Ositna (Osotnaya) | Cherkasy

Olena K., born in 1925: “The Jews were brought to Ositna and confined in the school building one year after the Germans’ arrival. Sometimes, I brought beans or corn to the camp detainees, exchanging them for clothes.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Sergiy F., born in 1925: “I was assigned to clear the snow off the road so the Germans could get through. The Jews were assigned with the same task, but we didn’t work on the same sections of the road.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Maria R., born in 1932: “After the execution of the Jewish workers, I went to see the labor camp. There was nothing left in the building except the straw on the floor, on which the Jews used to have to sleep.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Maria F., born in 1930: “After the execution of the Jewish laborers, the camp was destroyed. Local inhabitants were ordered to pave the road with the bricks taken out from the camp building.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Mykhailo R., born in 1927: “I went to see the place where the Jews were executed in Ositna. There were two pits in the forest, their outlines were clearly visible thanks to the subsidence of the earth.” ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum The former Jewish labor camp. At the time it was located in the school building, which no longer exists. Today there is a machine-tractor station at the site. ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum Maria F., born in 1930, pointing out the burial place of the Jews who died in the labor camp. The site is located in the area behind the machine-tractor station, built on the territory of the former Jewish labor camp. ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of Jews from the Ositna labor camp, murdered during the camp liquidation. The victims’ corpses are buried in two separate mass graves, located in the forest, near the road connecting Ositna and Udych. ©David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Ositna

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Vacant lot near the labor camp (1); Forest (2)
Memorials:
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims:
Over 150

Witness interview

Maria F., born in 1930: “Over a hundred Jews were marched to the village of Ositna and confined in the school building, previously occupied by Soviet POWs who had since been relocated. This marked the establishment of a Jewish labor camp, enclosed by a perimeter of barbed-wire fencing and patrolled by armed local policemen disguised in civilian attire. The Jewish inmates, visibly emaciated and lacking any distinguishing marks, were tasked with digging ditches, likely intended for water management purposes. They were escorted to and from their work site in columns by one or two policemen. Throughout the camp’s existence, a number of Jews succumbed to the harsh conditions. Their bodies were interred in a pit located a hundred meters behind the camp. Upon inspection, the pit appeared square and not entirely filled in.” (Testimony N°YIU1110U, interviewed in Ositna, on December 21, 2010)

Historical note

Ositna, situated approximately 200 km (124 mi) southwest of Cherkasy, had a scant Jewish presence before the war. According to accounts from local residents interviewed by Yahad, the village was predominantly inhabited by Ukrainians, who were mainly engaged in agriculture. The Jewish community primarily resided in the nearby town of Uman, approximately 22 km (13.6 mi) away.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Ositna fell under German occupation in early July 1941, transitioning from military to civil administration shortly thereafter, with the establishment of a Ukrainian police unit.

In May 1942, a Jewish labor camp was set up in the school building of Ositna, initially housing Ukrainian Jews and later, in late fall 1942, Romanian Jews from the Naraivka labor camp. Guarded by Germans and Ukrainian policemen, over 150 Jewish detainees were confined there. To sustain themselves, they resorted to bartering valuables and clothing with locals. Forced labor awaited them on the DGIV highway, which passed through Ositna, connecting Vinnytsia to Uman.

The deplorable conditions in the camp and Typhus outbreak led to numerous deaths over time, including execution of approximately 15 Jews deemed unfit for work in the autumn of 1942. Their remains were interred in mass graves in the school garden, yet no memorial currently marks the site.

By the end of 1943, during the camp’s liquidation, between 80 and 100 remaining Jews were murdered during an Aktion. They were taken to a nearby forest along the road to Udych, where they were forced to line up at the edge of a pit they had dug themselves. Police then shot them in groups of 20. The victims’ corpses are buried in two mass graves. To this day, there is no memorial at the site.

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