2 Execution site(s)
Tatiana R., a Jewish survivor, born in 1943: “My parents told me many things, I will tell you about them. At that time my parents were nineteen years old. My mother, Anna Berman, was from Staraia Ushitsa. Her parents and two sisters lived here. When the war started, she was a student at the Kamianets-Podilskyi Pedagogical Institute. When the Germans came here, they brought the Jews from Kamenets-Podolski here to build the highway. My mother ended up in the ghetto with the Jews. Life in the ghetto was hard, they were not given anything to eat, they hardly had any clothes. The Jews were exhausted, every day they had to walk to the construction site at Kamianets-Podilskyi, which is thirty-five kilometers from here and in the evening, they returned to the ghetto. At the construction site my mother met my father, Gutzol Piotr. He was Ukrainian. He also worked on the construction site, he brought the materials needed for the construction of the road. My father was born in 1923, he was too young to go to the army, so he stayed here. My father fell in love with my mother and tried to get her out of the ghetto by means he could. […] When he returned to the construction site to try to persuade my mother to go with him, there was no one left. He was told that all the Jews had gone to Kamenets-Podolski to be shot there. My mother used to tell me that they were shot in groups of twenty. She was sitting with other women and as they went along, she would slowly back away so as not to be in front. Meanwhile my father ran into the village, took his sister Anna’s passport. Then with this false passport he ran to the place of the shooting. When he arrived, my mother was already undressed for the shooting. My father spoke to a Schutzmann saying that they had brought his sister by mistake. Seeing him my mother understood everything, she shouted "Petia, I’m here" and the Schutzmann let him go. My parents had already moved two hundred meters away from the shooting site when they came across two Germans and a Schutzmann. Suddenly this Schutzmann recognized my mother and shouted, "She’s a Jew," and my parents were arrested. One of the Germans ordered them to be hanged at the nearby stadium. The second German asked him to let them go, but he refused and left. When they were already near the stadium the second German pulled out his gun, shot the Schutzmann and told my parents to run away. They hesitated for a moment but left. They went a long way, it was hard. On the way my mother fell ill with typhus, she was in the hospital and my father was forced to marry a local woman in order to support my mother, to feed her. While in the hospital my mother was very afraid to speak the Jewish language in delirium. She had a dream in which her mother told her not to speak and she didn’t say anything. Everyone thought she was mute, and she survived.” (Witness n°681U, interviewed in Stara Ushytsia, on August 19, 2008)
“On May 28, 1944, we, the undersigned, upon exhuming the graves located in the territory of the Staraya Ushitsa county, established the following: On July 22, 1942, the German monsters carried out a shooting of 820 civilian residents. The graves lie about 2 km northwest of Staraya Ushitsa, in the Ushinskaya Gora tract, about 100m from the road. The first one, north of Staraya Ushitsa…, [contains] the bodies of 385 men who were shot dead; the second one contains the bodies of 435 women and children. The order to shoot the civilians was given by Noffke, the German Kommandant of Staraya Ushitsa. To carry out the shooting, 20 German executioners came from Kamianets-Podilskyi, and two of them fired. During the exhumation, the forensic expert of the commission established that victims were shot from behind, at their chests and heads; some of the victims were beaten before being shot; the children were thrown into the grave alive. In addition, the former county chief Belokon stated that, in his presence, there had been cases of children being thrown into the grave alive, and that people who had been shot but remained alive for some time, were finished off with rifle butts.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Commission (ChGK) on May 28, 1944; GARF 7021-64-816]
Stara Ushytsia is a small town located 48km (30mi) east of Kamianets-Podilskyi. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the 18th century. By 1897, 1,573 Jews lived in the town, making up 14% of the total population. The majority of Jews were merchants, owning their own shops, or artisans. Under Soviet rule in 1929, a Jewish kolkhoz [collective farm] was established, which was later merged with a Ukrainian one. During the prewar Soviet period, the Jewish artisans were forced to work in cooperatives and all the private businesses were nationalized. Until the late 1930s there was a four-year Yiddish school that later closed, and all children went to the Ukrainian school. On the eve of the war, in 1939, some 753 Jews lived in the town, making up 17% of the town’s total population. Some 354 Jews lived in the nearby villages that were part of the Stara Ushytsia district.
Stara Ushytsia was occupied by the Germans on July 7, 1941. Shortly after the occupation, all the Jews were registered, marked with yellow distinguishing badges, and forbidden to leave town. Those fit to work were subjected to hard labor, such as cleaning, chopping wood, etc. Some Jews from the Kamianets-Podilskyi ghetto were brought to Stara Ushytsia to work on road construction. According to some sources, a ghetto was created sometime before July 1942. Among the ghetto inmates there were also Jews from the nearby villages such as Studenitsa, Mynkivtsi and others. The main Aktion against the Stara Ushytsia Jews was conducted on July 23, 1942. That day, all the Jews were rounded up from their houses and gathered at the central square. After a selection, the artisans and their families were marched to Kamianets, while the remaining Jews, numbering circa. 300-320 according to one testimony, or 820, according to a Soviet report, were taken by local policemen to a field, about 2 km northwest of the town. According to available historical sources, between 80 and 100 Jews from Studenitsa, a nearby village, were also taken and murdered along with the Stara Ushytsia Jews. Once on the site, the Jews were forced to strip naked, climb down into the pit and lie down facing the ground. The murder operation was carried out by German SD unit from Kamianets-Podilskyi and the gendermerie.
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