1 Execution site(s)
Semen P., born in 1926: "As soon as the Germans arrived in town, the Kommandantur and police were created. Posters announcing all the decisions of the German administration were put up all over the city. All these announcements always ended with the phrase "refusal to obey will be punished by death,” which caused fear among the population. Sometime later, the posters announcing the departure of the Jews appeared in town. They had to take their belongings and go to the city center. One day, while passing through the center, I saw a column of Jews being led towards the outside of the city carrying their belongings. I saw my classmate Boria Pochtariov in the column. They were walking calmly, I think they thought that they were going to be relocated. Instead they were taken to Rizanyi Yar and shot. The shootings lasted until the liberation, nearly 300 people were shot in 1943, even when the Soviets were approaching.” (Witness n°2953U, interviewed in Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi on September 2, 2021)
"In the second half of September 1941, I was arrested and sent to the police station in Steblev. Then I was sent to the police station in Korsun. I stayed there until October 26 or 27, 1941. One day, I and 10 other people were taken out to the yard, put against the wall and searched. Then we were taken to the Kushchilsky ravine where 101 Jews of all ages were shot in our presence. Then we were made to go to the pit, stripped naked, given shovels and ordered to put the bodies in the pit and cover them with dirt. Then the police scribe approached us and said, "These are not the right people." After these words, we were ordered to get dressed and finish burying the bodies. There was still space in the grave for about 20 people. Among these 101 people, my wife, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law were shot in my presence.” [Deposition of a witness Anisiy G., born in 1910; RG 31.018, Reel 6 (IV) pp. 118-120.]
Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi is a small town located in the Cherkasy region, 120 km (75mi) south-southeast of Kyiv, in central Ukraine. It was founded in 1032, but Jews did not settle there until the beginning of the 17th century. In 1765, 187 Jews lived in the town, and built a cemetery for members of their community. By 1897 there were 3,799 Jewish inhabitants, representing about 46% of the population. During this period, local Jews owned brick and sugar factories, breweries, flour mills, movie theaters, printing presses, mineral water enterprises and weaving factories. In 1900, there were three synagogues in the city. Between 1918 and 1920, during the Russian Civil War, the Jewish community of Korsun was repeatedly subjected to pogroms by the Germans, the Red Army and units of the White Army. A Jewish self-defense militia was therefore organized, with the approval of the local authorities. According to the 1926 census, during the interwar period, 2,449 Jews lived in the town. In 1939, 1,329 Jews were registered in Korsun, representing 14% of the total population. Another 570 lived in the small villages of Shenderivka and Stebliv in vicinity of the town. The Jewish population decreased somewhat between 1926 and 1939 as many Jews decided to migrate to other regions during this period.
On June 22, 1941, the German army and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. Before these troops reached Korsun, about two-thirds of the local Jews were evacuated to the east, while some members of the community joined the Red Army. On July 30, 1941, Korsun was captured by the Germans. The city was placed under military administration until the autumn. The new authorities established a Ukrainian auxiliary police force composed of local residents. Throughout the occupation, this police force played an active role in the implementation of anti-Jewish measures. In September 1941, an execution of 226 Jews in a ravine on the outskirts of the town was carried out by Germans with the help of the local police. In October 1941, the local administration requisitioned several houses to create an "open ghetto". The Jews were not allowed to leave the ghetto, nor were they allowed to buy goods from Ukrainians. In November 1941, the city was placed under German civilian administration. Korsun became the administrative center of the Gebiet Korsun, part of the Generalkommissariat Kiew in the Reichskomissariat Ukraine. These authorities ordered the registration of all Jews, required them to wear distinctive armbands, and subjected them to various types of forced labor, including garbage collection and street cleaning. That same month, the Germans and their collaborators liquidated the ghetto and took the Jews to the Rizanyi Yar ravine. 543 people were subsequently shot there. Until the spring of 1942, more than 1,000 Jews, mainly women, children and the elderly, were taken to this ravine and executed in the same way during various Aktions.
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