Berestivka (Berestovka) | Vinnytsia 

/ Rural ambiance ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Maria T., born in 1925 : « I heard the story of the Jewish family which happened in my village but I was forced to go in Germany to work for them. Myself and 5 others were sent in Lypovets to take the train. » ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum’s team during the interview ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Pavlina M., born in 1925 : « Few Jews lived in the village. A local man took a 12-year-old Jewish girl to raise her, but in 1945, when the war was over, her family from Vinnytsia came and took her. » ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The street where the boy was shot by a German. The witness stood on the road. Their bodies were buried at Orthodox cemetery ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum On the right of the house, the place where the parents and the baby were killed. Their bodies were buried at Orthodox cemetery ©Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of a Jewish family from Vinnytsia in Berestivka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Anti-tank trench close to a cemetery
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
4

Witness interview

Maria Ch., born in 1925, recalls: « One Jewish family arrived from Vinnytsia during the war. They stayed in the house which belonged to Ivan D., who was from the family of the local starosta, appointed by the Germans. I guess the starosta promised them a shelter, but at the end it was him who denounced them to the policemen. One summer evening, the policemen arrived from Lypovets, located about 10km away from here, and killed the family. I didn’t see the shooting, but I could hear the screams and the gunshots. The parents were shot first. And the little boy tried to escape but the policemen shot him in his back and he fell down dead in the ditch close to the road. Once the family was killed the policemen left. I don’t know who exactly buried the corpses but they must have been some local people who did that. The bodies were buried close to the Orthodox cemetery. There is nothing today at that place. (Testimony n° 2143, interviewed in Turbiv on November 4, 2016)

Historical note

Berestivka is a village located about 40km east of Vinnytsia and 8 km west of Lypovets.  Little is known about the Jewish community who lived there before the war. According to the local witnesses, there were few Jews who lived in the village because the majority of them lived in a nearby bigger town, Lypovets. The first record about the Jewish community in Lypovets dates back to the middle of 18th century. By the end of 19th century Jews represented almost half of the local population. In 1918-1919 the Jewish community suffered from a wave of pogroms during which their houses and shops were looted and destroyed. The majority of Jews worked in handcraft and small business. Jews lived in the center of the city around a hill on which there was a synagogue. There was also a Jewish cemetery in the town. In 1939, 1,353 Jews lived in the city and represented 52% of total population. Many Jewish refugees from the West arrived between 1939 and 1941. The town of Lypovets, as well as nearby villages like Berestivka, were occupied by Germans on July 22, 1941. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

From the beginning of the occupation until late October 1941, the village was under German military administration. The local chief, called starosta, was appointed by the Germans and the police was created.  The shooting of a Jewish family native from Vinnytsa was documented thanks to the local eyewitnesses. Apparently the Gedar family was invited by the starosta who proposed he hide with his family in the village from the Germans. The Geder family had 4 members: the head of the family, his wife, a new born baby girl and their son aged between 7-9 years old. They were shot in the yard of their house by the policemen who arrived from Lypovets. The little boy was shot on the road while attempting to escape. The family was buried close to the Orthodox cemetery in an anti-tank ditch. Their belongings were plundered by starosta and his family. Once the village was liberated, the starosta has been hanged by the Soviet without trial.    

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