Kodyma (Kodima, Codima) | Odesa

/ The Jewish cemetery. One of the execution sites where 195 Jews were massacred is located not far from the cemetery. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The Jewish cemetery in Kodyma © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The former worship house in Kodyma. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The building from which the Jews were forced to take out the documents and burn them in the yard  © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Vasyl K., born in 1927: "My friend, Yuzia, was one of the first to be shot by the Germans. He and 29 other young boys were accused of preparing a coup against the Germans. I saw Yuzia at the edge of the pit."© Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Natalia Sh., born in 1930: “Villagers were forced to dig the grave before. Jews had to go into them, and then they were killed.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Anatoliy B., born in 1926: "The Jews were brought to the clay quarry. The local police set up the machine gun and started to place the Jews, group by group, at the edge of a pit. Between shooting each group, they drank." © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yelizaveta Y., born in 1927: “I saw a column of 200 or 300 men, women and children. They were on foot. They moved slowly. The column passed by Lenin Street and then took the path behind the vegetable garden.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Fylyp U., born in 1931: “Several columns passed by the village. There were many Jews in the columns,escorted by Germans with dogs. All we could hear when they passed is the children crying and calling their moms and dads.”  © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s tram with the witness during the interview © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Execution site of about 195 Jews murdered by Germans and Romanians. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Before it was a square in the city, 25 Jews from Poland were killed here, and now garages have been built on the grave © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Kodyma

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Village square/Clay pit close to Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1944
Number of victims :
270

Witness interview

Vassyl, born in 1927, recalls: “These people stood in the trenches and the Germans walked along, firing in their necks with rifles. They shot at point-blank range. When these people had been killed, approximately 6 men, selected among the victims, began to fill the grave. Germans hit them with shovels and after that, they shot them. Then, they took another group of 6 people to bury bodies. During this time, we watched. At the corner of the one floor building, they gathered the whole Jewish population of Kodyma. While Germans killed these foreigners, they forced the local Jews to sing. After that, they authorized them to go back home.” (Eyewitness n°2043, interviewed in Kodyma, on May 19, 2016)

Soviet archives

“On January 1942, Romanian and German invaders gathered 195 inhabitants of Kodyma, raging bloodily on a defenseless population. The 195 people were killed. It took place in the northeast suburbs of the city of Kodyma, near the Jewish cemetery. They were buried anyhow in a trench 20 meters long, 1 to 2 meters deep and 1.5 meters wide. Men, women and children were thrown into this trench.” [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on May 25, 1944; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 6, Delo 78]

Historical note

Kodyma is a city of the region of Odessa, Ukraine. The first traces of Jews in the city date back to the 18th century. Before the war, there were a lot of Jews in the town: 1,968 in the year 1939. They worked and lived in the center, where there were shops and markets. The synagogue was destroyed and the Jewish school just nearby was closed. Without the synagogue, the Jews prayed in a Jewish shoemaker’s store. There was also a Jewish cemetery. The relationship between this community and the others was very good; Jews wore the same clothes as the Ukrainians. Germans occupied the city with Romanians beginning in September 1941. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Then Germans arrived on motorbikes, followed by Romanians. It was the latter who took the power in the city and Kodyma became part of Transnistria. Under their authority, Jews were allowed to move and not forced to work, but the Star of David was stitched on to their clothes. The first massacre happened on August 30, 1941 when 48 Jews were murdered. Before the shooting, the local inhabitants were gathered and separated. Russians and Ukrainians were released but Jews were brought to the clay pit. Here, local policemen and Romanians killed them without covering their bodies. Germans were here, but stayed in the background, giving orders. In September 1941, a column of 25 Jews arrived from Poland, according to a Yahad witness. Brought to a square in the city, they were massacred, thrown into a grave and buried. Up till now, the undocumented execution site remains without any memorial. There is a parking lot at the site. The last massacre, documented by the archives, happened on January 12, 1942, when 195 Jews were murdered. Romanians and policemen began to send them into the grave by groups of 5 to 10. But it took so much time that they decided to place them all in the grave and kill them. Consequently, some were just injured and survived. The grave was covered in July. Nomadic Gypsies were also killed in Kodyma. 

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