Kruti (Krutoye, Krute, Krutyye) | Odesa

/ Today, there are only a few traces of the Jewish past of the village of Kruti. The synagogue on the hill was dismantled and the cemetery is now used to graze cows. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Former Jewish school, later transformed into a children’s garden ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Former Jewish house, deserted since the beginning of the war ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Former Jewish « Selsoviet », site of the Jews’ rural council leader ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Mykola, born in 1927 : “Jews from Kruti were brought to another city, so before the column left, I went to see my school friends for the last time.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Galyna, born in 1929 : “I heard the gunfire. Victims were placed near the grave. There were several Romanians, but I don’t know how many.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Mykola, born in 1930: “I remember that during the war, 4 people hid in the attic of the house near mine.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum’s team with the witness in the yard of her house  ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Local ambiance  ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The execution site where approximately 200 Moldovan Jews were murdered. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews from Moldova in Kruti

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Silo pit in the ravine/ Close to oil mill
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941 – 1944
Number of victims :
200/50

Witness interview

Galyna D., born in 1929 recalls: “Immediately after Romanians arrived, they started to persecute the Jews. Some of the Jews managed to escape into the forest, but they were found and killed on the spot. My family hid one Jewish woman. For a while, she stayed in the attic hidden in hay, but then it became very dangerous to keep her there, so my father decided to transport her to another town. He put a chain with a cross over her neck, as all Orthodox people wore, in case someone saw her, they would think she was Orthodox. She survived the war. Afterwards, she came to the village and found my father to thank him. She was very grateful and gave us many presents.
YIU: Do you remember the woman’s name?
W: I used to remember, but I forgot. Many years have passed since.
YIU: How old was she?
W: She was in her thirties. She had dark hair. She was pretty.” (Testimony n° 2055, interviewed in Kruti, on May 23, 2016)

Historical note

Kruti is a village located 4 km from the border with Moldova, 260 km northwest of Odessa.  In the 1900’s, there were 2,389 Jews in the town, comprising 50% of the total population. They lived in the center. The majority of them lived off of small business. They owned convenient stores where they sold soda drinks, sugar, and flour. The Jews had their own “selsoviet,” a type of rural council. There was a synagogue, a Jewish school and a Jewish cemetery, which still exists. Jews spoke their own language, but also knew the Ukrainian language. There were mixed weddings between Jews and Ukrainians. Not far from the village, there was a German colony. The village was occupied by the Germans in early August 1941. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Almost nothing is known from the archives and historical sources about what happened to the Jews in Kruti. Thanks to the interviews of the local witnesses and despite the complexity of the investigation, Yahad was able to establish the historical facts. The Jewish community was exterminated over the course of several aktions. Shortly after the occupation, the village was incorporated into so-called Transnistria and remained under Romanian rule. Immediately, the local Jews were confined to a building. The Romanians forced them, even the children, to work in the kolkhozes during the harvest. They didn’t wear distinctive signs; they were locked up in those buildings, but were not guarded. They earned bread in exchange for their work. Once the harvest was over, they were taken to Shershentsi.

According to a witness, interviewed by Yahad, 3 or 4 days later, about 150-200 Jews were brought to the village from Moldova under the control of Germans and Romanians. Elderly people, women and children were brought to the top of a natural ravine 20 meter deep, and shot by dozens of Romanians.  Some hours later, a German arrived and ordered to get the bodies out because there was a river at the end of the ravine and the bodies would poison the water. So they attached a hook to the bodies and a horse dragged them out. Then, locals, on the order of the Romanians, dug a grave to bury them in.

After that, on the same day, there was another shooting in the village, near the oil mill this time. 50 men were brought to this site, shot and buried there. They were placed in lines of four in order to kill all four of them with one bullet. Their bodies stayed there several days without being buried, swelling in the sun. Ultimately, the last Jews were killed near the cemetery and buried there.

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