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1 Execution site(s)
Valentyna L., born in 1929, remembers: “The Germans entered each house where Jews lived and forced them out one by one. They could take only the most necessary belongings and small bundles of valuables. Once out, they were lined up in a row. The families stayed together. Jews out on the road. Then, in rows they were marched towards the central square. There was a truck behind the row which transported those unable to walk.” (Testimony n°2027, interviewed in Oleksandria, on April 10, 2016)
“In September-October 1941, between 15 and 20, a German gendarme verified if all Jews showed up at work. That happened in the yard of police station located on 27Sverdlovskaya street. The German soldier kicked the Jews with their boots which had metal toes. Once the Jews were lined up, he hit everyone with a wip on the head yelling: «Jude kaputt !» At the end all the Jews, including young and old, were violently beaten. Ilya Schwartz and Vetukhnovski were beaten the most roughly. After, they were told to bow down and the German continued to beat them. An elder woman named Goldschtein was violently beaten that she remained unconscious lying on the ground for about 40 minutes.” [Deposition of Mikhail Ch., given to State Extraordinary commission; RG.22-002M: 7021-66-124]
Oleksandria (since 1784) is a big town first mentioned in 1746 as the settlement Usivka, is located 70km east north of Kirovohrad (today Kropyvnytskyi). The first records of the Jewish community dates back to the 18th century. By 1898 the Jews represented 27% of total population numbering 3,735 Jews. Over the course of the history, Jews suffered from several pogroms, in 1882 and in 1919-1920. During the pogroms the Jewish houses and shops were plundered and some of the Jews were killed.
There were five synagogues, a Talmud Torah and an elementary Yiddish school. The Jews lived mainly off small business and handcraft. Under the Soviet rule, many of them worked in artisans cooperatives. The Yiddish newspaper "Shtern" was published in Aleksandriya during the 1920s and 1930s.
Jews relocated to bigger cities dropping the population from 23% to 7%. On the eve of the war, there were 1,420 Jews in Oleksandriya. The town was occupied by Nazis in the early August 1941.
A month after the German occupation the anti-Jewish Aktions started. During this month, according to local witness, the Jews were marked with armbands bearing Yellow Star of David. They had it also on their back. Prior to the execution all Jews were told to gather in the central Lenin place and take their valuables and most necessary belongings under the pretext of relocation. According to a local eyewitness who was forced along with other villagers living close to the central square to watch the gathering, after all Jews left, the bags and bundles they came with were taken from the central square the prison. Many of them were shot on the territory of the prison, but apparently, their bodies were reburied after, while others were taken to the shooting training field where the pit had been already dug. Before being killed, the victims were forced to undress. After this shooting, several isolated shootings took place. Like during the previous Aktion the Jews were first taken to the police station or prison, where they were tortured and beaten and after that executed. In all, 2,572 were murdered, including Jews from the surrounding area. Besides the Jews 5,500 prisoners of war detained in four labor camps were also executed in Oleksandriya.
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