1 Execution site(s)
Kateryna V., born in 1928: “It was a sunny day. The weather was nice outside, so I went out of the house in the yard to play. And this moment, I saw a column of people passing by. Other villagers started to come out of their homes. Back then, I didn’t know they were Jews, but people started to talk between themselves. They were Jews who were brought from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to Transnistria, controlled by Romanians. All this I learned after the war, but back then, I was just staying and watching poor people passing by. The column was taken from the direction of Mohyliv -Podislky towards Iampil. Everyone in the column was marched, even children and elderly people. They carried their belongings, what they could, because how many things could you take in your hands? Some of them had small children in their arms, so I believe they took only the most necessary things. The column was guarded by soldiers in green uniforms. I don’t know who they were, either Germans or Romanians. They were armed with machine guns and had dogs with them. In the column, I saw a woman carrying a child, I made her sign to leave the child hoping to be able to save him, but it was too dangerous, and she didn’t want to.” (Witness n°2843U, interviewed in Olenivka on November 4, 2020)
"On July 28, 1941, the German-Romanian invaders brought the population forcibly deported from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Mohyliv and Iampil to the vicinity of Iaruha. In the evening, when most of the people had passed through, a German SS detachment arrived at Iaruha by truck. They came out of the village, arrested over 1,000 people at various points along the road, shot them without waiting on the road itself, then buried them in pits. The children were thrown alive.
Here’s what Shlioma Gershkovich Keselman, who was there, had to say: "I was on my way home from the fields with other kolkhoz workers when the execution of the population of Bessarabia and North Bukovina began. I saw Germans arriving in trucks and heading for the execution site; I heard the screams of those shot and, together with other Iarua inhabitants, we buried their bodies." [Act drawn up on November 3, 1944, in Iaruha by the State Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK); GARF 7021-54-1271/USHMM Copy]
Iaruha is a village, part of historical Podolia region, is located on the left bank of the Dniester, 26 km (16mi) from the district center Mohyliv-Podilskyi. The village was first mentioned in written sources of the XVII century. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the 18th century; according to some sources, they were Sephardic Jews who arrived from Spain. In 1784 there were 63 Jews. By 1947 their number grew up to 224. In 1897 the Jews comprised half of the Jewish population, 1,271 Jews lived here out of 2,506 population. The main occupation of Jews was agriculture and vineyards, even though some lived off small-scale trade and handcraft. In the 1930s, a Jewish kolkhoz was created. It continued to function after the war started but later was reunited with the Ukrainian one. On the eve of the war, about a thousand Jews remained in the village.
Iaruha was occupied first by Germans and then by Romanian troops in early July 1941. From September 1941, the village was taken under Romanian rule and became part of Transnistria. According to historical sources and some testimonies, about 1,000 Jews from Bessarabia and North Bukovina were brought. They were shot on July 28, 1941, by an SS detachment that arrived for this purpose. Some local Iaruha Jews were among the victims. Once the territory was taken under Romanian rule, a ghetto was created. All the local Jews were to resettle within the limits of the ghetto. The Jews were used as forced labor for farm work. According to the testimonies of the survivors, the chief of the village, who was also appointed as the chief of the police, played an important role in saving the Iaruha Jews. He provided them with decent rations of food, so they had more chances to survive. Moreover, in the case of roundups every local Jewish family, and sometimes refugees from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, were attached to a local non-Jewish family where they could hide or come to ask for food. Thanks to the solidarity of the local villagers, many local Jews managed to survive the occupation.
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