1 Execution site(s)
Ksenia Sh., born in 1923: "In the summer of 1942, many Jews, including men, women and children were brought to Nestervarka. They came with their belongings, like clothes pillows. They were herded into the kolkhoz that had remained empty after the Soviets left. That is where a labor camp was created. The area wasn’t fenced in. There was only an entrance gate. Even though the camp wasn’t closed it, was guarded by local Ukrainian and maybe even Jewish police. The Jewish inmates were allowed to leave the camp’s grounds in order to look for some food or work in the village. Many of them died of hunger, because there was not enough food for everyone. Their bodies were buried outside the camp." (Witness n°2592U, interviewed in Nestervarka on April 17, 2019)
Tulchyn is located 80 km (51mi) east southeast of Vinnytsia.
The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 17th century. In 1607, the Nestervar settlement was mentioned in the Acts of Lublin Crown Tribunal. Today’s village of Nestervarka is located 2 km away from Tulchyn. During the Kkmelnytskiy uprising, all the Jewish population of Tulchyn was murdered. According to different estimations, there were several hundred living in the town in the middle of 17th century. In the 18th century, Tulchyn became an important commercial and industrial center in the region. The Jewish population was reborn and grew rapidly. In 1797, 1,313 Jews lived in the town. The majority of Jews lived of small-scale trade or handicraft. Several of them owned small businesses and industries. In 1889, about 15,000 Jews lived in Tulchyn and the surrounding area. The community had several synagogues, prayer houses and a cemetery, and cheders for children. Between 1917 and 1920, the town frequently changed ownership, between the Poles, the Bolsheviks, White Russians and Ukrainians. Over two hundred Jews suffered from the Civil War pogroms. In 1926, Tulchyn officially received the status of the town, and with the formation of the Vinnytsia region in 1932, became a district center. Under the Soviet regime, private businesses, cultural and religious institutions were closed, and most Jews were employed as office workers or at small factories, like local sugar and textile factories, or industrial cooperatives. On the eve of the war, 46% of the population was Jewish, with 5,607 Jewish individuals living in the town.
Nestervarka was occupied by German forces on July 23, 1941. In September 1941, the village became part of the Romanian occupation zone of Transnistria. In the autumn of 1941, Jews of Bessarabia and Bukovina were deported to the Tulchyn district. Most of them were placed in the village of Nestervarka. On December 13, most of the inmates of the Tulchyn ghetto, circa. 3,000, were sent to the Pechera camp. In the summer of 1942, a Jewish labor camp was created in Nestervarka, where some Tulchyn Jews remained, as well as inmates from the Kopaihorod ghetto were also sent there. The prisoners worked in peat extraction. According to official Romanian reports dated September 1, 1943, seven Jews from Bessarabia and 220 Jews from Bukovina were in Tulchyn. In Nestervarka, there were 422 and 1,168 deported Jews from the two regions respectively. Many of the detainees died of hunger, bad living conditions and mistreatment. Those who died were buried in a mass grave next to the camp. From September 1943, the remaining Jews from the camp were transferred to Tulchyn or/and then to the Pechera camp.
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