Sumy | Sumy

/ A group of Sumy youth, including Jews, among them Lipa Goldstein. © Yad Vashem Photo archives Sumy landscape © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum A local synagogue, located on the Koperatyvna street. There is an active Jewish community in Sumy.  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum A local Jewish cemetery © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Viktor Z., born in 1929: “All Jews were gathered in order to be resettled. During the second half of the day they were taken in a column which spread over  500m to the ravines to be shot” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during the interview with a witness at his house © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The column of Jews were taken by this road to the brickyard where they were shot in a clay pit shortly after. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The Jews were shot in the clay quarries near the brickyard. After the war the bodies were reburied at the Jewish cemetery. And private garages were built at that place. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The remains of about 1,000 Jews were reburied at the cemetery where the monument was erected.  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Sumy

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Clay quarry close to the brickyard
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 1,000

Witness interview

Viktor Z., born in 1929, remembered: “Around the city there were posters in Russian announcing that all Jews must be registered and marked with the star of David on the chest and back. At the beginning of February 1942, the Jews were gathered under the pretext of resettlement. I saw a large column moving on foot or in carts. They were taken to the ravine near the brickyard. Once there, they realized they were going to be shot.” (Testimony n°2265, interviewed in Sumy on June 21st , 2017)

Soviet archives

“On February 19th, 1942, at around two o’clock in the afternoon, more than 100 Jews were gathered in the aero club building. Between five and nine o’clock in the evening, they were taken in groups of 7-8 people to the ravine and shot. As for the young children, the Germans put poisonous liquid under their noses that made them die very quickly, and threw them into the pit.
On February 20th, 1942, more than 200 people were taken to the aero club building. They were also taken to the ravine of the firing range where they were shot. The investigations revealed that the explosive bullets were used during the shooting. [...] People who were sick or unable to walk to the ravine were shot in the aero club or on the way, and their bodies were thrown into the pit.
The sick or wounded Jews who were at home or in the hospital were transported by cart to the ravine and also shot. The valuables that the Jews had brought were confiscated; their clothes and shoes were removed. [...] In all, in the ravine of the firing range, 350 Jewish civilians (men, women, children and the elderly) were shot.” [Act of State Extraordinary Commission; RG22.002M: 7021-74-2]

German archives

“In order to stop the partisan activities and to prevent seditious behavior, Kommandeur des Sonderkommando 4a decided to implement a particularly hard and merciless deterrence policy, in agreement with the head of Einsatzgruppe C. At least 250 Hungarian Jews were the victims of these policies in late February-early March 1943. They had been assigned to work battalions of the Hungarian army. […]They were shot near the local railway station.” [Investigation act of massacres committed by SK4a; B162-19300, p.75]

Historical note

Sumy is a center of Sumy region located in north-eastern Ukraine. According to the census, in 1897 797 Jews lived in the city comprising only 3% of total population.  But with the development of Sumy due to the growth of sugar industry as well as machine building, metalworking, textile industries, and trade, the Jewish population significantly increased. In 1926, it numbered 2,418 people. In prewar time, there were three Jewish prayer houses, schools for boys, a trade school and a kindergarten. The majority of Jews were merchants or artisans. Sumy was occupied by the German forces on 10th October, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish measures were implemented shortly after the occupation. Upon the order, all Jews were registered at the police port and forced to wear a distinguishing badge on their clothes. All contact with local population was forbidden under penalty of death. The Jews were subject to regular searches, looting and beatings by local police.  According to the local residents interviewed by Yahad, and the historical resources, all local Jews were rounded up at the police station with all their valuables under the pretext that they were being resettled in a poorhouse on February 19th, 1943. After, they were marched in a column, which spread over 500m, to the execution site located near the brickyard. Once there, they had to get inside two big clay pits where they were shot. According to the archives the young children were killed with the help of poisonous liquid put under their noses. The execution lasted two days. The number of victims varies according to different sources but in all, about 350-600 Jews of all ages were killed on February 19th through February 20th. In late February - early March 1943 at least 250 Hungarian Jews assigned to work battalions of the Hungarian army were killed near the local railway station by the Germans. Besides the Jewish victims, the prisoners of war were also executed in Sumy. According to the historical resources, they were detained in a camp created on the yard of the 5thlocal School. In January 1943, the Germans transferred about 5,000-7,000 prisoners of war from that camp to the local sugar factory Frunze. Shortly after the prisoners were executed.

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