Maly Trostinez extermination camp

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Memorial with obelisk (2008)

Maly Trostinez ( Russian Малый Тростенец , Maly Trostenez ; Belarusian Малы Трасцянец , Maly Traszjanez ), also known as the Maly Trostinez extermination site , was located in a rural area about twelve kilometers south-east of Minsk and the security police were under the command of the police Belarus . Between 1942 and 1944, 40,000 to 60,000 people were murdered near Maly Trostinez, the vast majority of them Jews as well as Soviet prisoners of war and suspected partisans . Most of the victims were shot or gassed in the nearby forest of Blagowschtschina and from 1943 in the forest of Schaschkowka without having been in the camp itself beforehand.


After Hitler ordered the deportation of Jews from the larger cities of the Reich in September 1941, according to the plans of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), 25,000 German, Austrian and Czech Jews were to be brought to Minsk against the resistance of the General Commissariat of Belarus under Wilhelm Kube . Adolf Eichmann and a little later Heinrich Himmler traveled to talks with Kube in March 1942 and it was probably decided that the Jews would no longer be transferred to the overcrowded Minsk ghetto for civil administration, but to the KdS under Eduard Strauch . Shortly afterwards, Reinhard Heydrich commissioned Strauch's office to kill the arriving Jews as soon as they arrived.

In April 1942, the KdS Strauch took over the former collective farm "Karl Marx" near the village of Trostenez, eleven kilometers southeast of Minsk, to set up a murder center. The kolkhoz was expanded into an estate (estate of the commander) with a labor camp, a poorly visible execution site was set up in the Blagovshchina forest one kilometer away, and the disused Kolodisze siding was reopened in mid-August 1942 as a rail connection for deportation trains. Trostenets acted as a temporary replacement for an extermination camp planned but not completed in Mogilev.

The forced labor camp

In addition to farming, the concentration camp prisoners also worked in various handicraft businesses on the estate. There was also a laundry, blacksmith and locksmith's shop, carpentry, glazing, tannery, a mill and a sawmill. It was mainly produced for the needs of the KdS members and the Minsk order police. As in extermination camps, there were later small work detachments that were assigned to sorting clothes, tailoring and shoemaking to utilize the property of the deported Jews.

The “working Jews” were housed in several barracks. There was a gallows on the triple fence with barbed wire. The number of prisoners varied between 500 and 1,000 people. After the closure of the Minsk ghetto in October 1943, it fell to around 200.

The manager of the property and camp manager was the Baltic German SS-Unterscharführer Heinrich Eiche , who was replaced by the Austrian Hauptscharführer Rieder in autumn 1943. The prisoners were guarded by parts of a Ukrainian protection team that was stationed on the estate and was subordinate to the police .

The nomenclature of the camp can hardly be determined due to a lack of sources. In a telex the camp is referred to as the “replacement prison KL. Trostinez ”, while one surviving inmate stated that it had been designated as an“ extended SS and police prison ”.

Murder site in Blagovshchina

The plans for a large extermination camp in Mahiljou (Mogiljow), for which several cremation ovens had already been ordered in November 1941, were abandoned for traffic reasons. In Maly Trostinez, Jews from the German Reich (that is the “Old Reich” Germany and with the “Ostmark” the “ affiliatedAustria ) were removed from Maly Trostinez, mainly from Vienna by train to Minsk and immediately further to Maly Trostinez the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and from the concentration camp / camp / ghetto Theresienstadt in occupied Poland, partly murdered by gas vans from June 1942, but mostly murdered by shootings . In the course of the summer, Belarusian Jews were included in the extermination campaigns, mainly from the Minsk ghetto.

On April 22nd, the 2nd platoon (one non-commissioned officer and ten men) of the small Waffen-SS unit under the KdS began in Maly Trostinez with eight days of earthwork to dig the first mortuary pits. On April 30, the entire train took part in an "action to clear the prison in Minsk". On May 4th, pits were dug again for incoming transports. On May 17, 1942, the platoon leader of the Waffen SS, SS-Unterscharführer Gerhard Arlt, noted in his activity report :

“On May 11th, a transport with Jews (1000 pieces) from Vienna arrived in Minsk and was immediately taken from the train station to the above-mentioned pit. For this purpose, the train was used directly at the pit. "

For Maly Trostinez, this is the first mass murder that has been proven beyond doubt by contemporary sources , in which almost all of the deportees were shot on arrival. The inmates of the special trains were brought to the execution site of Maly Trostinez, a small pine forest, and shot there by around 80 police officers and members of the Waffen SS.

Gas vans were used from June 1942 at the latest to make the mass murders more efficient and to spare the nerves of the firing squads. Initially, two trucks from the Diamond brand and a larger one from the Saurer brand were in use. In mid-July another gas truck came from Serbia and Task Force B temporarily parked gas trucks at the Minsk KdS.

Murder site in Shashkowka

Because of the removal of traces in the forest of Blagovshchina and more frequent attacks by Belarusian partisan units, the BdS decided at the end of 1943 to carry out future executions near the heavily guarded property in the forest of Shashkowka. For this purpose, a cremation pit was set up as a temporary crematorium in early 1944 , in which the corpses from the gas vans were burned. Executions were also carried out there from March 1944. Those killed were non-Jewish civilians who had been captured during partisan actions in the Belarusian villages and classified as incapable of work. H. mainly women with infants and young children, old and frail.

Deportations to Maly Trostinez

Between May and October 1942, predominantly Jews from Vienna - namely 9 out of 16 deportation trains - and Theresienstadt - namely 5 out of 16 deportation trains - were brought to Maly Trostinez. Almost every one of these deportation trains carried 1,000 people. Occasionally a few people were singled out and taken to the labor camp, all the others were immediately driven to the execution site by truck on their arrival at the Minsk train station or murdered in gas vans on the way to Blagovshchina; from August 1942 the railway trains were taken over a branch line directly to Maly Trostinez in the immediate vicinity of the Blagovshchina.

Deportations to Maly Trostinez
train Place of departure date Place of arrival Arrivals number
Since 201 Vienna May 6, 1942 Minsk May 11, 1942 994/1000
Since 202 Vienna May 20, 1942 Minsk 23/26 May 986/1000
Since 204 Vienna May 27, 1942 Minsk June 1, 1942 981
Since 205 Vienna June 2, 1942 Minsk 5th / 9th June 1942 999
Since 206 Vienna June 9, 1942 Minsk 13./15. June 1006
Since 40 Koenigsberg / Berlin June 24, 1942 Minsk June 26, 1942 770
Since 220 / Aax Theresienstadt July 14, 1942 Minsk July 17, 1942 1000
Since 219 Cologne July 20, 1942 Minsk July 24, 1942 1164
Since 222 / Aaz Theresienstadt 4th August 1942 Trostinez August 10, 1942 993/995
Since 223 Vienna August 17, 1942 Trostinez August 21, 1942 1003
Since 224 / Bc Theresienstadt August 25, 1942 Trostinez August 28, 1942 1000
Since 225 Vienna August 31, 1942 Trostinez 2nd / 4th September 1942 967
Since 226 / Bk Theresienstadt September 8, 1942 Trostinez 11./12. September 1942 1000
Since 227 Vienna September 14, 1942 Trostinez 16./18. September 1942 992
Since 228 / Bn Theresienstadt September 22, 1942 Trostinez September 25, 1942 992
Since 230 Vienna October 5, 1942 Trostinez October 9, 1942 544/547

Another train that left Theresienstadt on July 28th with 996 people with the destination Maly Trostinez (Da 221 Aay) was stopped 145 km before Minsk in Baranowitschi and the occupants were liquidated there. The reason was the stress on the SS members during the great liquidation operation in the Minsk ghetto .

Due to the approximately 10,000 Viennese Jews murdered there , Maly Trostinez is the place with the most Austrian victims of the Shoah.

Trace removal

On October 27, 1943, a week after the murder of the last prisoners of the Minsk Ghetto, men of Sonderkommando 1005-Mitte began clearing the tracks in the forest of Blagovshchina. Command leader Arthur Harder had the 100 young Jewish men initially scheduled for the exhumation work murdered in two gas vans and replaced by 100 Russian prisoners. The exhumed corpses of the massacres were stacked in stakes by the workers and then burned, and the remains were sifted through for tooth and jewelry gold. In November 1943 Harder was replaced by Friedrich Seekel and in December 1943 by Max Krahner . By December 16, 1943 at the latest, the covering of tracks was stopped and the workers were murdered in a gas truck and then burned.

Since the forest was not available as an execution site during the exhumations, a “small execution site” was set up in the Shaschkowka forest about 500 m west of the Trostinez camp.

With the Trostinez location, the Sonderkommando continued Operation 1005 in the Minsk area until April 1944. In mid-June 1944, some German officials arrived in Maly Trostinez and, probably on the orders of the commander of the security police and SD Heinrich Seetzen , several thousand prisoners of war and prisoners from the SD prisons were brought to Trostinez at the end of June and there with the last prisoners in a barn Machine guns shot and the barn set on fire. When the first Red Army units arrived three days later, the piles of corpses were still burning.

Estimated casualty figures

On August 13, 1944, the Minsk Department of the Soviet State Commission of Inquiry into the Exposure of Fascist Crimes submitted estimates of the number of victims under considerable time and political pressure. According to their information, a total of 206,500 victims are to be mourned, of which 150,000 died in Blagowschtschina, 50,000 in Shaschkowka and 6,500 in the barn of the camp. Christian Gerlach assumes that around 60,000 people were murdered in Maly Trostinez. This includes a slightly higher number of deportation victims and the assumption of the official figure of 6,500 victims in the barn of the camp, so that Petra Rentrop assumes a slightly lower number.

For prominent victims of the Maly Trostinez extermination camp see category: Fatalities in the Maly Trostinez extermination camp


Legal processing

The first indications of the crimes appeared in the Belarusian underground press in 1942. The Extraordinary State Commission of the USSR prepared a report on the crimes, which appeared in Union and Republic periodicals in 1944. Since the themes of the Holocaust , prisoner-of-war and forced labor did not fit in with the victorious myth, they faded into the background and later forgotten. The information on the mass victims was not included in the materials of the Nuremberg Trial.

The trial of the former Minsk Gestapo boss Georg Heuser , who had risen to head of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Criminal Police Office in the 1950s, and ten other members of the KdS Minsk caused a stir . Heuser was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Koblenz district court in 1963 for joint aiding and abetting in murder and manslaughter, the other defendants received prison terms of between four and ten years.

The activity of the Austrian judiciary was limited until the 1970s to the collection of Federal German investigation results, whereby in some cases envelopes with trial documents and copies were not even opened. There were hardly any independent activities to solve the crimes.

Historiographical classification

The historian Petra Rentrop sees Maly Trostinez as an intermediate stage between the site of mass extermination and the extermination camp, whereby the murder methods used are similar to the Kulmhof extermination camp , while the intentions to kill and plunder the Jews are similar to the camps of Aktion Reinhardt . It also points to the grueling efficiency Trostinez had, despite his makeshift character.


Memorial plaque in the forest of Blagovshchina (2012)
Traveling exhibition Maly Trostenets extermination site (2018)

In 1963, the first memorial with an obelisk to commemorate the extermination camp was erected in the village of Wjaliki Trastjanez (Russian: Bolshoi Trostinez) . Two years later, a memorial was dedicated to the victims of those murdered in the camp at the site of the former barn. In the forest of Blagowschtschina and Schaschkowka, memorial stones and a memorial commemorate the shootings there and the location of the temporary crematorium.

In 2006 a concept for the construction of a “Way of the Cross” as a memorial was presented. In Austria, it is mainly thanks to Waltraud Barton that Maly Trostinez and the crimes committed there have become public awareness. Waltraud Barton, whose relatives were deported to Maly Trostinez in 1942 and murdered there, founded the association IM-MER Initiative Malvine - Maly Trostinec Remember in Vienna in 2010 . See also Waltraud Barton has been organizing commemorative trips to Maly Trostinez at least once a year since 2010, during which descendants of the victims, together with other Austrians, put name plaques in Blagowschtschina for their relatives murdered in Maly Trostinez and commemorate them by name in an interreligious memorial service. This is how the “Austrian Forest of Remembrance” came into being, which now consists of several hundred yellow nameplates and has become part of the national memorial. Waltraud Barton, u. a. Editor of “Maly Trostinec. The Book of the Dead ”, is also the initiator of the“ Massif of Names ”designed by Daniel Sanwald, which was inaugurated in 2019 - and was awarded the Golden Merit of the Republic of Austria in 2019. In Germany, the education and meeting center in Dortmund (IBB gGmbH) launched an initiative in March 2013 for a worthy Trostenez memorial.

As the first section of the memorial, the memorial The Gate of Remembrance was officially opened on June 22, 2015 . On October 13, 2016, the Austrian National Council unanimously decided on an initiative proposal that was introduced in 2015 by Waltraud Barton and the IM-MER association, which calls on the federal government to implement and finance a worthy monument.

Since November 8, 2016, the German-Belarusian exhibition Maly Trostenets extermination site. History and memory shown in parallel at different locations in Germany and Belarus. The exhibition was sponsored by the International Association for Education and Meeting, the International Center for Education and Meeting “Johannes Rau” Minsk (IBB Minsk) and the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The exhibition was funded by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge eV and the Foreign Office .

On June 29, 2018, in the presence of the Federal Presidents Frank-Walter Steinmeier ( Germany ) and Alexander Van der Bellen ( Austria ), the Austrian predecessor, former Federal President Heinz Fischer , and their wives who traveled with them, as well as the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a public memorial service Memorial The Way of Death in the forest of Blagovshchina inaugurated and handed over to its destination.

Before that, Federal President Van der Bellen and his wife Doris Schmidauer laid the symbolic foundation stone for an Austrian memorial for the victims of Maly Trostinez by planting a red beech. In their presence were former Federal President Heinz Fischer and his wife Margit Fischer , whose own family had victims to mourn who lost their lives in this place. The “Massif of Names” memorial designed by the architect Daniel Sanwald, which emerged from a competition, was inaugurated in 2019 and shows ten stone steles of the same size, these symbolize the ten “Viennese transports” to Maly Trostinez and show everyone's first names Murdered, breaking edges the arbitrary tearing of the victims from society.

Van der Bellen recalled in his speech that “more Jewish Austrians were murdered in Maly Trostenez than 'in any other extermination camp'”. Accordingly, there were up to 13,000 Austrian Jews who had been deported to Belarus and murdered there. "Of the thousands of Viennese [...] only seventeen survived 'this hell'", said the Federal President according to the speech manuscript, and said: "That the 'place of horror' Maly Trostenez and the names of the dead did not finally fall into oblivion", was "ultimately not the achievement of politics", but owed to the civil society commitment of Waltraud Barton and the IM-MER association she founded. Van der Bellen also underlined Austria's shared responsibility for the crimes of National Socialism and that Austrians had also participated in the atrocities of the National Socialists.


  • Waltraud Barton (Ed.): Murdered in Maly Trostinec. The Austrian victims of the Shoa in Belarus. new academic press, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-7003-1845-3 .
  • Waltraud Barton: Remember Maly Trostinez. The absence of our neighbors. In between world. Journal of the Culture of Exile and Resistance. Ed. Theodor Kramer Gesellschaft , Vol. 28, No. 1–2, Vienna 2012 ISSN  1606-4321 pp. 70–71.
  • Jochen Fuchs, Janine Lüdtke, Maria Schastnaya: Places of remembrance in Belarus: Chatyn and Maly Trostinec. Part 1: Maly Trostinec. In: Gedenkstättenrundbrief 2007, 139, pp. 3–9.
  • Christian Gerlach : Calculated murders. The German economic and extermination policy in Belarus from 1941 to 1944 . Hamburger Edition , 1999, ISBN 3-930908-54-9 , pp. 768-770: Article about Maly Trostinez.
  • Miroslav Kárný , col . : Terezínská pamětní kniha. Židovské oběti nacistických deportací z Čech a Moravy 1941–1945 , 2 vols., Nadace Terezínská iniciativa - Melantrich Publishing House , Prague 1995 (Theresienstadt Memorial Book. Jewish Victims of the Nazi Deportations from Bohemia and Moravia 1941–1945).
  • Paul Kohl : The war of the German armed forces and the police 1941-1944. Soviet survivors report . With an essay by Wolfram Wette , Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag No. 12306, Frankfurt 1995, pp. 77–116, ISBN 3-596-12306-2 .
  • Paul Kohl: The Trostenez extermination camp. Eyewitness reports and documents. IBB - International Education and Encounter, Dortmund 2003. ISBN 3-935950-07-1 .
  • Thomas Kues: The Maly Trostenets "Extermination Camp" . Inconvenient History, 2011, Vol. 3, No 1.
  • Karl Loewenstein: Minsk: In the camp of the German Jews (report from the former head of the Jewish security service ). In: From Politics and Contemporary History . Supplement to "The Parliament", B. 45/46 of November 7, 1956.
  • Heinz Rosenberg : Years of Terror. "... and I was left to tell you". (Report on the experience of a young Jew from Hamburg) Steidl, Göttingen 1985, ISBN 3-88243-238-1 .
  • Our honor is loyalty . Pp. 246, 250–257: Activity reports by SS-Unterscharführer Arlt, including the arrival of trains carrying German, Austrian and Czech Jews and their murder. (Arlt not to be confused with Fritz Arlt of the same name ). Europaverlag, Vienna 1965; again Baulino-Verlag 1985 ISBN 3-203-50842-7 .
  • Petra Rentrop: Crime scenes of the "final solution". The Minsk Ghetto and the Maly Trostinez extermination site. Metropol, Berlin 2011 ISBN 978-3-86331-038-7 .
  • Nikolaus Wachsmann : KL: The history of the National Socialist concentration camps. Siedler Verlag, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-88680-827-4 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Maly Trostinez extermination camp  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Petra Rentrop: Crime scenes of the "final solution". The Minsk Ghetto and the Maly Trostinez extermination site. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86331-038-7 , pp. 198f.
  2. ^ Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez . In: Wolfgang Benz , Barbara Distel (eds.): The place of terror . History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 9: Labor education camps, ghettos, youth protection camps, police detention camps, special camps, gypsy camps, forced labor camps. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-57238-8 , p. 573 f.
  3. ^ Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez . P. 574.
  4. ^ Petra Rentrop: Belarus . In: Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel (eds.): The place of terror. History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 9, CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 384.
  5. ^ Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez , p. 574.
  6. Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez , p. 578 f.
  7. ^ Christian Gerlach: Failure of Plans for an SS Extermination Camp in Mogilev, Belarussia. In: Holocaust and Genocide Studies 11 (1997), pp. 60-78.
  8. Petra Rentrop: "Maly Trostinez", p. 575.
  9. ^ Alfred Gottwaldt, Diana Schulle: Die 'Judendeportationen' ... ISBN 3-86539-059-5 , p. 238.
  10. ^ Alfred Gottwaldt, Diana Schulle: Die 'Judendeportationen' ... ISBN 3-86539-059-5 , p. 235.
  11. ^ Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez . P. 575 f.
  12. ^ Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez . P. 581 f.
  13. Petra Rentrop: Crime scenes of the final solution . Metropol 2011, ISBN 978-3-86331-038-7 , p. 206.
  14. Thomas Kues: The Maly Trostenets "Extermination Camp" . Inconvenient History 2011, Vol 3, No 1.
  15. ^ Tomáš Fedorovič: Maly Trostenets extermination site and the Jews from the Theresienstadt ghetto . In: The extermination site of Trostenets in European memory , materials for the international conference from 21.-24. March 2013 in Minsk, Ed .: Peter Junge-Wentrup, International Education and Encounter, p. 41.
  16. ^ Alfred Gottwaldt: Logic and logistics of 1,300 kilometers of railroad . In: Murdered in Maly Trosgtinec - The Austrian Victims of the Shoa in Belarus . Ed .: Waltraud Barton, New Academic Press Vienna 2012. ISBN 978-3-7003-1845-3 , p. 54.
  17. Last honor for 10,000 Viennese victims of the Shoah. The November 28, 2016 standard .
  18. Jens Hoffmann: "Aktion 1005" - The erasure of traces of mass crimes in Malyj Trostinez by German perpetrators . In: The extermination site of Trostenets in European memory , materials for the international conference from 21.-24. March 2013 in Minsk, Ed .: Peter Junge-Wentrup, International Education and Encounter Association, pp. 17–22.
  19. Petra Rentrop: Crime scenes of the final solution . P. 226 f.
  20. ^ Kuzma Kozak: Trostenez extermination site: history and culture of remembrance . In: The extermination site of Trostenets in European memory , materials for the international conference from 21.-24. March 2013 in Minsk, Ed .: Peter Junge-Wentrup, International Education and Encounter, p. 12.
  21. Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostenez , p. 583.
  22. Klaudia Kuredsidis-Haider: The criminalization of crimes in Maly Trostinec. In: Murdered in Maly Trostinec . Ed .: Waltraud Barton, Academic Press Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-7003-1845-3 , pp. 130 ff.
  23. Petra Rentrop: Maly Trostinez as the crime scene of the “final solution” . In: Murdered in Maly Trostinec. The Austrian victims of the Shoa in Belarus. Ed .: Waltraud Barton, new academic press, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-7003-1845-3 , p. 71.
  24. Anna Aksjanowa: Memorial Trostenez . In: The Trostenets extermination site in European memory. Materials for the international conference from 21.-24. March 2013 in Minsk, Ed .: Peter Junge-Wentrup, International Education and Encounter Association, p. 46.
  25. Jochen Fuchs et al .: Places of Remembrance ..., p. 7.
  26. IM-MER initiative Malvine - Maly Trostinec remember. Waltraud Barton, accessed February 5, 2018.
  27. IBB starts an initiative for a new memorial in Belarus. In: Website of the education and meeting center in Dortmund, March 2013.
  28. ^ National Council calls for a memorial for Jews in Maly Trostinec. In: Der Standard , October 13, 2016, accessed February 5, 2018.
  29. Hamburg is reminiscent of the little-known extermination site of Malyj-Trostenets. In: Website of the educational and meeting center in Dortmund, November 2016.
  30. ^ Traveling exhibition "Maly Trostenets extermination site. History and Memory ”in Cologne | IBB. Accessed June 30, 2018 (German).
  31. When visiting Belarus: Steinmeier warns against repression of Nazi crimes . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed June 29, 2018]).
  32. APA / PRK: Maly Trostenez: Alexander Van der Bellen emphasizes Austria's joint responsibility for Nazi crimes. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen at the memorial ceremony in the Maly Trostenez extermination camp in Belarus with his counterparts from Germany and Belarus and his predecessor Heinz Fischer. In: Press release of the Austrian Presidential Chancellery , June 29, 2018, accessed on June 29, 2018.

Coordinates: 53 ° 51 ′ 4 "  N , 27 ° 42 ′ 17"  E