Mass Murder By the Einsatzgruppen, 1941

In this video, Michael Kutz recounts the experience of being separated from his family and forced towards a mass grave site with the other Jews from his town of Nieswiez. Michael regained consciousness after being hit over the head and had to climb over bodies to get out of the grave pit. Source: Montreal Holocaust Museum, 1994



Video begins with inter-title in white text on black screen while instrumental music plays and fades into the next frame: In October 1941, all Jews in the town of Nieswiez (Belarus) were rounded up by the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi death squads).



Cut to Holocaust survivor Michael Kutz, sitting in front of a black background, and looking to the left of the camera. The camera shows his face and shoulders as he speaks during an interview conducted in Montreal in 1994.

>> Michael Kutz: So my column approached late in the afternoon, in the Radziwill park.



The name “Michael Kutz” and the location of the filmed interview, “Montreal”, appear in white text above Michael's right shoulder.

>>We were stopped 100 yards away from the grave sites. Naturally we heard shots, we heard grenades, we heard screaming, yelling. Some of them were throwing themselves at the Nazis.



Second inter-title appears in white text on black screen while instrumental music continues playing: Eleven-year-old Michael Kutz was separated from his family and forced to walk towards a mass grave site.



Cut to Michael Kutz in front of the camera.

>> Some elderly, who didn't understand what the Germans wanted them to do, were in their underwear. Some of them tried to hide themselves, women, you know, because you are naked. Some of them were trying to hold their children as much as they can, their babies to them. I walked with some members of my group towards the grave, and I noticed that were made up like a step going down. It was a large, large group. A lot of them had to go down and lay down flat. It was like herring, like sardines. And then the Germans were throwing grenades or shooting them at random. I don't know what had happened. I must have gotten a rifle over the head, in the grave, because I did not walk down the steps, that I remember. And after a while – I don't know how long it happened to me, it could be 2 hours, it could be 3 hours I don't know – I opened up my eyes, and I started to listen, that people under me, on top of me, below me, are semi-dead. You could hear voices. Then around me, I saw some legs, limbs, everything shattered all around from the grenades. And it was hard for me to breathe too, because people were on top of me. I started to move around, and I could move. I wasn't shot. So I tried to move my body as much as I can, and I managed to free myself.


Music plays for the remainder of the video. Three credit pages appear in white text on black screen: Interview conducted by Gerry Singer, Witness to History Program, Montreal, 1994, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre

Directing: Helgi Piccinin; Editing and Colorization: Michaël Gravel, Helgi Piccinin; Audio Mix and Original Music: Pierre-Luc Lecours. [Logo for Chaire de recherche du Canada en patrimoine ethnologique]

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, copyright 2017.



End of transcript.

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