30 september, 2019
Author: Elena Tsunaeva, no comments
Search activities organized by the Search Movement of Russia under the No Statute of Limitations project continue outside the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka in the Novgorod Region. Volunteers from the Dolina expedition, as well as servicemen from the 90th Separate Special Search Battalion, are investigating the sites where civilians were massacred in 1941-1943 by the Wehrmacht and Latvian police battalions.
“The Soviet people were brought in by motor vehicles and on foot. They had them stand near the pits and shot them from submachine guns, after which the corpses were laid in rows and covered with a thin layer of snow. Then, they brought new ones,” reads the act drafted by the commission for recording the Nazi invaders’ atrocities.
The search movement members found information about several more execution sites near the already explored burial place in archival documents that became available to researchers for the first time, and now the search movement members are exploring this area. The results will be made available to the Investigative Committee of the Novgorod Region.
On Wednesday, September 25, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against former SS legionnaire and citizen of the Republic of Latvia Visvaldis Latsis. He is suspected of committing a crime under Article 354.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (Rehabilitation of Nazism). In his book “The Latvian Legion in Light of Truth,” he endorses and supports the punitive acts by military personnel in Belarus and the Pskov, Leningrad and Novgorod regions occupied during the Great Patriotic War, including in the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka, which is known as “Novgorod Auschwitz.”
In May 2019, based on the results of search activities, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under Article 357 of the Russian Criminal Code “Genocide” upon discovery of a new mass grave of civilians outside the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka uncovered by the Dolina expedition of the Search Movement of Russia under the No Statute of Limitations project supported by President of Russia Vladimir Putin. So far, the remains of 520 people have been exhumed, including babies and a pregnant woman. Not all civilians were killed by a shot in the back of the head. Skulls split by a blunt instrument were discovered, and traces of torture were found, including cut off body parts.
In August, the Investigative Committee made public the names of 19 participants in punitive expeditions who killed thousands of civilians. All of them are residents or natives of the Latvian SSR. Some of them may still be alive. The new research by the search movement will shed more light on this case.
Following the publication of the list of identified Zhestyanaya Gorka victims, the descendants of the people killed by Nazi accomplices were found and they will act as aggrieved persons in the newly opened genocide case.
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