3 Execution site(s)
Esther B., a Jewish survivor, born in 1928: "If I can say though we were lucky because they divided us into two groups, they took the first group directly to the shooting site. My mother, my aunt, and I were in the second group, and we were taken to the so-called "Experimental Station," a sort of a forced labor camp. We stayed in the kolkhoz building guarded by the local police and Germans. One night, my mother and I managed to flee, and we went to the nearby village of Boliukhovka, where the local people helped us join the partisan group headed by a Jew, Mudryk David Leibovych.
The partisans were living in the forest close to the village of Shabelna. The group consisted of over a hundred people of different nationalities. The Germans were afraid to come into the forest because this partisan unit was very active. They also placed mines on the railroads. The living conditions were very rough. We slept in foxholes and ate what we found in the forest. Some local people brought us food, especially in winter when it was cold. My mother cooked food for the partisans, and I helped her. We stayed in the camp until the end of the war." (Testimony n°2173, interviewed in Illintsi, on November 14, 2016)
"On April 24, 1942, a regular German unit accompanied by the local police rounded up over one thousand civilians and took them to the pits dug in advance close to the hamlet of Galikovo, 2km away from Illintsi. On the site, the civilians were severely beaten, forced to undress under the threat of a gun, and they were shot. There were many women, older adults, and children among them.
On May 27, 1942, the Germans rounded up over 800 civilians and confined them in the building of the former Jewish school. Once there, the detainees were beaten, tortured, and humiliated. After, these people were then brought to the field and shot." [Act of State Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on April 15, 1945; RG.22-002M: Fond 7021, Opis 54, Delo 1243]
"November 5, 1941: 43 people were shot;
April 24, 1942: at least 1,000 people shot;
May 27, 1942: over 800 people shot;
December 15, 1942: 1,000 people shot;
December 1942: 200 people burned alive in the factory;
March 1943: 9 people were shot.
In all, 5, 087 people were shot. […]" [From the report on the executions conducted in Gebietskommissariat Ilintsi, drawn up on December 12, 1969; B162-7377 p.2]
Illintsi is a town located 53km southeast of Vinnitsa. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the middle of the 17th century. By the end of the 19th century, Jews represented half of the total population; 4,993 Jews lived in Illintsi. Most Jewish residents operated small businesses such as textile and garment shops and grocery stores. Others were artisans.
There was a Yiddish school, a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery, and a council. The synagogue was divided into two parts, one for poor Jews and another one for the rich. The building still stands today. The number of Jews in Illintsi dropped dramatically due to pogroms organized by Denikins’ Army in 1919. On the eve of the war, 2,217 Jews lived in the town, comprising 64% of the total population.
The Germans occupied Illintsi on July 23, 1941. By that time, many local Jews had successfully fled to the East; however, many Jewish refugees from the West stayed. According to historical sources, about 2,000 Jews remained in the town at the beginning of the occupation.
Immediately after the German occupation, a Jewish council (Judenrat) was created under the military administration, and all Jews were registered and subjected to pay a tribute. One month later, an open ghetto was created. However, the local witnesses mentioned that the ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire, 2m high. In late October, the military administration transferred to a civil administration.
According to the German and Soviet archives, the Jewish community was exterminated in several aktions that took place from the fall of 1941 until March 1943. The executions were conducted by Gendarmerie and security police stationed in Vinnitsa, with the assistance of local police.
The first execution was conducted in early November 1941, during which 47 Jewish men under the pretext of their supporting communists were beaten and shot in the nearby forest. According to an eyewitness interviewed by Yahad, the first Aktion was conducted over two days. On the first day, 17 intellectuals were killed, and on the second day, 30 more were executed.
A second aktion was conducted in late April 1942, when approximately 1,000 victims were rounded up from the ghetto and shot in ditches 2km away. In late May 1942, another aktion was carried out against ghetto inmates who were first confined to the synagogue for a time and then taken to the shooting site located south of town. According to different sources, there were between 434 to 800 victims. In late December 1942, during a liquidation aktion, the Germans set fire to the factory where many Jews were hiding and burned an estimated 200 Jews alive. Those who attempted to escape were shot dead. According to the archives and to the survivors, a forced labor camp was created at the end of 1942.
A resistance group was formed from local Jews and headed by David Mudryk who managed to escape and organized a partisan unit. Several survivors who hid during the round-ups joined the partisans group and survived the war. The remaining Jews, primarily specialists, were killed during the last aktion in March 1943. Isolated executions occurred regularly during the entire occupation.
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