Yarun | Zhytomyr

/ Zinaida B., born in 1928: “When the Jews were brought to the shooting site, they were escorted by policemen armed with rifles and one German who had a submachine gun. But, I do not know who fired.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Olena M., born in 1927: “My friend Etia Glater managed to evacuate before the Germans arrival but her sister Sonia stayed behind. She had been locked up in the building along with other Jews but somehow she managed to flee.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Olena M., an eyewitness to the shooting leading Yahad’s team to the execution site of 580 Jews in Yarun. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of about 580 Jews from Yarun and nearby villages murdered here in May 1942 by Nazis and their collaborators. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Yarun

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Edge of the Tserem river
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Ivan K., born in 1923, recalls when he was requisitioned to transport the Jews: “It was during the summer, but I don’t remember what month. At the time, the Germans requisitioned for the best horses in order to take them to the frontline. I had two good horses, so I had to go at the meeting spot to show my horses. I was told that the Germans had chosen one of my horses, but it wasn’t taken right away. So, I went back home with two horses. Then, during the day, a policeman came to my house and told me to go to the Klub in Yarun along with other villagers whose horses had been selected. The Jews were being detained in the Klub. I don’t know how many they were but they were many. When we arrived in front of the Klub, there were eight or ten carts. The Germans made the Jews come out of the building. Some Jews fell down onto the ground because they were starving. They even grab the grass and ate it. There were women, children and elder people. Those who fell down and did not have the strength to stand up were thrown into the carts. (Testimony n°1641, interviewed in Sukhovolya, on April 27th, 2013)

Soviet archives

“After the raid that was carried out at 3 am by the Yarun police on May 5th, 1942, the Jewish inhabitants of Yarun were assembled in the City Club, where they remained until noon. After splitting the Jews into groups of men, women and girls aged 12-30 years old, the police drove them to the Yurkovschyna village to be kill. The shooting lasted from 12 to 2 p.m. In two hours, 580 people of Jewish and Ukrainian heritage were executed. The victims were shot with rifles and machine guns, children and young girls were buried alive.” [Deposition of a local Jewish witness; RG 22.002M. 7021-60-318]

Historical note

Yarun is a village, located about 95 km northwest of Zhytomyr. In 1816, two German colonies, called Annette and Josephine respectively, were created near Yarun. The first records of the Jewish community go back to the mid-19th century.  In 1926, 777 Jews lived in the village along with Ukrainians and some Poles. The majority of Jews were involved in trade. They had their own shops. The local witnesses say that there was no synagogue in the village, so the Jews went to Novohrad-Volynskyi to pray for big events. The Jewish children went to the same school as non-Jews. Before the war, 386 Jews lived in Yarun, comprising only 20% of the total population. The village was occupied by the German armed forces on July 6th, 1941. Only 20% of Jews managed to evacuate before then.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the German occupation, all the Jews were registered and marked with armbands. They were subjected to   forced labor, such as digging trenches, road construction.  While working they were guarded by local police. In November 1941, a ghetto was created in the village. Supposedly, it was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by the local police. The Jews were forbidden to leave the area. During its liquidation on May 5th, 1942 the German forces and the local police shot 580 Jews dead. On the day of the execution, all Jews were locked up in the Klub, located in the nearby village of Yurkovshchina. From there, they were marched to the shooting site. Those who were unable to walk were brought by cart. According to some witnesses, many isolated killings took place as well. 

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