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Kozelets

Kozelets, Kozelets County, Chernigov District, Ukraine

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Jews settled in Kozelets at the beginning of the 17th century. In 1881 a pogrom was prevented by local police and the Russian army. The number of Jews in the town grew rapidly, reaching a peak of 1,634 in the early 1900s. In 1905, during a pogrom in the village, Jewish shops and the Jewish cemetery were vandalized. In 1920 a Yiddish school was established. In the wake of the Bolshevik revolution and Soviet urbanization many local Jews leaft Kozelets for other localities. In 1939 Kozelets had only 394 Jews, who comprised 8.8 percent of the total population.
Kozelets was occupied by German troops on September 11, 1941. Evacuation from Kozelets was difficult due to the lack of a railway station and main roads. On September 17 and 25, 1941 5 Jews were shot dead. During the occupation Jews from Kozelets were used for forced labor. Most Jews of the town were murdered during a German operation in October 1941 in the quarry of the local brick factory. The Kozelets technical school, a cemetery, and a church are also cited in different documents as the site of this murder operation. It is possible that shootings took place in more than one location. Some Jews from Kozelets who escaped the mass shooting were caught and transported to Chernigov, where they were murdered.
Many Jews from the Kozelets region were taken to the town of Kozelets and murdered. Documents report the killing there of at least 5 Jews from Chemer in Olishevka County in October 1941 and at least 4 Jews from Irzhakets in Kozelets County, who were shot on March 19, 1942.
Kozelets was liberated by the Red Army on September 29 (or on September 20), 1943.