Rostov-on-Don was occupied for the second time on 24 July, 1942. In August the 1stRostov Artillery School of anti-tank defense was turned to an infirmary for soviet prisoners of war (POWs), named Gross-infirmary No. 192 in German. Sick and wounded POWs were moved here from camps in Rostov, Bataisk, Sal'sk, Millerovo and other places of Rostov oblast.
Prisoners of war were kept in camp conditions: they lived in barracks, slept on wooden plank beds, fed twice a day with 150 grams of burned grain bread and unsalted soup mixed with barley bran, pearl barley or rotten vermicelli. Treatment was limited to issuing bandages and manganese no more than once every two weeks. Prisoners slept in unheated rooms of 60-70 square meters without mattresses, bedding or straw. They had frostbite of the third degree without going out on the street.
Фото: ГАРО (Государственный архив ростовской области). Фотокаталог. Б-190
The camp administration did not provide prisoners with water, so they had to be harnessed to carts with 40 bucket barrels of 12–20 people each and to cover a distance of 1.5–2 km.
“Patients” suffering from thirst and hunger often went outside for snow or garbage thrown out from the kitchen. In such cases, as well as in the cases of attempts to escape, prisoners of war were shot in a fenced-off part of the yard. The corpses of those who died of cold and diseases were also carried there. Daily mortality in the "hospital" reached 100 people per day. By the end of 1942, up to 8,000 prisoners were kept in Gross Infirmary No. 192. It is not known who participated in supervision of prisoners. Usually in such cases, Germans formed special units and used collaborators. After the liberation of the city on February 14, 1943, in a ditch in the courtyard of the “infirmary”, a special commission counted up to 3,000 corpses, 383 bodies of dead and executed prisoners of war laid nearby on the ground. 5,400 wounded and sick remained in the "hospital". According to modern estimates, the number of killed prisoners of war in the mass grave is from six to eight thousand.
In 1945, a memorial was created on the site of the mass grave. It was an area of more than twenty acres bordered by trees. In the center there was an earthen mound planted with flowers, and in front of it was a monument “to soldiers-liberators”. The inscription on the marble board stated that “the Soviet prisoners of war of the Nazi death camp, brutally tortured and executed were buried in it”. The territory of the memorial was no longer related to the artillery school and was under municipal jurisdiction. In the 1970s the successor of artillery school, Rostov highest command-engineering college, began to expand: it acquired a building, the straight passage to which laid through the memorial. With the permission of the city authorities in 1975, the mass grave with a size of 30x70 meters was covered with concrete slabs. The exhumation was carried out only partially. It is still unknown where the exhumed bodies were taken to. Today, the territory of the former memorial is under the jurisdiction of the “183 Training Center” of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. This is a “military school”, which is also a military unit. The burial site hasn’t been marked with any memorial although the story of “Gross Infirmary No. 192” is well known to Rostov. The mass grave is the second largest crime of the Nazis in Rostov during the Second World War. During 2010s various groups of people performed memorial processions to the mass grave. In 2011, a group of school veterans (N. Polovinchuk, N. Shevkunov), together with A. Kozhin, Chairman of the Council of Rostov branch of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments, addressed an appeal to the President of the Russian Federation, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, the Governor of the region and the Mayor of the city. The authors of the appeal suggested to use a part of the territory of the then closed school for a museum and a memorial complex. In 2015, the Rostov public activists A.Z. Karpenko and A.P. Stasyuk proposed the same on a local TV. These proposals have not been implemented up until now. Instead of a museum, the place of “Gross Infirmary No. 192” is occupied by a large-scale military training complex enclosed by high walls with barbed wire.
Prospect Mikhaila Nagibina, 24/50
Entrance to the territory of the training center is carried out with passes only. Access to the mass grave is available by prior agreement.
The platform was created as part of the “Memory – Wiki - In the footsteps of the memory of the “forgotten” victims of National Socialism in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Germany,” organized by the Berlin public association “KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI”.
The idea and the content of the website were developed by the students of history at four universities: Bremen University, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don and the National Research University "Higher School of Economics", Moscow.
The project was carried out by the association "KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI" with the support of the foundations “Erinnerung Lindau” and “Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft”, as well as the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.