Maly Trostenets extermination camp, Minsk

On my recent trip to Belarus I took the opportunity to visit Maly Trostenets extermination camp in the outskirts of Minsk. The camp was initially established during the summer of 1941 in a soviet collective farm to house POW’s captured during the initial period of operation Barbarossa. The purpose of the camp changed on 10 may 1942 when with the arrival of jews from Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia it became a Vernichtungslager and continued to act as such until October 1943 when most of the Jews from the Minsk ghetto had been killed there.

Administered by Unterscharführer Heinrich Eiche the camp was visited early after opening and whilst used as a POW camp by Heinrich Himmler.

There were no killing facilities on site inmates being killed on arrival by being shot or placed in ‘gas vans’ for the short journey from the rail head to the camp. Original estimates by the Soviet authorities give a killed figure of 200, 000 - 500,000 however historians such as Yad Vashem now give a figure of about 65000.

On the approach of Soviet forces in June 1944 the victims were dug up and incinerated by the remaining inmates and local villagers who were then killed themselves and the camp was destroyed under sonderaktion 1005 to hide evidence. In subsequent investigation the Soviets found the locations of 34 grave pits.

Little remains of the camp today apart from a avenue of poplar trees planted either side of the camps main access drive and the foundations of some camp buildings.

Memorial depicting entry gates.



Sentry box, original gate and box for removing ashes.



Cover from crematorium oven.

Original photo’s of the camp, camp gates and members of the Soviet investigation committee.




Attached Images

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