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Maly Trostenets

Coordinates: 53°51′44″N 27°42′19″E / 53.86222°N 27.70528°E / 53.86222; 27.70528
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Field of Burial
"Field of Burial" where the ashes of murdered and cremated prisoners were scattered

Maly Trostenets (Maly Trascianiec, Belarusian: Малы Трасцянец, "Little Trostenets") is a village near Minsk in Belarus, formerly the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. During Nazi Germany's occupation of the area during World War II (when the Germans referred to it as Reichskommissariat Ostland), the village became the location of a Nazi extermination site.[1]

Throughout 1942, Jews from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia were taken by train to Maly Trostenets to be lined up in front of the pits and were shot.[1] From the summer of 1942, mobile gas vans were also used.[2][3] According to Yad Vashem, the Jews of Minsk were murdered and buried in Maly Trostenets and in another village, Bolshoi Trostinets, between 28 and 31 July 1942 and on 21 October 1943.[1] As the Red Army approached the area in June 1944, the Germans murdered most of the prisoners and destroyed the camp.[1]

The estimates of how many people were murdered at Maly Trostenets vary. According to Yad Vashem, 65,000 Jews were murdered in one of the nearby pine forests, mostly by shooting.[3] Holocaust historian Stephan Lehnstaedt believes the number is higher, writing that at least 106,000 Jews were murdered at the location. Researchers from the Soviet Union estimated there had been around 200,000 murders at the camp and nearby execution sites. Lehnstaedt writes that the estimates include the Jews of the Minsk Ghetto, who numbered 39,000 to almost 100,000.[4][a]

Camp establishment and destruction[edit]

Maly Trostenets, Reichskommissariat Ostland. The camp's location is marked by the black-and-white skull icon.

The primary purpose of the camp was the murder of Jewish prisoners of the Minsk Ghetto and the surrounding area. Firing squad was the chief execution method. Mobile gas vans were also deployed. Baltic German SS-Scharführer Heinrich Eiche was the camp administrator.[6][need quotation to verify] As the Red Army approached the camp in June 1944,[7] toward the end of World War II, between June 28 and June 30, the Germans murdered the majority of prisoners by locking them inside of the camps, burning their barracks, and when anyone tried to escape the burning building they were shot.[8][9][10] By June 30 the entire camp had been destroyed, however, a few Jewish prisoners were able to escape into the surrounding Blagovshchina forest and survive until July 3 when the approaching Red Army reached the decimated camp.[8][9][10]

After the war[edit]

Maly Trostenets memorial to Austrian Jewish victims
Memorial to the more than 10,000 Austrian Jewish victims of Maly Trostenets concentration camp, inaugurated in 2019.
Ruins of building at Maly Trostenets concentration camp
Ruins of the building used for personal belongings of prisoners at the Maly Trostenets concentration camp


The names of 10,000 Austrian Jews murdered in Maly Trostenets were collected in a book, Maly Trostinec – Das Totenbuch: Den Toten ihre Namen, by Waltraud Barton.[11]


A memorial complex has been built at the site of the camp.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to Ilya Ehrenburg's Black Book, 206,500 were murdered at Trostenets, of whom 150,000 were killed at the Blagovshchina Forest between September 1941 and October 1943, and another 50,000 at the Shashkovka Forest between October 1943 and June 1944.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Maly Trostinets" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 November 2003.
  2. ^ Heberer, Patricia (2008). "Justice in Austrian Courts? The Case of Josef W. and Austria's Difficult Relationship with Its Past". In Heberer, Patricia; Matthäus, Jürgen (eds.). Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 131.
  3. ^ a b "Maly Trostenets, Camp, Belorussia (USSR)". The International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019.
  4. ^ Lehnstaedt, Stephan (2016) [2010]. Occupation in the East: The Daily Lives of German Occupiers in Warsaw and Minsk, 1939–1944. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-78533-323-1.
  5. ^ Smilovitsky, Leonid (Summer–Winter 1999). "Ilya Ehrenburg on the Holocaust in Belarus: Unknown Testimony". East European Jewish Affairs. 29 (1–2): 61–74. doi:10.1080/13501679908577892. Archived from the original on 14 December 2002.
  6. ^ Kohl, Paul (2003). Das Vernichtungslager Trostenez: Augenzeugenberichte und Dokumente. Internationales Bildungs- und Begegnungswerk IBB. pp. 102–111. ISBN 9783935950077. Archived from the original on 2022-02-12. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  7. ^ "Contraction Camps: Maly Trostiets". Jewish Virtual Library. Archived from the original on 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  8. ^ a b "Maly Trostinets The Death Camp near Minsk". Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. Archived from the original on 2019-11-21. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  9. ^ a b "Maly Trostinets Camp". Holocaust Historical Society. Holocaust Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  10. ^ a b "Maly Trostinets". Aktion Reinhard Camps. Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  11. ^ "Book presentation: Maly Trostinec – das Totenbuch: Den Toten ihre Namen geben". Jewish Museum Vienna. 1 October 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kohl, Paul (1995). Der Krieg der deutschen Wehrmacht und der Polizei, 1941–1944: sowjetische Überlebende berichten. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag (includes a photograph of the camp).
  • Spector, Shmuel (1990). "Aktion 1005 – Effacing the Murder of Millions". Holocaust and Genocide Studies. 5 (2): 157–173. doi:10.1093/hgs/5.2.157.

53°51′44″N 27°42′19″E / 53.86222°N 27.70528°E / 53.86222; 27.70528