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Simferopol

Simferopol, Simferopol County, Crimean ASSR District, Russia (today Ukraine)

To enlarge the map click here Former building of the Talmud Torah and later a collection point of the Krymchak Jews 
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Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyy, 2011 Former building of the Talmud Torah and later a collection point of the Krymchak Jews
Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyy, 2011
The International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem One of the collection points of the Ashkenazi Jews, that served before the war as the regional Party committee building. Today it houses the National Museum of Crimea. 
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Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyy, 2011 One of the collection points of the Ashkenazi Jews, that served before the war as the regional Party committee building. Today it houses the National Museum of Crimea.
Photo by Mikhail Tyaglyy, 2011
The International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem

Jewish settlement in this location began with the founding of the city in the late 18th century. In 1897 the Jewish population numbered 951 Ashkenzi Jews, 500 Krymchaks Jews, and 1,000 Karaites (out of a total city population of 49,078). About 22 percent of the Jews were engaged in small-scale trade or crafts. Many Jews were employed in the city's tobacco factories and printing houses, many of which were owned by Jews.
On April 21, 1905 42 Jews were killed in a pogrom. After the February Revolution a self-defense unit was formed to defend the Jews against rioters. In 1926 19,863 Jews (including 1,502 Krymchaks, who comprised 25.5 percent of the total Crimean Krymchak community) were living in Simferopol. Simferopol was one of the centers from which Jewish farm settlers who came to the area were settled in various locations in the Crimea. In 1939 the Jewish Ashkenazi and Krymchak population of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, was 22,791 and, hence the largest Jewish community in the Crimea. This number amounted to 16 percent of the total population of the city. In Simferopol County outside the city the Jewish population was 728. On the eve of the German occupation more than 10,000 Jews managed to leave the city and the county.
The Germans captured the city on November 1, 1941. The Jews were ordered to wear white armbands with a Star of David on both sleeves or, according to one testimony, on their chests. After Sonderkommando 10a arrived in the city, the Germans appointed a Jewish council to carry out the registration of Simferopol's Jews. On November 18, 1941 the Jews of the city were registered. According to Jewish testimonies, there were then about 12,000 Jews, including Krymchaks and, apparently, some refugees from Ukraine and from some rural Jewish communities in Crimea. Some of those who didn't appear for the registration were hanged on the city streets in order to intimidate the Jewish population. Jewish property was confiscated and the Jews were made to perform various types of forced labor, such as digging up earth and hauling stones.
Between December 9 and 13, 1941 about 12,000 Ashkenazi and Krymchak Jews (or, according to an exaggerated Soviet estimation, 17,000) Jews, including refugees) were shot to death outside the city. According to a German report, between January 9th and February 15th, 1942 another 300 Jews who had been hiding were shot to death outside the city by Sonderkommando 11b. Many of the victims had been betrayed to the Germans by the local population.
In March 1942 the well known Jewish doctors Prof. N. Balaban, Mironov, and Steinholts, who until then had been allowed to keep working, were killed by the Gestapo, together with their non-Jewish wives, who chose to share the fate of their husbands.
Between May and July 1942 Jews who had been hiding, children from mixed marriages (usually along with their non-Jewish parent who chose to die with their children), and a small group of Jewish tailors, shoemakers, and craftsmen who had been kept alive by the Germans for their needs (as well as partisans and Communists) were asphyxiated in gas vans by the SD. Their bodies were thrown into anti-tank trenches outside the city.
Simferopol was liberated by the Red Army on April 13, 1944.