Chopovychi (Chepovychi, Chopovichi, Czopowicze) | Zhytomyr

/ Mykola K., born in 1927, says: “We were in the same class as the Jewish children but we were separated in two groups and each group had its own teacher.”  ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum Mykola K., born in 1927, shows a site of execution to Yahad’s team: “I saw the police bury alive two Jewish men in the yard near the police station.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum Mykola S. shows a place where the statue of Lenin was located. This is where the Jews were forced to dance on the broken glass to violin music. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum The monument of the tank in the center of the village in memory of WWII ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum

Execution of Jews in Chopovychi

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
In front of the police station
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 100

Witness interview

Mykola K., born in 1927, recalls: “The Jews who didn’t have the financial means to leave, stayed in the village. They believed, until the end, that nothing bad would happen because in the beginning nobody touched them. For example, the Jew who worked as a blacksmith shoed the horses of Germans, and the other Jews also lived their lives quietly. Then there was an order to round them up. Everything was happening secretly, nobody was talking about it. But in twenty-four hours all the Jews were arrested. They were gathered in the former police station building. There they were locked up in the cells. The Jews did not expect it at all. They were taken directly from their houses. The policeman caught a Jewish girl. It happened on my eyes. I knew this family well. When the police came to arrest them, the little girl, about eight years old, escaped through the window. The policeman caught her. The eldest son of this family was among the partisans.” (Testimony n°1627, interviewed in Barvinky on April 21,2013)

Soviet archives

“I remember that in August 1941 the German punitive detachment and the police arrested Soviet citizens of Jewish heritage. The latter were gathered in the square near the church and surrounded by numerous police officers. Then, the police through means of beating and torture forced all the elderly, women and children to dance, then to eat iron nails. Meanwhile, the police mocked them saying they were eating “Soviet nuts”. After being humiliated for a long time, the Soviet citizens were sent to the town of Korosten and shot.” [Act of State Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on May 26, 1945; RG 22.002M;7021-60-313]

German archives

“Among the victims there were 165 Jews from Chopovychi region taken to Korosten in August 1941 by the police for execution. […] In the Soviet village of Chopovychi 15 people were tortured and executed at the same time.” [The closure report B162-7321]

Historical note

Chopovychi is located 85 km north of Zhytomyr. According to the 1897 census 919 Jews lived In Chopovychi comprising 14% of total population.  There was a Jewish school but not big enough for all children so some of them went to the Ukrainian school. There was no synagogue. The Jews gathered in the house of a Jewish man to pray. There was a rabbi called Neiman. Mixed marriages were very common. Jews mainly worked in shops, but also as drivers and blacksmiths in kolkhoz. The village was occupied by Germans in early August 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

When the village was occupied all the Jews continued to live in their houses. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad, prior to being taken to the shooting site, the Jews were confined in the building of the former police station. While locked up there, the Jews were subjected to different kinds of humiliation: they were forced to dance on broken glass in the central square; they were harnessed like horses and forced to pull a cannon. In August 1941, 15 local Jews were tortured and killed in the village while another 165 Jews from the Chopovychi district were taken to Korosten. Apparently, they were severely beaten and killed by the police while on their way there.

 For more information about the execution in Korosten please refer to the corresponding profile


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