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Nalchik

Nalchik, Nalchik County, Kabardino-Balkar ASSR District, Russia (today Nalchik) , Russia )

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The first Jewish presence in Nalchik refers to the beginning of the 19th century. In 1897 the local Jews numbered 1,354; 1,040 of them were Mountain Jews, while the rest were Ashkenazim. Seven percent of the entire population was Jewish.
By 1939 the number of Jews has risen to 3,007 or about 6 percent of the entire population. With the German invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941, Nalchik become a destination of civilian evacuation, including of many Jews.
Wehrmacht and SS troops occupied the city on October 28, 1942.
At the beginning of their rule in Nalchik the Germans tried to convince the Muslim population to support or join in carrying the anti-Jewish measures. They claimed that the Jews were trampling on Islam and, emphasizing one of the points of German propaganda, also that the Soviet rulers were Jewish. In Nalchik this attempt was not successful so that they the Germans themselves were responsible for most of the anti-Jewish abuse and violence.
The Germans established a ghetto in Nalchik and the local Jews were forced to wear armbands with a yellow star. Jews were forced to carry out hard labor, such as cleaning the streets and bathrooms, as well as to dig anti-tank trenches for the Wehrmacht.
Sometimes the Germans killed Jews individually. For example, they killed an older Jewish man when he tried to bury his son, a former POW.
The Mountain Jews established a council and succeeded in convincing the Germans that they were not Jewish but part of the indigenous population of the Caucasus. Some of the Germans believed that the "Mountain Jews" constituted a local sect of the Islam. The occupiers tnus decided to focus on killing the Ashkenazi Jews in Nalchik.
Between November and December 1942, the Germans took Ashkenazi Jews from the ghetto to the military airfield (three kilometers from Nalchik), where they murdered between 600 and 1,000 of them.
Among them were Ashkenazi Jews who were evacuated to Nalchik, as well as Ashkenazi Jewish families who lived in Nalchik before the outbreak of the German-Soviet War. The victims were killed in ant-tank trenches, which were probably prepared by the Red Army before the German occupation.
The Red Army liberated Nalchik on January 4, 1943.