Eyewitness Describes Nazi Massacre in Krupki

(October 5, 1941)


… Oct. 5th [1941]. In the evening our lieutenant was looking for 15 men with strong nerves. I of course volunteered. We did not know what it was all about. Next morning at five we were to line up in front of the Company office, helmets on, and received 300 cartridges a man. We waited for morning in tense expectations. At exactly 5 a.m. we were ready and the First Lieutenant explained our task to us.

There were about a thousand Jews in the village of Krupka [Krupki] and all these had to be shot today…

One platoon was assigned to us as a guard. Its function was to see that nobody escaped.

At precisely seven all Jews, men, women and children, had to report at Inspection Square. After reading off the list the whole column moved to the nearest bog. The execution squad, to which I belonged, led the way and an escort marched on either side.

It was a rainy day and the sky one solid leaden cloud.

The Jews had been told that they were all being deported to Germany to work there. But many guessed what was in store for them, especially when we crossed the narrow-gauge line and proceeded to the bog. A panic arose and the guard had a hard job keeping the lot of them together. When we arrived at the bog all were told to sit down, facing in the direction from which they had come. Fifty yards away there was a deep ditch full of water. The first ten were made to stand by that ditch and to strip, down to the waist. Then they had to get into the ditch and we who were to shoot them stood above them on the edge. A lieutenant and sergeant were with us. Ten shots rang out, ten Jews popped off. This continued until all were dispatched. Only a few of them kept their countenances. The children clung to their mothers, wives to their husbands. I won’t forget this spectacle in a hurry…


Source: From the Diary of Senior Private First Class Heydenreich, 12th Company, 354th Infantry Regiment, 62nd Infantry Division, Field P.O. No. 62: What I went through in Russia in From True To Type: A Selection from Letters and Diaries of German Soldiers and Civilians collected on the Soviet-German Front (London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney, [1945]), p. 31. Yad Vashem