7 Execution site(s)
Mikhail V., born in 1928, a Jewish survivor: “Y. U. : Was ghetto created right after the Germans arrived? Witness : After the newspaper was created, they wrote that all the Jews have to resettle at certain streets. And the names of the streets were written. Not everybody obeyed. But they would find out about it with the help of the local people. So, when on September 15th they gathered the Jews, I was not there, because my mother left me with bread. So, there were wooden pavilions on the market square, they would force the Jews inside. When everybody was there, they would take away those who could not walk, by carts or vehicles. The rest were marched in column .
Y.U. : And the streets designated for ghetto, they were located at the center of the town?
Witness : The ghetto was more than one street. They knew where they would be executing the Jews, so they were chasing the Jews off the central streets, like Peski, Staromestnaya and Zagrebelnaya streets.
Y. U. : Were those streets located at the center?
Witness : Zagrebelnaya it is actually a whole area. Staromestnaya is next to the market.
Y. U. : And your house, was it next to the ghetto or at the center?
Witness : Our house was next to the market.
Y. U. : Where the ghetto was?- Yes.
Y.U. : So, you didn’t have to go somewhere? You could stay in your house?
Witness : We moved into a house of my mother’s sister Ida , who managed to leave the city. And our house was hit by the bomb, so we moved into her house, which like ours, had three rooms. And then we lived in another house. [...]” (Witness n°2924U, interviewed in Berdychiv, on July 20, 2021).
"This happened at the end of September or at the beginning of October 1941. At noon, I saw people of different ages, old people and children among them, being brought by the Germans. These nearly naked people stopped not far from the pit. The Germans took a group of people and brought them to the pit where the executioners were waiting. Meanwhile, those who waited for their turn were saying goodbye to each other." [RG-22.002M/7021-60/285]
"I know one Judenaktion which took place in Berdychiv and I remember that I was in charge of the surveillance of the Jews in the street of the collection. There were women, men and children in the streets I was guarding." [B162-6661 to B162-6670. B162-6664]
Berdychiv is located 44 km south of Zhytomyr. The mention of the first Jewish community dates backs to the end of 16th century. From 1785, Berdychiv was home to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdychiv, a prominent Hassidic leader, as well as Rabbi Yitzhak Ber Levinzon, a famous advocate for Jewish Enlightenment. In 1899 the Jews represented about 80% of the total population. During the civil war, the population roughly decreased due to attacks and the change of power. There were several Jewish Yiddish schools, several synagogues, historical cultural center. Until the middle of 1930s, there was a newspaper Der Arbeiter (The Worker). During the Soviet period, many religious institutions in Berdychiv were closed, and Zionist activity prohibited. The majority of Jews worked in small and medium trade and industry while others lived off handcraft. On the eve of the war, almost 40% of total population were Jews. The town was occupied by German forces in early July 1941. By that time, almost 35% of the Jewish population, including refugees from recently annexed Polish territories, evacuated or, in the case of young men, were enrolled in the Soviet army.
During the occupation Berdychiv was a incorporated in the Generalkommissariat Zhitomir. Because of this, there were many different military staff, security police, and Einsatzgruppen squads present in the city, who took active part in the extermination of the Jews. By August 22, 1941, a ghetto had been established in Berdichev, around Yatki area. From August 1941 to June 1942, the Jewish population of Berdychiv was annihilated in a number of murder operations. During every murder operation, the Germans separated Jewish “specialists” needed for labor. Before the establishment of the ghetto about 850 Jews were shot by Waffen SS.
The next two big executions were conducted in the early and mid-September 1941. During those executions about 13,000 Jews were taken exterminated. The liquidation of the ghetto was conducted at the end of October –beginning of November, 1941. During the liquidation, all the remaining Jews were first gathered at the monastery and then taken to the village Solotvin where they were shot. At the end of February 1942 about 230 remaining Jews were resettled to the area called Lysa Gora where they stayed in a camp until its total liquidation in June 1942. During its existence, about 700 Jews were resettled there from the surrounding villages, such as Ivanopil, Ruzhyn, Andrushivka. In a separate operation on April 27, 1942, some seventy Jewish women from mixed families were shot together with their children. The last execution took place in mid-November 1943 and beginning of January 1944 when the last specialists were murdered.
For more information about the executions in Adrushivka and Ivanopil please refer to the corresponding profiles
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