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4 Execution site(s)
Anna G., born in 1921, remembers: “YIU : Did the camp exist before or was it created ? W: The camp didn’t exist before. All the Jews were told to take their valuables, gold, and gather at a certain place. They were promised they would be deported somewhere.
YIU: And what happened after? W: After, they were taken away. The Jews didn’t know where, but they suspected that they were going to be killed. They cried, screamed, and cuddled their children. It is difficult for me to talk about this.” (Witness n°251, interviewed in Berdychiv, on October 16, 2005).
"This happened at the end of September or at the beginning of October 1941. At noon, I saw people of different ages, old people and children among them, being brought by the Germans. These nearly naked people stopped not far from the pit. The Germans took a group of people and brought them to the pit where the executioners were waiting. Meanwhile, those who waited for their turn were saying goodbye to each other." [RG-22.002M/7021-60/285]
"I know one Judenaktion which took place in Berdychiv and I remember that I was in charge of the surveillance of the Jews in the street of the collection. There were women, men and children in the streets I was guarding." [B162-6661 to B162-6670. B162-6664]
Berdychiv is located 44 km south of Zhytomyr. The mention of the first Jewish community dates backs to the end of 16th century. From 1785, Berdychiv was home to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdychiv, a prominent Hassidic leader, as well as Rabbi Yitzhak Ber Levinzon, a famous advocate for Jewish Enlightenment. In 1899 the Jews represented about 80% of the total population. During the civil war, the population roughly decreased due to attacks and the change of power. There were several Jewish Yiddish schools, several synagogues, historical cultural center. Until the middle of 1930s, there was a newspaper Der Arbeiter (The Worker). During the Soviet period, many religious institutions in Berdychiv were closed, and Zionist activity prohibited. The majority of Jews worked in small and medium trade and industry while others lived off handcraft. On the eve of the war, almost 40% of total population were Jews. The town was occupied by German forces in early July 1941. By that time, almost 35% of the Jewish population, including refugees from recently annexed Polish territories, evacuated or, in the case of young men, were enrolled in the Soviet army.
During the occupation Berdychiv was a incorporated in the Generalkommissariat Zhitomir. Because of this, there were many different military staff, security police, and Einsatzgruppen squads present in the city, who took active part in the extermination of the Jews. By August 22, 1941, a ghetto had been established in Berdichev, around Yatki area. From August 1941 to June 1942, the Jewish population of Berdychiv was annihilated in a number of murder operations. During every murder operation, the Germans separated Jewish “specialists” needed for labor. Before the establishment of the ghetto about 850 Jews were shot by Waffen SS.
The next two big executions were conducted in the early and mid-September 1941. During those executions about 13,000 Jews were taken exterminated. The liquidation of the ghetto was conducted at the end of October –beginning of November, 1941. During the liquidation, all the remaining Jews were first gathered at the monastery and then taken to the village Solotvin where they were shot. At the end of February 1942 about 230 remaining Jews were resettled to the area called Lysa Gora where they stayed in a camp until its total liquidation in June 1942. During its existence, about 700 Jews were resettled there from the surrounding villages, such as Ivanopil, Ruzhyn, Andrushivka. In a separate operation on April 27, 1942, some seventy Jewish women from mixed families were shot together with their children. The last execution took place in mid-November 1943 and beginning of January 1944 when the last specialists were murdered.
For more information about the executions in Adrushivka and Ivanopil please refer to the corresponding profiles
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