Kem. Burials of the executed | Russia's Necropolis of Terror and the Gulag

Kem. Burials of the executed



Date of burial
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Republic of Karelia, Kem district, Kem (outskirts)
Access outside a populated area
Public transport
Private or specialised transport
On foot
Visiting Hours or Restrictions
Type of burial
Secret interment of executed
Current use
Presence of memorials, etc.
Protected status
Not protected
Место захоронения расстрелянных. Фотография 2010 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»
Место захоронения расстрелянных. Фотография 2010 года. Источник: Архив НИЦ «Мемориал»

In 1989, other reports say 1992, human remains were discovered in the gravel quarry on the outskirts of the town of Kem at the 8th km of the Kem-Kalevala Road (then the 6th km of the Kem-Ukhta road). There were bullet holes in the skulls. It is reported that Ivan Chukhin found the remains and they were subsequently studied by Yury Dmitriev.

From archival evidence the Petrozavodsk prosecutor’s office established that these were the remains of people shot in 1937 during the Great Terror by the Kem district NKVD. The executions were carried out in the strictest secrecy. It is not known how many were shot; some evidence indicates there were about fifteen victims. Their case files are held in the prosecutor’s office archive. The remains were reburied by the entrance to the old town cemetery, and two crosses were placed over the burial.

In 1997, not far from the place of discovery, Father Vladimir (Alyoshin), incumbent of the Church of the Annunciation in Kem, erected a memorial cross by the side of the road, bearing the inscription, “This cross has been placed here in memory of the victims of political repression shot in 1937. May they rest in peace. October 1997”. Subsequently a wreath was attached to the cross with the message, “To my dear father”. Official ceremonies are not held here.

Books of Remembrance

The Commemorative Lists of Karelia, 1937-1938, compiled by Ivan Chukhin & Yury Dmitriev (2002, 1,087 pp) contain biographical entries for 14,038 individuals. The online Memorial database shows that 11,275 were shot and 1,958 sent to the camps, almost all during the Great Terror.

The lists include 356 who were shot “in the environs of the town of Kem”.

Nature of area requiring preservation
State of burialsAreaBoundaries
have not survived
not determined
not delineated
Administrative responsibility and ownership, informal responsibility for the site
On land under the control of the Kem urban district administration
Sources and bibliography

[ original texts and hyperlinks ]

V.L. Volkova, “A small link in a tragic chain: The town of Kem and the Kem district during the years of political repression”, Regional studies, Materials of the third research conference, Petrozavodsk, 2010

“Kem. Burials of those executed during the Terror”, Virtual Museum of the Gulag [retrieved on 26 May 2022]

Reply by the Kem municipal district administration (№ 07-37/334 of 24 April 2014) to a formal enquiry by RIC Memorial (St Petersburg)