1 Execution site(s)
Vitaliy B., born in 1928: “One day while playing outside with my friends we saw a big column of people being marched by the principal street. There were about a hundred people in the column or even more, I didn’t count them personally, but they must have been more than a hundred. There were only women, children and elderly people in the column. Afterwards, I was told that there were Jews who were taken from Balta to Vradiivka. All the people in the column were lightly dressed and many of them walked barefoot. The column was guarded by gendarmes but there weren’t many, about a dozen all together.” (Witness n°2724, interviewed in Kryve Ozero II, on September 11th, 2018)
"We, the signed below, the members of the Soviet Commission [Note : list of names], draw up this act regarding the crimes committed against the civil population of Jewish origin in Krivoye Ozero [Kryve Ozero], Odesa region. Ida Diniarskaya (?) told us what she remembered the displacement of Jews into the ghetto. They [the Jews] were taken under the cold weather. On their way they were looted and deprived of their clothes and shoes. Those children that were too weak to walk were shot dead on the spot in front of their mothers. Their clothes were taken off and their corpses were thrown to dogs. People arrived to the ghetto half dead from cold, and those dying were beaten; women were raped in front of others despite the commencement of the crying of relatives. Many Jews died, I don’t remember their names. I do remember Srul Slobodko, from the Kolesnikov family, Vogel and his mother and son, Srul Tockman, Yoska Tockman, Moishe Khipr (?), Munia Weisblat, Moishe Motslevich. Many Jews were native from Bessarabia whose name I don’t know, as well as other Jews from Krivoye Ozero [Kryve Ozero]. On January 1st, 1942, the crime was conducted. Khava Slobodko’s son, Srul, was dragged by the hair, beaten on his arms and others parts of the body, and at the end, taken to the cemetery and shot. He wasn’t shot dead, he was buried while he was still alive. He was beaten by a German Meshlin […] and a gendarme Cristea. 186 people including children were shot at the Jewish cemetery in Krivoye Ozero [Kryve Ozero]". [Act n°6 drawn up by Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on November 24, 1944; RG22-002M: GARF 7021-69-80]
Kryve Ozero is located on the banks of the Kodyma River, 200km (124 miles) northwest of Mykolaiv. The village was founded in the end of the 18th century. The first records about Jewish presence go back to the same period, but due to pogroms not many Jews settled there. In 1847, 116 Jews lived there. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community enlarged and represented 70% of the total population. They owned six synagogues, had a cemetery and a private Jewish college. The majority of Jews were enrolled in small scale trade and craft. In the 1920s, with the creation of the kolkhozes, many Jews lived off of farm work. During the pogroms of 1919, between 280 to 600 Jews, according to different sources, were murdered while their shops and houses were looted. Many Jews as well as non-Jews died during the Holodomor in 1932-1933. On the eve of the war, only about 1,447 Jews lived in the village.
Kryve Ozero was occupied by the German army followed by the Romanian army on August 14, 1941. Anti-Jewish measures were implemented immediately. All the Jews were registered and marked with armbands bearing the Star of David. The first execution, during which 45 Jewish men were rounded-up at the former synagogue and shot, was conducted in early September 1942. They were shot behind the hospital. After the war, their bodies were reburied at the Jewish cemetery. There is a memorial there today.
The next execution was conducted in October 1941. On October 14, 1941, the remaining Jews from Kryve Ozero, as well as those brought from Bessarabia, were rounded-up at the synagogue and then taken to Vradiivka, where they were shot in the pits. According to the depositions of the survivors, the third execution took place on January 1st, 1942, when about 186 local Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery and shot.
After the shootings, a ghetto was established on the territory of the agronomic school and in November 1942 it interned 43 Jews, mainly those who were brought from Bessarabia, today’s Moldova. By September 1943, there were more than 106 Jewish inmates, including local and Bessarabian Jews. They were subjected to perform different kind of labor during a ten hour work day. For example, artisans worked in the tailoring and shoemaking workshops. There were also dentists among the inmates who worked at the hospital. Other Jews, who didn’t have specialization, did farm work. According to the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, several isolated shootings took place in Kryve Ozero during the occupation. They were either the Jews who were found in hiding or the Jews taken out from the numerous columns that passed by Kryve Ozero in the direction of Vradivka or Domanivka. They were taken to the outskirts of the village and shot in the silo pits or ravine. With the help of one of the local residents, Yahad-In Unum could identify the spot of the murders. There is yet to be a marker or a sign memorializing these events. The shootings were conducted by Romanian gendarmes or the local police. According to some historical sources, some Jews from Kryve Ozero were also displaced to Domanivka. Only 20 of them survived the war.
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