1 Execution site(s)
Natalia D., born in 1927, remembered the day of the shooting: “All the Jews were taken in trucks under the pretext of being relocated to Palestine. At 10am, from my house, through a window, I saw two trucks arrive. In each truck, there were about 30 people. When one group got off the truck, they were forced to undress. Meanwhile, another truck full of Jews was waiting behind it. Can you imagine?! Other Jews could see what was happening. They cried and screamed. It was unbearable…Everything was carried out by the Germans. There were Germans who arrived with Jews in trucks. They made them get off and disrobe. The put the clothes on a pile, which was guarded by the Germans. After the shooting, the Germans took the best clothes, got in trucks and left.” (Eyewitness n°1934, interviewed in Mlyny, on October 21, 2015)
“During the German occupation, on May 12, 1942, German barbarians and their collaborators murdered 287 Jews from the town of Lokhvytsia.” Act by the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, made in 1944; RG 22.002M, Fond 7021, Opis 70, Delo 980a]
Mlyny is a village located about 130km northwest of Poltava. We don’t have any information about the Jews who lived in Mlyny. However, in the nearby town of Lokhvytsia, located 5km away from Mlyny, the first Jewish settlement dates back to the mid 16th century. During the cossacks’ pogroms, the majority of the Jews escaped and there were few victims. On the eve of the war, about 2,000 Jews lived in the town, which represented 20% of the total population. The Jews in Lokhvytsia were mostly artisans or worked in commerce. At the end of the 1920s, most Jewish artisans were members of industrial cooperatives or worked for state enterprises. There was a Jewish kolkhoz. The town of Lokhvytsia was occupied by German troops on September 12, 1941. Many Jews managed to leave the town for the Soviet interior before they arrived.
An open ghetto was established in October 1941. It was divided into two parts and concentrated in the areas where the Jews lived before the war. Even though it was open, it was forbidden for Jews to leave its territory under the threat of being shot and there were checkpoints. During its existence till May 1942, the Jews from the nearby villages of the district, such as Sencha, were relocated in the ghetto of Lokhvytsia. In addition to the local Jews, there were a small number of Jewish refuges from the West who didn’t have time to evacuate further. The men fit to work were subjected to different kinds of labor, typically cleaning. On May 12, 1942, all the Jews from the ghetto were taken outside the town and shot in the nearby village, in the ravine. Few details were known about the execution. According to an eyewitness interviewed by Yahad, after being brought in trucks to the execution site, the Jews were forced to undress to their underwear close to a hut, and then walked about 500m towards the hill, where they were shot by two Germans in black coats. Another German was in charge of putting the poison under the children’s noses. From the archives, we know that the execution was conducted by Sonderkommando, led by Karl Plath.
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