1 Execution site(s)
Valentina G., born in 1921, responds to the questions below:
“YIU: What happened to the Jews of the village?
W: They were gathered in two schools. Then, during the night, they were taken to the site where the pits had been dug in advance.
YIU: How were they brought to the site at night? Were there lights?
W: The column was brought on foot, escorted by guards with dogs. The Jews cried and screamed. One old man tried to comfort them, saying that it was their destiny. Once there, they were shot and the pit was covered. The ground was moving for three days after that.
YIU: How long did the execution last?
W: One night.
YIU: Did the Germans requisition local villagers to dig the pit?
W: No, the police did.” (Witness N°249, interviewed in Troyaniv, on October 15, 2005).
"During the period of the temporary occupation of the village of Troyanov [...] 522 people were killed; among whom 493 people of Jewish nationality." [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on April 12, 1945; GARF 7021-60-312]
Troyaniv is located 32 km southwest of Zhytomyr. There is no information about the number of Jews living in the village before the war. According to the witnesses, the Jews were numerous and composed almost the half of the local population. They lived off of small trade and craftsmanship. On the eve of the war 581 jews lived in Troyaniv making up 11% of the total population.
The German forces occupied the town in the middle of July 1941. By that time, some Jews, mostly those who had money, managed to evacuate, while the men were enrolled in the Soviet army. According to Yahad’s investigation, there were a couple of executions of Jews conducted by Germans and local police. One execution was conducted during the day and another one during the night. The main mass execution was conducted in October 1941, most probably on October 14, as one of the witnesses remembers it was a religious holiday that day. On this German mobile squad accompanied by local police round up 493 Jews and took them to the polygon where a sand quarry was located. They were all shot inside the quarry. At the end, the pit was filled in by the police who left once it was done. After the shooting, one Jewish man managed to get out of the pit and escape. The local witness related that there were other executions of communists and activists. One of such execution was conducted in March 1942. Some sources state that on August 9, 1941, 22 Jewish men were shot, while another 26 were shot some time later. We couldn’t confirm or disprove this during the research trip due to absence of the local witnesses. From Valentina’s account (Witness N°249), we found out that before being shot, the Jews were gathered in two schools in the village center. Before being killed, all of their valuables were taken from them.
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