons on their own responsibility and initiative. This differentiation has been made in research on the Soviet Union in World War II.[4] The difference between the two processes notwithstanding, testimonies and scholarly literature usually refer to both as ‘evacuation.’ The present author preserves this tradition, referring to both organized evacuation and non-organized flight as ‘evacuation,’ unless explicitly stated otherwise. The terms ‘evacuee,’ ‘refugee,’ and ‘newcomer’ are used interchangeably to denote all those who moved into and out of the North Caucasus, whether under a government-initiated program or on their own.

Jewish evacuation to the North Caucasus comprises a special case. In the first place, the numbers involved were significantly greater than to any other area that was later occupied by the Germans.[5] Secondly, the circumstances under which it took place altered radically after the first six or so months of the war. Quantitatively and qualitatively we are speaking of fundamentally different movements. In 1941 hundreds of thousands of Jews escaped to the North Caucasus, most of them on their own initiative. Only a small percentage remained in the region, the majority continuing their flight eastwards, usually after several weeks, but sometimes months. In 1942 the small remaining Jewish population was further reinforced by evacuees brought in by the government.

The terms ‘Caucasus’ and ‘North Caucasus’ are used interchangeably and denote for the purposes of this study: 1) Krasnodar Krai, including the Autonomous Oblast’ of Adygeia, 2) most of Ordzhonikidze (Stavropol’) Krai, [6] including the Autonomous Oblast’ of Karachaevo, 3)the Autonomous Republic of Kalmykia, 4)the Autonomous Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, and 5)part of the Autonomous Republic of North Osetia. The area’s population was composed as follows:

Table 1. National composition of the population of the North Caucasus according to the 1939 census (in thousands).

Kabardino-Balkaria North Osetia Krasnodar Krai Incl. Adygea Stavropol Krai Incl. Karachaevo-Cherkessia
Russians[7] 127.1 156.1 2,748.8 203.7 1,465.7 124.0
Ukrainians 11.0 9.6 149.7 7.7 40.8 4.3
Georgians 1.2 6.9 4.3 0.2 3.0 0.1
Armenians 1.1 10.9 60.4 2.1 24.5 0.9
Tatars 3.0 1.3 6.4 1.7 6.1 0.9
Germans 4.7 4.3 34.2 0.8 43.0 0.6
Kabardians 150.3 4.1 0.2 0.1 4.3 1.6
Balkars 39.0 1.8 0.2
Osetians 4.3 168.4 0.6 8.9 3.9
Adygians 0.3 0.2 60.4 55.8 17.1 15.8
Karachais 0.1 0.1 73.5 67.8
Gypsies 0.1 0.3
Greeks 0.1 2.0 42.5 1.7 9.4 1.5
Jews 4.6 2.1 7.6 0.3 7.1 0.3

Source: Vladimir Kabuzan, Naselenie Severnogo Kavkaza v 19 – 20 vekakh: etnostatisticheskoe issledovanie (The Population of the Northern Caucasus in the 19th and 20th Centuries: An Ethnostatistical Study; Rus. – St. Petersburg: Russko-Baltiiskii Informatsionnyi tsentr BLITZ, 1996), 209. Kabuzan bases his data on the censuses of 1937 and 1939.

To comprehend the issue under discussion, a number of general observations are in order. First, the Soviet Union was the only country during World War II that was able to carry out a large-scale evacuation of its population. This unique situation came about as a result of the fact that the country was not subdued in a single Blitzkrieg-style thrust, giving the government time to relocate people; there was also sufficient territory, where those evacuated could be resettled. At the same time, the measure of success of the Soviet evacuation effort was contingent on the proximity of the German armies: the closer they were, the more difficult it was to conduct evacuation.

Secondly, Soviet policies were ambiguous with respect to evacuation of citizens – which played an ancillary role as compared to the transfer of industrial facilities.[8] Certain categories were required to evacuate: the government bureaucracy plus everyone who, it was believed, would be able to take part in the country’s war effort in the short or long term, including children, doctors and skilled workers. However, somewhat paradoxically, the Soviet totalitarian state, which had hitherto placed severe limitations on freedom of movement, did not say explicitly to its citizens at this critical time whether to go or to stay in the areas from which evacuation was to be carried out.

Fluctuations in Soviet evacuation policies resulted from Moscow’s general war strategy. Most specifically, the Soviet authorities faced a basic dilemma between the necessity to conduct the evacuation of civilian population in due time and the fear to spread alarmism. The government-initiated evacuation influenced the mood of the population that was not included in the list of those for whom evacuation was mandatory, as it drew conclusions with respect to the stability of the Soviet regime and the ensuing necessity to flee from the threatened region.[9] Initiation and/or intensification of evacuation served as an indication of the approach of the Germans and/or lack of resolution of the Soviet forces to defend the region at all cost. Conversely, the gradual character of the evacuation had the ‘side effect’ of creating the impression that the situation was under control and there was no need to resort to hasty flight.

Despite its shortcomings, the government-sponsored evacuation program was a large-scale one and often served as the only rescue route for Soviet Jews. Although it did not prioritize the evacuation of Jews, many of them were able to avail themselves of it and to save their lives. Their struggle for survival in Soviet-held areas, often in dire straits in remote regions of a war-stricken country – one of the less studied subjects in Holocaust-related research – is beyond the concern of this article. It should, however, be stressed that their difficulties notwithstanding, evacuees in areas not subsequently occupied by the Germans were spared the total physical annihilation that was the lot of those who stayed on in North Caucasus.[10]

Those Soviet Jews who failed to evacuate and were not drafted into the Red Army[11] stayed in the vast territory that fell under German control. The Soviet Union was the only country (except Yugoslavia) where the annihilation of Jews commenced before the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. Extermination was especially prompt in the so-called old Soviet territories – that is, in the areas that had belonged to the Soviet Union prior to the annexations that followed upon the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939 – since the Germans regarded the Jews living there as the very backbone of the Bolshevik regime. The destruction of Soviet Jewry in German-occupied territories was almost total. Assessments of the Holocaust death toll diverge, depending on definitions (for example, they may or may not include POWs and Jews from the annexed areas) but whatever the estimates one may safely talk of millions of Holocaust victims in the Soviet Union. That the survival rate was not high is not surprising given the singularly ruthless character of the regime established by the Germans in the East, the Ostraum (as compared to the rest of occupied Europe) and the anti-Semitic sentiment harbored by many among the local population (sometimes exasperated, sometimes mitigated by twenty years of Soviet rule).

Under Soviet Governance

The North Caucasus first emerged as an important evacuation destination in summer – autumn 1941, when it was still not clear whether the German advance towards the region could be checked. That the Soviet authorities considered the area under threat can be seen from decisions in late October 1941 to erect a line of defense and create an extermination (istrebitelnyi) battalion in Stavropol Krai.[12] It seems that the Soviet policy of directing people to so dangerous a region was motivated mainly by the absence of alternative rescue routes.

Great numbers of evacuees and refugees flocked to the North Caucasus after the beginning of the war. According to Soviet wartime documents, 37,165 evacuees arrived in Krasnodar Krai alone during the single week July 19-25, 1941.[13] By early autumn this number had grown considerably and by September 10, it reached 205,000.[14] It is notable that most of the evacuees were registered in the region’s Russian areas; by the end of 1941, there were just 16,470 Jewish evacuees in Kabardino-Balkaria and 5,072 families in North Ossetia.[15] The result was a considerable growth of the Jewish population with evacuees and refugees overshadowing the small native Jewish population of North Caucasus.[16]

The only available statistical research on the national composition of the evacuees – conducted in Krasnodar Krai – revealed that “as of October 1, 1941, 218,000 people, 73 percent of them Jews, had been received and accommodated.”[17] Evidence from Jewish testimonies pertaining to specific localities supports the claim that as of autumn 1941 Jews constituted the majority or at least a considerable portion of the newcomers all over the Krai.[18] The very high share of Jews among the evacuees may be cautiously extrapolated onto other parts of North Caucasus.

Jews came to the Caucasus from a number of places, including Moscow[19] and Crimea.[20] However, the biggest stream of Jewish refugees arrived, whether in organized fashion or autonomously, from Bukovina,[21] central,[22] southern[23], and particularly neighboring eastern Ukraine,[24] and Moldavia.[25] The gender and age composition of the Jewish evacuees indicates a predominance of young and middle-age women;[26] at the same time, the proportion of elderly persons aged 60 and over was considerable.[27] There were rather few young and middle-aged men, many – probably the great majority of – men aged 18 to 45 being in the military.[28] Some arrived as families, whether elderly couples,[29] single elderly persons with their middle-aged children,[30] or mothers with small children.[31] The available data do not enable us to draw precise conclusions about the social composition of the newcomers. Yet, the sizable presence of housewives stands out.[32]

Of particular note is the very high share of children. Many of them were brought to the Caucasus within the framework of the organized evacuation of 24 children’s homes.[33] Their share was already high at the beginning of evacuation into the region but it had increased sharply by January 1942 (when children comprised almost half of the refugees who remained in Krasnodar Krai).[34] The reason for this growth was that many adults abandoned the Caucasus individually. Children, however, who were placed in special state institutions, could not continue eastwards on their own and there was no order from the Soviet authorities to evacuate them in organized fashion.

The authorities attempted to care both for those who were brought to the region under government auspices and for the refugees. Many, but by no means all, newcomers were registered,[35] and apparently the great majority were supplied with food. The refugees were accommodated free of charge in the houses of private persons,[36] or in state-owned buildings, where living conditions were sometimes extremely difficult, as indicated by an excerpt from a letter pertaining to the situation in Budennovsk in October 1941: “Upon our arrival it was proposed that we go to kolkhozes situated some 50-70-100 km from Budennovsk, but we decided to stay in the town. We live with two wives of military men in a room allocated by the Military Commissariat (voenkomat)… It was proposed [that one of the female respondents] work as a book-keeper in a kindergarten. We decided not to move anywhere. We were provided with a room and firewood… People experience enormous difficulties with fuel; coal cannot be procured at any price… As compared to other people we fare really well, many are envious of us.” [37]

This testimony suggests that there was a connection between accommodation and employment. The evacuees willing to stay in the region were eager to be employed to obtain an additional source of food and material provision. However, the employment policy adhered to by the authorities was not constant throughout the period under review. In the early stages of the war refugees were provided with work in towns[38] and in rural areas,[39] which may indicate long-term Soviet plans to settle the refugees in the region. But in retrospect, it is clear that getting a job turned out to be a trap, as those who were employed were least inclined to move on.[40] As the influx of refugees continued to grow throughout summer – autumn 1941, the government program came under increasing strain. Consequently, those who came in autumn were not always provided with employment or food.[41]

According to a Soviet wartime report, many newcomers were reluctant to follow the evacuation regulations and tended to settle down where they thought fit and not where the authorities wanted them. The document of the local Krasnodar agency in charge of the ‘resettlement’ policy dated apparently September 1941 is instructive: “The evacuees constantly leave the areas assigned to them and bombard the resettlement department with persistent requests to dispatch them to other areas and districts.”[42]

The Soviet military meticulously checked evacuees, including body searches at transfer points.[43] The authorities were alarmed at the prospect of the “infiltration of enemy agents” under the guise of refugees, as a “Directive letter of the Krasnodar AUCP(b) Territorial Committee on work with the evacuees” from September 1941 demonstrates: “The fascists are dispatching inhabitants of occupied districts to the Red Army’s rear in order to undermine Soviet defense, etc. It is necessary to check all suspects thoroughly.”[44] Finally, on 6 October 1941, the NKVD Administration of Krasnodar Krai ordered a security check of all newcomers.[45]

As a result of security and logistical problems, the Soviet authorities became increasingly concerned with the incessant influx of evacuees. They therefore attempted to regulate it. As of September 30, 1941, they placed a ban on registration of newcomers and in key industrial and military centers empowered local authorities to dispatch to work all non-working people within two days of their arrival.[46] Probably as an even more restrictive step, the local authorities endeavored to limit the number of those who came into the region and settled there by deciding “to entrust the issuance of resettlement permits to the military authorities.”[47] However, the problem was solved only over a period of several months as the majority of the newcomers left the North Caucasus for destinies further into the Soviet rear.

Jewish evacuees were dispatched to locations all over North Caucasus: to both towns and (Russian) villages, including Cossack settlements (stanitsy).[48] There is no record that Jewish refugees were ever sent to villages of autochthonous Muslim ethnicities, which probably indicates the reluctance of the Jews to reside in an entirely unfamiliar setting. Be this as it may, according to a Soviet report, of the 51,353 people who remained in Krasnodar Krai as of January 1942 – out of 226,000 “who were evacuated there” – 39,100 had been allotted to villages.[49]

As the situation on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front stabilized in the winter of 1941-1942, the Soviet authorities began to view the North Caucasus as a relatively safe shelter for refugees from other regions. It is against this backdrop that one should view the Soviet decision to evacuate many people from besieged Leningrad to the North Caucasus, primarily to the territories of Krasnodar and Stavropol.[50] The decision began to be implemented in the winter months of 1941-1942 when evacuation from Leningrad was made possible through the iced Lake of Ladoga.[51] 36,000 evacuees from Leningrad were accommodated in Krasnodar Krai alone in April 1942.[52] Moreover, during the first half of 1942, Jews and non-Jews from other threatened areas (Crimea, Rostov) were also evacuated to the Caucasus.[53] It should be emphasized that military developments in the first half of 1942 did not stimulate any manifest influx of non-organized Jewish refugees into the region.

The newcomers were settled in the region in an organized way. Once more, Jews were dispatched all over the North Caucasus, especially to the resort towns of Stavropol Krai.[54] They were also brought, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale, to Russian villages,[55] including again Cossack settlements.[56] As in 1941, there are no records of Jewish refugees being sent to Muslim villages. In contrast to 1941, however, there is no evidence that Jewish refugees brought to the North Caucasus in 1942 were provided with employment. This may have been the result of Soviet logistical inability to provide masses of newcomers, including many white-collar workers, with suitable employment in the region. Alternatively, it is possible that the authorities did not consider that these evacuees would be staying in the Caucasus for a long period of time.

Thousands of Jews were evacuated to the region in 1942, among them staff and, in particular, students of Leningrad’s institutions of higher education.[57] Sometimes they were accompanied by elderly family members and occasionally elderly people also arrived unaccompanied.[58] Again there was a significant proportion of children: among 36,000 evacuees from Leningrad accommodated in Krasnodar Krai in April 1942 there were more than 10,000 children (almost 28 percent).[59] At the time of the German occupation in August 1942 the Jewish evacuees overshadowed the rather insignificant native Jewish population of the region.

Anti-Semitic feelings traditionally harbored by certain segments of the North Caucasian population, most specifically the Cossacks, constituted the backdrop for the local population’s attitude towards the Jewish evacuees. It is evident that the local authorities actually forced Russian and Ukrainian inhabitants of the Caucasian towns and villages to accommodate large numbers of newcomers. The result of this contact was inevitably to exacerbate anti-Semitic feelings. There is abundant evidence that the population in a number of Russian, and to a lesser extent in non-Russian, areas behaved in a hostile manner towards the Jewish refugees.[60] According to the postwar memories of a Jewish escapee, in autumn 1941 this manifested itself in letting local people pass ahead of Jews in lines and derogatory remarks. Importantly, the same source noticed that as the Germans approached in autumn 1941 the animosity towards Jews increased.[61]

Anti-Jewish attitudes could take on even more extreme form. A Jewish refugee, who fled from Rostov when it was captured, states in a postwar interview that when “we entered local villages to procure food, the population was ill-disposed towards us and even behaved in belligerent fashion. We were never invited to enter a house in order to wash. There was even a feeling of terror.” Dreadful anti-Semitism prevailed in the village where she was settled: “Neither I nor my brother could actually learn in school: children insulted us with cries of “Zhid!” The teachers used to say to the children: “Why do you harass them? It is not their fault that they are Jews.”[62]

Overall, it may be said that in 1941 and early 1942 the North Caucasus was one of the most important destinations for Jewish evacuees and refugees. Despite a feeling of temporary relief, the availability of food and the care taken of them by the local authorities, however, the majority opted to continue their flight eastwards and not to remain in the Caucasus.

Under German Rule

German Policies towards the Jewish Refugees

In the second half of 1942 the German armies opened a large summer offensive against the Soviet army (the Blau Campaign).[63] The Wehrmacht Supreme Command viewed the seizure of the Caucasian oilfields as one of the two major goals of this campaign (alongside the thrust towards Stalingrad). The offensive began in July and involved units of Army Group (Heeresgruppe) A. During the period of the German occupation of the North Caucasus – August-December 1942 – Army Group A was commanded in turn by Siegmund List, Hitler himself, and Paul von Kleist.

The Wehrmacht’s advance led to the German occupation of large sections of the North Caucasus (including Stavropol’ and Krasnodar Krais, Kabardino-Balkaria and a large part of Northern Osetia and Kalmykia). In September-October 1942, the main German offensive in the area was halted, although the deepest thrust – to Nal’chik – occurred in mid-November, after which the front lines stabilized. Shortly thereafter mounting pressure by the Soviet army caused the Germans’ strategic position to deteriorate. In the wake of the encirclement of the 6th Army near Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht felt threatened and in early 1943, the German command withdrew its troops from the Caucasus.

Soon after the beginning of the occupation the Germans ordered the local authorities to register the entire population and to designate all evacuees,[64] making the survival of evacuated Jews in the region far more difficult. As already mentioned, the evacuees constituted the biggest group among the Jewish population in North Caucasus, if not an absolute majority. The Germans were not only well aware of this; they were even inclined to exaggerate greatly the dimensions of the Jewish evacuation.[65] This was in line with their general policy of overestimating Jewish influence in the Soviet Union. On a number of occasions they dealt with the evacuated Jews as a distinct group. This line found clearest expression during the destruction of the region’s largest single Jewish community, in the town of Stavropol, where the Germans issued two different assembly orders for evacuees and native Jews.[66] The proportion of evacuees and ‘native’ Jews is testified to by the fact that 3,500 Jews complied with the first order and presented themselves at the assembly point, and only 500 – with the second. In the town of Armavir the proportion was more balanced: the local inhabitants comprised 176 families and the evacuees approximately 200.[67] The Germans singled out the evacuees as they prepared the killing of Jews in villages as well.[68]

Despite their numerical predominance, the evacuated Jews were clearly discriminated against by the Germans in the formation of Jewish councils. There is only one record when an evacuated Jew was appointed as a Judenrat member.[69] One may assume that the Germans did not regard the evacuees as a monolithic homogeneous group that deserved specific representation in the Jewish councils.

In rural areas the Germans and the local administration, which they had installed, regarded all evacuees collectively as Jews,[70] and those caught while attempting to escape from the Caucasus had to produce ‘Aryan’ documents or to bring witnesses to prove their ‘flawless’ origin.[71] Otherwise, they ran the risk of being killed on the spot at their very first encounter with the Germans because of their alleged Jewish ancestry.[72] The testimony of a Russian witness pertaining to the evacuation from the ‘Rote Fahne’ kolkhoz underscores the point: “The German advance unit cut off our route [of escape]. One of the armed persons tore off my raincoat, where I kept my passport. As we continued, we came across groups of Jews removed from carts with crying old men and whining children. Then we were caught by the policemen from a concentration camp. ‘Are there communists? Are there Jews?’ The [kolkhoz] team-leader (brigadir) told them: ‘In the first cart there are evacuees.’ The policemen asked me to produce my passport but I had none. They took me for a Jewess and arrested me. But two Kalmyk witnesses confirmed that I was Russian and I was released.”[73]

In light of their local agenda in North Caucasus (resulting from the virtual absence of Jews before the war and their visibility during the evacuation), Nazi propaganda in the region took up the theme of the evacuation. References to Jewish evacuation included statements that it was undertaken at the expense of the Soviet war effort,[74] or that the evacuated Jews were settled solely in the places in the region from which ethnic Germans had previously been deported.[75] In particular, it dwelt on the Russian-Jewish ‘encounter’ following the evacuation. Arguably, the latter subject was especially close to the local Russian population. An article, evidently published in a local newspaper as part of an editorial-sponsored contest for the ‘best’ presentation of the Jewish topic, underscores the point. It recalls how a ‘proud Cossack woman became the serf of an evacuated Jewess’ and how the ‘Jews maltreated her, took the better of her two rooms, and the local authorities protected them.’[76]

Responses of Jewish Evacuees to German Persecution

The newcomers to the North Caucasus were displaced people with little or no knowledge of local ways. Did their aloofness play a role in their response to German policies? The answer seems to be largely affirmative, but not unequivocally so. As everywhere in the Soviet Union, it seems that the great majority complied with German orders and were subsequently killed and in this respect there was no difference between them and ‘local’ Jews. But those among the evacuees who considered the possibility of defying German orders had more limited options at their disposal compared to native Caucasian Jews. This had largely to do with their situation as newcomers. By and large, they were ignorant of specific local conditions and local geography; they did not know where to go, to whom to turn for help, what was the shortest way to escape, including the whereabouts of the partisans.[77] The Jewish newcomers tended to socialize mostly with people with whom they escaped or evacuated. These were largely Jews, which further narrowed the circle of potential rescuers.

On the other hand, sometimes they were advantaged, compared to the small stratum of local Caucasian Jews, their being strangers in the Caucasus playing in their favor. The newcomers had no personal enemies in the region; this included the local administration,[78] to which a priori the German occupation presented a propitious opportunity for settling accounts with the Jews. Besides, the refugees were not known in the Caucasus and provided they did not possess an unmistakably Jewish appearance, they had a chance to survive by claiming that they were not Jews.[79]

The newcomers were clearly recognizable in the Caucasian towns by their manners, good clothes, and haircut.[80]  They had to carry all their valuables around with them, having no place to conceal them. As a result, they were frequently plundered by the local population under the threat of turning them in.[81]  The evacuees also had very limited food resources and, despite the general availability of food in the Northern Caucasus, were generally hungry because under the Germans they were consistently denied food rations.[82]

Jewish newcomers tended to communicate with, and apply for help from, people of their close circle, most notably those evacuated from the same workplace.[83] By the time of the German takeover, a major part of the Jewish newcomers were unemployed and, thus, were particularly limited in their extra-family and/or extra-residence connections. But even those who were employed could hardly have established stable connections in an area where they had arrived at most 9-10 months prior to the German occupation. The estrangement from the general population and the feeling of misplacement were enhanced in smaller towns and villages, whereas in larger cities (most specifically Krasnodar and Stavropol) this alienation was probably less pronounced because everyone in a big city is a stranger.

In the post-Aktion period the refugees refrained from asking unfamiliar local people for help, preferring to endeavor to survive on their own, provided there seemed to be the slightest possibility to do so. They were inclined to apply to non-Jews for help only as a last resort. The postwar testimony of a Jewish witness regarding her experiences is telling. In 1941 she escaped to the Northern Caucasus from Ukraine and in late summer 1942 found herself in occupied Krasnodar: “I worked as a field worker and supervisor in a laboratory. The Gestapo required that all inhabitants of the town be registered with the police. I could found no trustful person. After much deliberation, it occurred to me to pose as a Romanian. Once when I was working in a field, a Czechoslovak soldier came across me and shouted at me: “You are a Jewess and not a Romanian!” When I objected, he hit me so hard in the face that I lost a tooth. He threatened to bring me to the Gestapo three days later. I did not dare trying to escape because I had no warm clothes, did not know the area and could not count on the assistance of the local population. Escaping would certainly betray the fact that I was Jewish. I needed someone to place my confidence on. My choice fell upon Sofia Krasnova of the laboratory. I disclosed my secret to Sofia Krasnova and she later took care of me, calmed me down and let me stay at her place.”[84]

Viewed from this angle, a Jewish refugee in the Caucasus could hope to remain where he was provided the place was big enough, as he remained largely unknown to local people who might disclose his Jewish identity. Yet, if the place was smaller, it was imperative for him to move away.[85]


The evacuees in the North Caucasus constituted a special group. Prior to the German occupation, their status – as well as their accommodation, food supply and employment – were guaranteed by the authorities, most specifically by the central Soviet government, which alone was empowered to sanction evacuation and sought to supervise it on site. At the same time, implementation of evacuation policies was the prerogative of the local authorities. (The precise interaction between Moscow and the local authorities in North Caucasus – as in other endangered areas – in all that concerned the evacuation has not yet been researched.) On the whole, the local administration was composed of representatives of the region’s non-Muslim inhabitants – Russians, Ukrainians and Cossacks – and reflected their attitudes. The local population was by all accounts far from enthusiastic about rendering aid to refugees, most especially to Jews. The fact that local people were compelled to accommodate evacuated Jews in their homes free of charge almost certainly exacerbated anti-Semitic sentiment among the local population.

In August 1942 Soviet rule was replaced by German occupation forces and the condition of the Jews deteriorated drastically. Their source of security, namely the Soviet government, was gone. The new power took a diametrically opposed position: the Germans were eager to kill all Jews in a very short span of time. Significantly, the Germans tended to view every newcomer to the region, as well as everyone who endeavored to flee from the Caucasus, as a Jew and treated him accordingly.

German policies generated a spectrum of responses among the bulk of evacuated Jews that was essentially different from that of the autochthonous Jewish population. Most of them had had neither time nor opportunity to establish firm connections among the local population. Nor did they know the area, local habits and customs. In order to survive in these very unfavorable conditions, the evacuated Jews had to try to adapt themselves as quickly as possible to their new surroundings. All this occurred against a background of deeply rooted anti-Jewish sentiment among some of the local people in North Caucasus, which had been aggravated by the experiences of the Jewish evacuation.

It should be taken into account that the chances of Jews’ survival in occupied Soviet territories depended on many factors – availability of food, the specific policy of the local German authorities, the attitude of the local population, prewar conditions in the region, and the personal circumstances of the Jews themselves. This article deals primarily with only one factor – the fact that the majority of Jews in the North Caucasus were strangers (evacuees/refugees) in the region. The other factors are beyond the scope of this chapter. A more extensive in-depth analysis of all the factors and the interaction between them is required in order to draw conclusions regarding their impact on the Holocaust in the Caucasus.[86] At the same time, other conditions being equal, it seems that their being outsiders was extremely detrimental and was probably the most significant factor in diminishing drastically their ability to survive after the Germans took over the region. A comparative research of the fate of the masses of Jewish refugees elsewhere in German-occupied Europe may further elucidate the real significance of this largely understudied aspect of the Holocaust. 


* The study was made possible thanks to support from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

  1. Refugee –
  2. For some general literature on Soviet evacuation policies, see Georgii A. Kumanev, “Evakuatsiia naseleniia SSSR: dostignutye rezul’taty i poteri”, Ludskie poteri SSSR v period Vtoroi Mirovoi Voiny (Sankt-Peterburg: Russko-baltiskii Informatsionnii Tsentr “Blits,” 1995), 137-146; I. I. Belonosov, “Evakuatsiya naseleniya iz prifrontovoi polosy in 1941-1942 gg.”, Eshelony idut na Vostok. Iz istorii perebazirovaniya proizvoditelnykh sil SSSR v 1941-1942 gg., (Moscow: Nauka, 1966), 15-30. For literature on the impact of Soviet evacuation policies on the evacuation and escape of Jews, see Yitzhak Arad, Toldot ha-shoa. Brit ha-moetsot ve-ha-shtahim ha-mesupahim (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2004), 177-202; Vadim Dubson, “On the Problem of the Evacuation of Soviet Jews in 1941 (New Archival Sources),” Jews in Eastern Europe 3, 40 (1999): 37-56; Mordechai Altshuler, “Ha-pinui veha-menusah shel yehudim mi-belorussiyah ha-mizrahit bi-tqufat ha-shoah, yuni-ogust 1941”, Yahadut zemanenu 3 (1986): 119-158.
  3. On decisions of the central Soviet government concerning evacuation policy, see for example, Dubson, “On the Problem,” 42-50.
  4. Altshuler, “Ha-pinui veha-menusah,” pp. 77-78.
  5. Jews fled, for example, to the oblasti of Voronezh, Kalinin, Tula and Stalingrad in European Russia, which were later occupied wholly or in part by the Germans. The numbers of Jewish evacuees here were, however, incomparably smaller. In October-November 1941, the Soviet authorities registered 25,480 evacuated Jews in Voronezh Oblast’, 834 in Tula Oblast’ and 52,829 in Stalingrad Oblast’ – RSFSR Council of People’s Commissars. Distribution of the evacuated population as for November 1, 1941, based on information of the Resettlement Departments (Secret); YVA: JM/24.678.
  6. From 1935 to 1943 the capital town of this territory was called Voroshilovsk and the territory itself Ordzhenikidze Krai. Yet, during the German occupation the town and territory were already largely referred to by the Germans as Stavropol’ (its old name). When the North Caucasus was liberated in 1943, the town and territory were officially given the name Stavropol’ and are referred to as such in all the documents of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission. Therefore, the current study also refers to the town and the territory as Stavropol’, unless stated otherwise.
  7. Cossacks were included under Russians. In the 1937 Population Census people were not asked to produce information whether they viewed themselves as Cossacks – Natal’ia Bulgakova, Sel’skoe naselenie Stavropol’ia vo vtoroi polovine 20-kh – nachale 30-kh godov 20 veka: Izmeneniia v demograficheskom, khoziaistvennom i kul’turnom oblike (PhD dissertation, Stavropol State University, 2003), 104. It seems that this policy was reiterated in the 1939 Census. (The 1926 Population Census Soviet had included a question regarding affiliation to the Cossack community and in rural areas of Stavropol Krai 7,867 people responded positively – 1.7 percent of the Russian population in the respective areas. It should be borne in mind that at the time Cossacks were a persecuted group and people presumably feared to be identified as Cossacks. The number of Cossacks who reportedly retreated from North Caucasus when the Wehrmacht withdrew in early 1943, some 80,000 people, is generally regarded a much more plausible estimate – N. Bugai ed., Kazachestvo Rossii: ottorzhenie, priznanie, vozrozhdenie (1917 – 90 gody) (Moscow: Mozhaisk-Terra, 2000), 66-7.)
  8. Kumanev, “Evakuatsiya naseleniya SSSR,” 137-146.
  9. Dov Levin, “Hashpaatan shel misgerot ha-lehima be-mizrah Eropa al memadei ha-maavak ha-mezuyan shel ha-yehudim,” Dapim le-heker ha-Shoa 12 (1995): 161.
  10. The Jews who evacuated to the areas occupied by the Germans in Central Russia in 1941-42 – see note 6 – presumably all perished. Since they do not seem to have registered officially as evacuees, the Germans will not apparently have distinguished between evacuees and previous Jewish inhabitants and so there are no records regarding the specific fate of the evacuees.
  11. On the fate of Soviet Jewish soldiers who fell into German captivity, see e. g., Pavel Polian, “First Victims of the Holocaust: Soviet-Jewish Prisoners of War in German Captivity,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 6, 4 (2005): 763-787; Aharon Shneer, Plen, (Jerusalem: Noi, 2003), vol. 2, 89-133.
  12. Decree of the Bureau of Archangelsk AUCP(b) Raion Committee on establishment of extermination battalion, October 20, 1941; see also Decree of the Bureau of the AUCP(b) [Stavropol] Krai Committee on performance of defensive works in the Krai, October 21, 1941, in Stavropol’e v Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voine 1941-1945 gg. Sbornik dokumentov i materialov (Stavropol’: Stavropol’skoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo, 1962), 57-58.
  13. Center of Documentation of the Contemporary History of Krasnodar Krai, Krasnodar, Russia (henceforth – TsDNIKK); f.1774-A, op.2, d.166, ll. 157-158 and d.171, ll. 2-3, quoted in Aleksandr Beliaev and I. Bondar, eds., Kuban’ v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny, 1941-1945: Khronika sobytyi (Krasnodar: Sov. Kuban’, 2000), vol. 1, 38-39.
  14. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.271, ll. 4, 35, 40, quoted in Beliaev and Bondar, Kuban, 56-57.
  15. Totraz Balikoev, Narody Severnogo Kavkaza v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny (1941-1945) (Vladikavkaz: Izd. Severo-Osetinskogo gosudarstvennogo Universiteta imeni K. L. Khetagurova, 2000), 80.
  16. See Table 1.
  17. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.271, ll. 7-18; 1774-A/2/58, pp. 17-18; Archive of the Administration of the Federal Security Service for Krasnodar Krai (henceforth – AUFSB KK): 13/1/225, pp. 21-22 – quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban, 76-77.
  18. In the villages of Uspenskaia (August 1941) and Slavianskaia (November 1941) and in the town of Krasnodar (November-December 1941) – Saul Borovoi, Vospominaniia, (Moscow, Jerusalem: Evreiskii Universitet v Moskve, Gesharim, 1993), 249-250 and 252; Diary of Grigory Ioffe, Entry for November 9, 1941 – State Archive of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (henceforth – DAARK), file P-156, op.1, d.31, l.31; and Testimony of Mina Horowitz (1908), August, 1 1973 – Yad Vashem Archive (henceforth – YVA): 0.3/3682, 6.
  19. Testimony of Dina Ostropol’, April 3, 1974 – Yad Vashem, Hall of Names (henceforth – YVHN). Cf. Testimony of Roza Fiks. April 20, 1994 – YVHN.
  20. Testimony of Ludmila Bradichevsky. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Department of Oral History (henceforth – ICJ): (217) 183, p. 1; “Story of Evenson” –YVA:21.2/1; Diary of Ioffe, Entry for November 10, 1941. DAARK: P-156/1/31, p. 31. Testimony of Sofia Mostovaia. May 29, 1944 – YVA: M.33/308, pp. 9-10; and of Galina Donina, June 4, 1995, YVHN
  21. Testimony of Mina Horowitz.
  22. Specifically from Kiev and Vinnitsa – Testimonies of Roza Lipkin (1904), no date – ICJ, 2860 (not transcribed); of Sarra Labinov, no date – ICJ, 2773, side A (not transcribed); of Mila Stepanskaia, May 15, 2000; and of Inda Bergman, 1993 – YVHN.
  23. Specifically from Odessa – Borovoi, Vospominaniia, 249; and testimony of Semen Rechister, December 20, 1991 – YVHN.
  24. Specifically from Kharkov, Kirovoi Rog, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozh’e – Testimonies of Mordukhai Cherkasskii. 25 January 1991; of Boris Kostyukovskii. 15 February 1996; of Inda Bergman. 1993; of Polina Shaposhnikova, 13 May 1994 – YVHN.
  25. From Kishinev and other areas – Testimonies of Sarra Gisa, 15 May 1955; of Boris Levit, 16 May 1999; of Anna Klyatskina, 26 May 1974; and of Bella Goldshtein. 6 October 1942 – YVHN.
  26. Testimonies of Leonid Luda; of Mila Stepanskaia; and of Rechister. YVHN.
  27. Testimonies of Gisa; Goldshtein; Boris Sakharovich. 9 October 1987; and Lidia Pasternak, August 3, 1990 – YVHN.
  28. Testimonies of Genya Shaulov, November 1, 1956; and Mikhail Skladman, October 22, 1979 – YVHN.
  29. Testimony of Fedor (Froim) Berezovskii. 5 September 2000. YVHN.
  30. Testimonies of Cherkasskii; and Josef Kodner, March 18, 1975 – YVHN.
  31. Testimonies of Bergman; Klyatskina; Rechister; and Sima Cherchikova, October 18, 1999 – YVHN.
  32. Testimonies of Cherkasskii; and Luda – YVHN.
  33. Evacuation of children’s homes and medical institutions into the North Caucasus as of 1942 – Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Republic, 1942; YVA: JM/24.745.
  34. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.373, ll.69-76, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban, 181-82.
  35. Diary of Grigorii Ioffe, Entries for 9 and 12 November 1941 – DAARK, f.P-156, op.1, d.31, l. 31. Cf. Memorandum of the Crimean AUCP(b) Obalst’ Committee on the evacuation of population from the Crimea and rendering assistance to it at destination points, 18 May 1943 – DAARK: R-1/1/2182. See also I. P. Kondranov and A. A. Stepanova, eds., Krym v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny, 1941-1945. Sbornik dokumentov i materialov (Simferopol: Tavriia, 1973), 66-68.
  36. Budennovsk and Slavianskaia – Testimonies of Mina Horovitz, 2761 (not transcribed); and Khanya Knor (1918?), No date, 2772 (not transcribed) – ICJ.
  37. Letters received by Efim Ginzburg, November 18, 1941 – YVA: 0.75/324, pp. 74-76. Cf. Diary of Ioffe, entry for November 9, 1941 – DAARK, f.P-156, op.1, d.31, l.31.
  38. For example, in Krasnodar, Mikoianshakhar and Piatigorsk – Borovoi, Vopominaniia, 251. Cf. Testimony of Tsitsilia Tsirulnik, 1943 – State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow (henceforth – GARF), f.7021, op.17, d.10, ll. 201-202.
  39. In Stavropol’ Krai – Testimony of Ida Mandelblat (1926). YVA: VT/1911 (not transcribed).
  40. For instance, in Ivanovka and Krasnodar – Letters received by Ginzburg, November 18, 1941 – YVA: 0.75/324, p. 75.
  41. Testimony of Horovitz, ICJ; Cf. diary of G. Ioffe, entry for November 19, 1941 – DAARK, f.P-156, op.1, d.31, l. 33.
  42. Note of the resettlement department of Krasnodar Krai executive committee [kraiispolkom] – TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.55, ll. 5-6, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 56-57.
  43. Such as Peresyp ferry – Diary of Ioffe, entry for November 6, 1941 – DAARK, f.P-156, op.1, d.31, l. 31.
  44. Directive letter of Krasnodar AUCP(b) Territorial Committee [kraikom] on work with the evacuees – TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.1, ll. 51-52, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 56-57.
  45. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.71, ll. 7-18 and d.58, ll. 17-18; and AUFSB KK, f.13, op.1, d.225, ll. 21-22, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 76-77.
  46. Krasnodar, Maikop, Novorossisk and Tuapse – Beliaev et al., Kuban, 76-77.
  47. Krasnodar Krai – TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.55, pp. 5-6, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 56-57.
  48. Jews went, for example, to the towns of Elista, Kislovodsk, Mozdok and Nal’chik – Testimonies of Bradichevsky, (217)183, p. 1 – ICJ; and of Fiks; Rechister; Shaulov; Gisa; Bergman; Shaposhnikova; and Yuri Piler, July 16, 1990 – YVHN. Villages to which Jews found their way included the Krasnodar Krai villages of Naturbovo, Ivanovo Raion, and the Cossack settlements Labinskaia and Tbiliskaia – Interrogation of Klavdia Parshikova (1902), August 12, 1942 – YVA: M.33/291, p. 98; and questioning of Anna Suzdalenko, May 10, 1944 – YVA: M.33/308, p. 29.
  49. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.373, ll. 69-76, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 181-182.
  50. Decree of the Bureau of the AUCP(b) Stavropol Krai Committee and of the Krai Executive Council “On accommodation of the population evacuated from Leningrad,” February 10, 1942, in Stavropol’e, 75.
  51. Testimony of Tsilya Gadleva (1917), October 25, 1990 – YVA: 0.3/4391, p. 8.
  52. TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.2, d.626, ll.11-18, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 249.
  53. Memorandum of the Karachaevo Autonomous Raion AUCP(b) Committee submitted to Head of AUCP(b) Central Committee Propaganda and Agitation Department G. F. Aleksandrov, no later than June 24, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.8, ll. 2-3. Cf. Testimony of Vladimir Shpits, June 7, 1992; YVHN.
  54. Essentuki, Kislovodsk and Piatigorsk – Testimonies of Debora Shklovskaia, March 5, 1991, Mira Idina, April 1, 1991, Anatolii Tukhshnaid, No date, Khasya Epshtein, November 8, 1992, and Sima Royak, September 24, 1994 – YVHN.
  55. The village of Novozavedennoe, Soldatsko-Aleksandrovskii Raion, Stavropol Krai – Statement of Anna Shlaen, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.11, l.114.
  56. Stanitsa Kotlyarevskaia in Maiskii raion, Kabardino-Balkaria – Akt No 75 of the Local commission of the Extraordinary State Commission for Investigation and Establishment of the Crimes committed by the German Fascists and their Henchmen in the Temporarily Occupied Soviet Territories of the Kabardino-Balkar ASSR, June 24, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.7 d.109, l. 171. See also Akt of the Commission of Aleksandriiskaia stanitsa, Aleks-obilenskii Raion, Stavropol Krai, January 25, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.9, l. 12.
  57. In Essentuki, Kislevodsk and Piatigorsk – Testimonies of Gadleva. YVA: 0.3/4391, p. 9; Idina, Tukhshnaid, Khasya Epshtein, November 8, 1992, and Royak – YVHN.
  58. In Essentuki and Kislevodsk – Testimonies of Idina, Tukhshnaid and Shklovskaia – YVHN.
  59. TsDNIKK: 1774-A/2/626, pp. 11-18, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban, 249.
  60. In Elista, Krasnodar and elsewhere in Krasnodar Krai – Testimony of Bradichevsky, ICJ, (217) 183, p. 3. Cf. Stanitsa of Uspenskaia. Borovoi, Vospominaniia, 249-250, 252 and 254.
  61. Borovoi, Vospominaniia, 252 and 254.
  62. Testimony of Kalnitskaia, ICJ, 2759.
  63. Andrei Grechko, Bitva za Kavkaz, (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Ministerstva Oborony SSSR, 1971); V. V. Gurkin and A. I. Kruglov, “Oborona Kavkaza, 1941-1942”, Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal 10 (1992): 11-18; Bernd Wegner, “The War Against the Soviet Union, 1942-1943,” in Germany and the Second World War, Vol. 6, The Global War: Widening the Conflict into a World War and the Shift of the Initiative 1941-1943, ed. H. Boog, W. Rahn, R. Stumpf and B. Wegner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), 843-1217.
  64. Village of Izobilnoe in Izobilinskii Raion, Stavropol Krai; village of Troitskoe, Troitskii ulus, Kalmykia; and Soldatsko-Aleksandrovskii Raion, Stavropol Krai – Akt of the Commission of Izobilinskii Raion, June 29, 1943; GARF: 7021/17/10, p. 121. Cf. Statements of inhabitants of the village of Izobilnoe, GARF: 7021/17/10, pp. 131-132; Akt of the Commission of Troitskoe, July 16, 1943, GARF: 7021/8/27, p. 54; and Statement of Irina D’yakonova, GARF: 7021/17/11, p. 113.
  65. Die Angaben ueber 2½ Millionen Juden, die dort (Makhach Kala) auf die Ueberfahrt warten, werden bestätigt. 3 Panzer-Division, November 29, 1942, Abt. 1c, Befragung von Zivilisten im Raum Nowo Poltawskaja. Ergebnis – YVA: JM/5605.
  66. Akt of the Commission of the town of Stavropol, July 11, 1943 – GARF: 7021/17/1, pp. 95-96; and Statement of I. Lekhel – GARF: 7021/17/1, p. 65.
  67. Akt of the Commission of the town of Armavir, January 28, 1943 – Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (TsAMO), f.51, op.958, d.52, ll.91-92. Courtesy of USHMM.
  68. For example, in Novo-Alekseevskoe, Belorecheskii Raion, Krasnodar Krai – Interrogation of Stepan Bogoslavskii (1903), August 28, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.16, d.12, l. 141.
  69. In Essentuki – Testimony of Samuil Belenkov, August 10, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.4, l. 22.
  70. Krasnodar Krai – villages of Bagovskaia, Gubskaia, Barakaevskaia, Novoslobodnaia, Kastromskaia. Testimony of Boris Chrolnik (1930), 1991 – YVA: 0.3/6422, p. 7. Cf. statement of Irina D’iakonova, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.11, l.113; and holdings of the Southern Headquarter of the Partisan Movement – TsDNIKK, f.4372, op.1, d.88, ll.18-19, quoted in Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 469.
  71. Villages of Mikhailovskoe in Petrovskii Raion, Stavropol Krai; Bashanta in Kalmykia; ‘Rote Fahne’ kolkhoz in the Western Raion of Kalmykia; village of Gulkevich in Krasnodar Krai – Akt of the Commission of Petrovskii Raion, July 10, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.1, l.107. Cf. Testimony of Mikhail Shapiro, February 16, 1974 – YVA: 0.3/6019, pp. 4-5.
  72. Testimony of Lidia Pasternak, August 3, 1990 – YVHN.
  73. Joint statement of teacher Elena Mikhailova and housewife Karmen Mandzhieva, June 30, 1943 – GARF: 7021/8/26, p. 123.
  74. B. Shyr, “One more mean trick. (From the Recent Past).” Stavropol’skoe slovo, No 16, August 30, 1942 – State Archive of Stavropol Krai (henceforth – GASK): R-1052/5069. Editorial “Significant Jubilee”. Kuban’ No 14, November 7, 1942, 1 – TsDNIKK. Courtesy of USHMM.
  75. During September 1941, 139,613 Germans were deported from the North Caucasian national autonomies – Nikolai Bugai (ed.), Ikh nado deportirovat’. Dokumenty, fakty, komentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), 66. 37,000 Germans were deported between September 30 and October 8, 1941, from Krasnodar Krai in accordance with a Decree of the State Committee for Defense, September, 21 1941 – TsDNIKK, f.1774-A, op.1 add., d.20, ll.155-184, quoted in Belyaev et al., Kuban’, 75-76. On May 23, 1942, the Military Council of the Transcaucasian Front declared the coastal areas of the Azov and Black Seas as well as the Tamanskii Peninsula a “special military zone.” The NKVD forces carried out administrative deportation of all Germans, Romanians, Greeks, and Crimean Tatars – TsAMO, f.38663, op.1, d.23, l.106, quoted in Ibragimov Movsur. Narody Severnogo Kavkaza v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny 1945 gg. (Moscow: Moskovskii pedagogicheskii universitet, 1997), 238.
  76. N. Kapralova, “Mistress of the Situation.” Stavropol’skoe slovo, No 38, 21 October 1942 – GASK: R-1052/5069. Courtesy of USHMM.
  77. Partisan units became operative in the region only after the great majority of the Jews had been annihilated and, thus, were hardly instrumental in the rescue of Jews. Besides, those in charge of the partisan movement in the Caucasus did not consider it a possible channel of rescue for civilians. Rather, these units were formed on the basis of existing extermination battalions, which were raised among those elements of the population the authorities considered most reliable, and were made up mostly of conscript-age men. Thus, the composition of the Jewish population in the region was hardly compatible with the requirements of the partisan leadership. A small increase in partisan activities throughout September-October was followed by a German crackdown. On the whole, the partisan detachments in the region did not suffer serious casualties and the great majority of the Caucasian partisans survived the German occupation. On partisan activity in the region, see Evgenii Krinko, Zhyzn’ za liniei fronta: Kuban’ v okkupatsii (1942-1943), (Maikop: Adygeiskii gosudarstvennyi universitet, 2000), 155-186; Aleksei Bundur’, “Dnevnik partizana”, Rodnaia Kuban’ (Krasnodar) 2 (2001): 30-36; Beliaev et al., Kuban’, 564-571; S. I. Linets, “Boevyie deistviia partizan Stavropol’ia v tylu nemetsko-fashystskikh okkupantov: istoriografiia voprosa”, Vestnik Piatigorskogo Gosudarstvennogo Lingvisticheskogo Universiteta (Piatigorsk) 4 (1996): 57-61; V. Trutnov, “Komsomol’tsy i molodezh’ v podpol’nom dvizhenii na Severnom Kavkaze (1942-1943), Narodnyi podvig v bitve za Kavkaz: Sbornik statei, (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo “Nauka”, 1981), 239-254.
  78. For a variety of reasons (which are beyond the scope of this study) the Soviet authorities settled relatively few Jewish evacuees in Muslim-dominated areas; also few Jews made their way there on their own in pursuit of a safe shelter. The local administration in the non-Muslim areas (that is, most of Krasnodar and Stavropol Krais, as well as some other areas) was staffed primarily by Russian, Ukrainian, and most specifically Cossack collaborators but not by Muslims. Members of Muslim ethnic groups were, however, more involved in the extermination of Jews in the Muslim-dominated areas that hosted fewer evacuees but more native Jews, for example Mountain Jews. For the support that Caucasian non-Russian (primarily Muslim) groups lent the German occupiers in the region, see Alexander Statiev, “The Nature of Anti-Soviet Armed Resistance, 1942-44: The North Caucasus, the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic, and the Crimea,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Euroasian History 6, 2 (Spring 2005): 288-303.
  79. Testimony of Tsitsilia Tsirulnik, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.10, ll. 201-202. Cf. also testimony of Lea Wilderman. April 1990 – YVA: 0.3/5676, p. 11; and statement of Shlaen – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.11, l.116.
  80. German Belikov, Okkupatsiia. Stavropol’. Avgust 1942 – ianvar’ 1943 (Stavropol, 1998), 66.
  81. Testimony of Olga Polonskaia (1903), May 1, 1962 – YVA: 0.3/2246, p. 7; and statement of Shlaen – l. 114.
  82. Testimony of Raisa Kogan, April 29, 1943 – GARF: f. 7021, op. 17, d. 4, l. 12; and Akt of the Commission of Suvorovskii Raion, July 26, 1943 – GARF, f.7021, op.17, d.12, l. 3.
  83. Letter by painter L. N. Beliaevkin and his wife D. R. Goldshtein to writer Iu. Kalugin, [1943] – YVA, M.35/166.
  84. Testimony of Horowitz – YVA: 0.3/3682, pp. 6-9.
  85. Statement of Shlaen. l. 115.
  86. See my PhD dissertation: Kiril Feferman, The Holocaust in the Crimea and the North Caucasus, (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007).

Source: Revolution, repression, and revival : the Soviet Jewish Experience / edited by Zvi Gitelman and Yaacov Ro’i. Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2007.