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3 Execution site(s)
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)
“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]
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.
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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