The 76th Anniversary of the Yeysk Massacre and Why Europe Hasn’t Changed…

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Andrey Medvedev

76 years ago, on October 9th and 10th, 1942, children were killed in Yeysk. They were killed systematically, with German thoroughness.

At the beginning of the war, an orphanage in Simferopol was evacuated to Yeysk – 270 people, teachers and disabled children with cerebral palsy and the consequences of tuberculosis. On August 5th, 1942 the city was captured by the Germans.

On October 9th the executioners came to the yard of the orphanage – divisions of the SS. They drove gas vans. From the act of the commission on the investigation:

“They started to load the children in these vans, and those who resisted or tried to flee were thrown into the vans by force. When the employees of the orphanage asked ‘Where you taking the children?’, they were told ‘To Krasnodar’, some answered ‘To a banya’, and others said ‘To load sunflower seeds’. Since on the evening of October 9th the fascists were not able to take away all the children, on the morning of October 10th another van approached the building on Shcherbinovskaya Street, and another 33 more children were put inside it, and two lorries arrived at the building on Budyonny Street and took away the remaining boys and girls, and also 32 seriously ill bed-bound children”.

Then, when an exhumation was carried out, toys, postcards, and hand-embroidered kerchiefs were found in the children’s hands – they took with themselves the things that were dear to them, in order to not be afraid. But they were insufferably afraid. I try to imagine how it was. Frightened, crying children in the complete darkness of a stuffy chamber that is filled with exhaust gases. From the act of the commission:

“During the excavation of a grave we found 214 children’s corpses – boys and girls, aged from 4 to 7 (which are approximately lying randomly on each other), most of them grasp each other’s hands in pairs. Some of them had sticks and crutches in their hands”.

Grasping each other’s hands in pairs. Do you know what this is? These children were dying, holding onto each other’s hands, embracing each other so that during the last seconds of their lives they could feel that they weren’t alone in this endless suffocating darkness, that someone’s hand holds yours, and it means that the horror recedes a little. Just a little bit. 214 children and teenagers.

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When European politicians say something about universal values, about the tears of children, about the horrors of war that outrage them, I think: all of you are lying, you spit on all of this. All of you in that war either worked for Germany or stood in the same rank in the “war against the Bolshevism”. Your ancestors served food to Germans in restaurants, slept with them, entered into national legions of the SS, and all of you came to our land. And you sowed evil and hatred and never, even once repented of this. And it’s not you who should teach us how we should and shouldn’t live.

Because you didn’t change. You bombed Serbia to defend Serbs. You flooded Syria and Iraq with blood in order to bring freedom to Syrians and Iraqis. You have bombed Afghanistan for years for the sake of the happiness of Afghans.

214 children from the Yeysk orphanage… I don’t know why they were killed. I don’t understand. I am not able to understand what was in the head of the executioners. I know only that if we forget these boys and girls we will become no better than these murderers.

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