Koriukivka massacre

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The Koriukivka massacre was a mass murder of 6,700 residents[1] of Koriukivka (then a village) in Ukraine on March 1–2, 1943 by German SS. 1,290 houses in Koriukivka were burned down and only ten brick buildings and one church survived.[2] The residents of neighboring localities were intimidated so that they would not help the Koriukivka residents.[2] On March 9 the Germans returned to Koriukivka and burned the elders, who had returned to the village after some time.[3] According to forensic evidence, the deaths were brought on particularly by shootings from assault rifles, heavy machine guns, blows with blunt objects and burning.[3] The mass murder was committed as a retribution for Soviet partisan activities headed by Oleksiy Fedorov.[1]

Koriukivka was freed by Soviet troops on 19 March 1943. A report on the number of victims and inflicted damage was compiled in the same year. The Koriukivka massacre became one of the largest German punitive expeditions against civilians in World War II.

Background[edit]

During the German occupation the village of Koriukivka was a center of Soviet partisan warfare in Chernihiv Oblast. On the night of 27 February 1943 the partisans of Oleksiy Fedorov, having learned that the children of the commanders of a Soviet partisan unit were jailed in the Koriukivka prison, attacked the local Axis garrison, which consisted mostly of Hungarians.[2] During that raid 78 Axis soldiers were killed and eight captured.[2] Several persons were released from the prison and some buildings were blown up. The partisans had warned the residents of Koriukivka about possible German retribution, but the next day after partisan raid the way out was blocked.[2] Nonetheless at least one woman with three children managed to escape from Koriukivka on that day.[2]

The massacre[edit]

In the morning of March 1, 1943 an SS unit came to Koriukivka from Shchors. Koriukivka was sealed off. Initially the Germans tried to huddle all residents in the village's center. When some residents, anticipating the forthcoming killings, had tried to escape, the Germans started to enter all houses, shooting down every occupant. Those, who were huddled in Koriukivka's center, were shot down in the village's largest buildings, the restaurant and the theater. In the restaurant about 500 people were killed.[2] Five of them managed to survive.[2] An order to shoot down all Koriukivka residents, who escaped to neighboring settlements, was issued.[2]

According to historian Dmitry Vedeneyev, the massacre was committed by SS and Ukrainian collaborationist Schutzmannschaft.[3] The number of perpetrators of the massacre is estimated at 300–500.[3] 5,612 victims of the massacre remain unidentified.

References[edit]