Teplyk | Vinnytsia

/ The old Jewish cemetery in Teplyk. The majority of tombstones were taken during the war to make millstones. There are three graves of Tsadiks on its territory. A new Jewish cemetery was built nearby during the 1950s. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The former Jewish school building. After the war, it was used as an 8-year Ukrainian school. Today, it is a leisure house for children. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Maria D., born in 1926: “I used to go to the Teplyk market before the war. Many Jews lived there back then. There was a Jewish school and a synagogue. Voloshyn was their rabbi.”  ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Viktor K., born in 1928: “The Germans forced the Jews to pay monetary contributions. When they weren’t able to pay anymore, the Jews were confined in the ghetto established in the Teplyk Jewish quarter.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Ivan Z., born in 1928: “It was forbidden for the Jews to leave the town, but they could move freely withing the ghetto’s territory. I often spoke to them when they went to wash themselves in the nearby pond.”  ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Semen K., born in 1929: “On May 27, 1942, about 10 columns of Jews were taken to the execution site. There, I saw the victims going down into the pit, after that a burst of gunfire could be heard.”  ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Anatoliy S., born in 1933: “Some Jewish skilled workers were spared during the ghetto liquidation and continued to work for some time afterwards. There was a Jewish glazier, Froiko, among them.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the former ghetto in Teplyk. At the time, it was situated in the Jewish quarter and included two streets, Ostrovskogo and Stelmakha streets, bordered on one side by a pond. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The place where the Jews were forced to undress before the mass shooting. Back then, there was a road that passed through the ravine. The land has been leveled since then and today it is a residential area. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of Jews, murdered in Teplyk during the occupation period, including the 769 ghetto inmates killed on May 27, 1942. Soviet POWs and locals are also buried at the same site, in a separate mass grave. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Anatoliy S., born in 1933, with the Yahad team at the execution site in Teplyk. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A memorial dating from the Soviet period in memory of over 1,000 innocent people killed by the Nazi occupiers on May 27, 1942. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The memorial plaque in memory of the Jews shot to death by the Nazis during the occupation period between 1941 and 1944. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Teplyk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Soap Factory
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 769 and 1,500

Witness interview

Semen K., born in 1929:
YIU : "So the main road from Vinnytsia to Uman didn’t exist back then?"
Witness: "No, at that time it was just a project. The prospective location of this road had only been marked out. Ditches had been dug on both sides of the road, and an embankment of earth and stones was in place. During the war, the Germans established camps for the Jews, and it was the Jews themselves who were tasked with constructing the road. The labor was grueling, especially in the harsh conditions of winter and early spring. They lacked warm clothing, resorting to wrapping rags made from old sheets around their feet to serve as shoes. We were responsible for transporting sandstone in carts, which we deposited alongside the road. The Jews were then tasked with covering the road using this sandstone. I am not sure if the Germans provided them with food or not. Although I occasionally spoke to them, it was generally forbidden. They would beg me to bring them something to eat. At that time, all the horses were fitted with a wooden bowl attached to their muzzle, and I would place either a piece of bread, a slice of bacon, or some apples into these bowls. I told them to get the food from the bowl. When they arrived to unload the sandstone from the carts, they could discreetly take this food and conceal it in the snow. Initially, I did this myself, but eventually, I had to stop due to German suspicions that I was providing the Jews with straw to keep warm. I was too scared to keep doing it. So I left the food in the bowls, allowing the Jews to retrieve and conceal it themselves." (Testimony N°YIU1122U, interviewed in Teplyk, on December 23, 2010)

Soviet archives

"On May 27, 1942, in the town of Teplik [today Teplyk], on the orders of German Gendarmerie Chief R***, an atrocious crime was committed: a mass shooting of 769 civilian inhabitants of the town of Teplik, including 279 men, 330 women and 160 children. The bodies of those brutally murdered were buried in the dead animals pit, located between Teplik and the village of Zaloujié [today Zaluzhzhya]."[Act drawn by State Extraordinary Soviet Commission (ChGK), on November 13, 1944, p.87; GARF 7021-54-1237/ Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

German archives

"I remember a mass shooting of Jews that took place before the arrival of the Romanian Jews. It must have been in May 1942, in Teplik [today Teplyk]. About 4-6 weeks before, the Jews living in Teplik (there must have been between 1,200 and 1,500 of them) were rounded up in one part of the town. One evening in May 1942, a member of the police appeared at my office, wearing a Landespolizei uniform and asked to talk to me alone, on the orders of his chief. The policeman told me that a mass shooting of the Jewish inhabitants of Teplik would take place at dawn the following day. I had to keep this secret, so that no one would know the information I had received from the police. What’s more, the policeman told me that if I needed manpower, I could choose from among the Jews who were to be shot. Despite the policeman’s instructions, I passed on this information to some members of the OT and told them that they could choose suitable Jews before the shooting. The next day, at around 3 a.m., 3 to 4 SS men and between 80 and 100 (Lithuanian) auxiliaries appeared. The auxiliaries drove the Jews from their homes, under SS supervision, and marched them like a flock of sheep about 500 meters away from the village of Teplik. There, a 10x25x3m pit had already been dug some time before. The Jews - men, women, children and the elderly - first had to undress completely. They then had to descend into the pit in groups and lie down before being shot in the back of the head. The next group had to lie down on top of those who had already died. They too were shot in the back of the head. The SS men who shot the Jews in the back of the head stood in the pit. The auxiliaries had surrounded the other Jews waiting to be executed. I myself witnessed the execution from a distance of 25 to 30 meters. I did so because I wanted to convince myself that the rumors of mass shootings were true." [Interrogation of Konrad S., Organization Todt employee, made on January 18, 1962, BARch162-1813, p.18]

Historical note

Teplyk is situated approximately 130 km (81 mi) southeast of Vinnytsia. The town’s origins can be traced back to the 15th century when it was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The first recorded Jewish community in Teplyk dates back to 1765, with 289 Jews noted as inhabitants of the town. In 1768, Teplyk suffered from attacks by Haidamaks, specifically targeting its Jewish population. The town commemorated its 300th anniversary as part of the Russian Empire.

Strategically positioned at a trade crossroad, Teplyk thrived during the 18th and 19th centuries as a notable center for trade and craftsmanship, attracting a significant Jewish population. By 1847, Teplyk was home to around 1,848 Jewish residents. According to the 1897 census, the Jewish community numbered 3,725 individuals, constituting approximately 53% of the total population. Local Jews primarily engaged in commerce and artisanal work, with many of the town’s businesses being owned and operated by them. Teplyk was home to two synagogues, a Jewish cemetery, and a privately run Jewish school.

However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Teplyk began to decline due to the Russian Civil War. In July 1919, pogroms orchestrated by troops under Symon Petliura resulted in the deaths of several hundred Jews, prompting some to relocate to larger urban centers. During the Soviet era, amidst the dissolution of social institutions and political organizations, cooperatives for artisans were established, leading some Jews to transition into agricultural work, while others found opportunities in government service. By 1939, the Jewish population in Teplyk had decreased to 1,233 individuals, comprising 23.5% of the total populace.

As World War II loomed, a portion of the Jewish residents managed to evacuate to eastern regions or were conscripted into the Red Army. Consequently, when German forces occupied the town, approximately 1,000 Jews remained in Teplyk.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Teplyk fell under German occupation on July 26, 1941. Following a brief period of military control, the town transitioned to German civil administration in autumn 1941. Subsequently, a German gendarmerie post and a Ukrainian police unit were established in Teplyk. The ensuing months were characterized by the enforcement of anti-Jewish policies, including the establishment of a Judenrat, mandatory wearing of distinctive Star of David symbols, and imposition of heavy taxes on the Jewish population. Restrictions on movement were imposed, and Jews were coerced into various forms of forced labor, such as agricultural work and snow clearance during winter.

In December 1941, a ghetto was established in Teplyk, compelling all local Jews and those from neighboring areas to relocate to two designated streets near the pond. Over 1,000 individuals were concentrated in the ghetto under the supervision of local police. Jews aged between 13 and 45 were forced to engage in labor for the construction of the DGIV highway, connecting Vinnytsia to Uman. Additionally, skilled Jewish workers were compelled to work in workshops. Harsh living conditions, particularly food shortages and disease, led to the deaths of numerous ghetto residents.

In the spring of 1942, approximately 250 Jews deemed fit for labor were transferred to the Raygorod labor camp. The majority of the remaining Jews, totaling 769 individuals, were murdered during an Aktion conducted on May 27, 1942. This operation, carried out by a detachment of the Security Police from Vinnytsia, assisted by the German gendarmerie and Ukrainian and Lithuanian police forces, resulted in the victims being marched to a nearby former Soap Factory. At the execution site, victims were forced to undress and lie down in a pit previously used for animal carcass disposal, where they were shot to death. Between 15 and 40 Jewish craftsmen were spared during this Aktion and remained in the ghetto with their families.

During the summer of 1942, a Jewish labor camp was established in the Klub building of Teplyk, housing up to 530 Romanian Jews from Bukovina. These inmates were also subjected to forced labor on the DGIV highway before being executed alongside Jewish craftsmen, presumably in the autumn of 1943, at the same execution site. Sources estimate that up to 1,500 Jews were murdered in Teplyk, their bodies disposed of in three separate pits located at the Soap Factory.


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