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1 Execution site(s)
Daria was born in 1926, remembers the prewar life: “The majority of Jews lived in the center where they had shops. I remember my mother used to buy me sweets at the shop held by Moisha. He had a wife and children but they were older than me. There was a pharmacy which was owned by a Jew named Shulem. I knew other Jews, for example Bartashnyk, Tsybytovsky. Both of them worked in the shops, but I don’t remember anymore what they sold. There was no Jewish school as far as I remember. They went with us to the Ukrainian school. My Jewish friend Shlima was with me in one class, we shared the desk. She was 12 years old. For the holidays, she used to bring Matza for me. They were very religious and respected all the holidays. There was even a Rabbi who celebrated ceremonies in a house of a Jewish woman Grushka, because there was no synagogue in the town.” (Eyewitness n°2177, interviewed in Balabanivka, on November 17, 2016)
Balabanivka is located 90km southeast of Vinnytsia. The records show the first Jewish community dates back to the middle of the 18th or early 19th century. The Jews lived in the center. They were storekeepers and artisans. There was a pharmacy which was held by a Jew. The Jews and non-Jews went to one school all together. There wasn’t a synagogue, but the Jews gathered together for prayers at the house. There was a rabbi. The Germans occupied the village on July 20, 1941.
Little was known from the historical sources about the execution in Balanivka. Thanks to the field research, Yahad could reconstruct the steps of the crime and get more details about the shooting. Under the occupation, the Jews weren’t labelled and continued to live in their houses until the execution in May 1942. The execution was conducted by Germans who most probably were assisted by the local police. On the execution day, they were first ordered to assemble in the town center taking some belongings, valuable and identity papers with them. From the center they were marched northeast of the town towards the basement of Klub. Once there, they had to jump inside of the basement in groups of eight and lay face-down in the pit.They were shot by two Germans who remained on both sides of the pit and who fired with a sub machine guns. Apparently, some remains were reburied but the majority of corpses remain at the same place.
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