Borshchi | Odesa

Local ambiance in the village © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yevguenia P., born in 1929: “The camp was surrounded by barbed wire and the Jews were left under the open sky. Those who died from hunger or diseases were buried nearby in the pits.” © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yevguenia P., born in 1929: “The column of about a hundred Jews, including men, women and children were brought from Dobrovka, Slobodka. They were confined in the camp. While walking, they were escorted on all sides by a dozen local policemen, armed with Filip, born in 1931, brought them food: “Although the barbed wire was 2m high, we still found the opportunity to give them food. I could pass my hand through the wire to give them bread or corn cereal. We gave them what we had and in return, they gave us The Yahad team with two witnesses at the location of the pits where the Jewish victims detained in the camp were shot. Many corpses were brought from the camp here to be buried. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The location of the camp where several dozen Jews died from hunger and inhumane living conditions.  There is no monument at the site, Borshchi. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Borshchi

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Shell hole close to the camp
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 240

Witness interview

Yevguenia P., born in 1929, describes the camp where she brought food to the detainees: “All the Jews were assembled in the field, close to the kolkhoz. There were not only local Jews, but also the Jews brought from the nearby villages. The Jews remained under the open sky. There was a fence made of barbed wire, about 2m high. The camp was guarded by Romanians. There was one entry with a hut where the Romanians stayed. It was forbidden to bring food to the Jews, but we still managed to do it. We gave them what we had, but we never waited for them to give something in exchange. We just helped them because they were human beings and there were many children among them. Many of them died every day and their corpses were thrown into the shell holes close to the camp. There were many of them left after the bombing. At the beginning, they didn’t even cover the pit, but afterwards, when the birds and dogs started to dig up the remains, the pits were filled in. ” (Witness n°2059, interviewed in Borshchi, on May 24, 2016)

Soviet archives

After questioning the local population in the village of Borshchi, the commission was able to establish that between August 1941 till spring 1942, a transit camp was created on the area of the stables to the kolkhoz garden where the Soviet citizens were detained. After interrogating the local villagers, the commission opened the pits and exhumed the corpses of men, women and children. In all, there were about 240 corpses of Soviet citizens who were either shot or died from hunger and abuse. The corpses were thrown pell-mell into the pits, the skulls were found close to the lower extremity bones and ribs.” [Act n°45 of the State commission drawn up on July 8, 1944; RG 22.002M, Fond 7021, Opis 6, Delo 74(?)]

Historical note

Borshchi is a village, known as Gotary before 1750, located 200km northwest of Odessa. According to the local witnesses, there were no Jews living in the village before the war. Borshchi was occupied by the Germans in early August 1941 and starting in September, it became part of Transnistria. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the occupation, a transit camp was established in Borshchi and existed from August 1941 till spring 1942. It was located on the territory of the field, close to the stables and the garden, which belonged to the kolkhoz. According to the local witnesses who brought the food to the detainees, the camp was fenced in with barbed wire that was 2m high and was guarded by Romanians. The inmates stayed under the open sky. There was an entry with a guard hut for the Romanians. Due to the terrible living conditions and lack of food, several dozen inmates died every day. Their corpses were buried in the shell holes close to the camp. 

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