Pereslavychi (former Kuchkiv) | Volyn

/ Antonina S., born in 1925: ”They took the Jews to Kuchkiv to shoot them. The locals had to dig the pit. My mother was requisitioned as well, but I went instead of her because of her health issues”. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Stepanida Z., born in 1925: “The shooting of Jews started early in the morning. The Jews were shot in groups. mothers carried their children in their arms”.  © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team with the witness during the interview © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Stepan B., born in 1933, saw the Jews being marched on the street. There were about 30 people”.   © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Stepan B., born in 1933, showed to Yahad team the execution site of Jews. Today there is a monument there. © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum The place where the enclosure for Jews was built. The Jews remained locked there for a couple of days before the shooting. © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Execution site of Jews in Kuchkiv. There is a monument but it is located a hundred meters away from the mass grave. © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kuchkiv

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Anti-tank ditch in the fields
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
2,000

Witness interview

Stepan B., born in 1925, remembered, “Can you see over there? There was a fence of barbed wire built around there. It was 3m high. No one could climb over the barbed wire! There was an entry, from this side. The Jews were taken in and out from the building which you can see over there [witness points to the building]. There was a building where, before the war, the Russians chopped the cereals and, in the pit nearby, they tempered the lime. When there were no Russians here, instead of using the pit to temper the lime, the Germans used it to torture the Jews. They took a group of Jews from the enclosure and made them get inside the pit. Once they were inside they poured water over them and beat them with whips. The whips were made from four knotted ropes. I saw the whips with my own eyes. When the first group got enough, they were forced inside the building and another group was taken instead. In the same way, first they poured water over them and then started to whip them. The water was brought by the Jews. That is how they tortured them.” (Testimony N°1770, interviewed on July 27, 2013, in Pereslavychi)

Historical note

Kuchkiv was a hamlet located close to Pereslavychi and is presently integrated into the village of Pereslavychi, which is located about 70km northwesy of Luts, the county capital. Nothing is known about the prewar Jewish community.  According to the local witnesses, some Jews lived in Kuchkiv.   It is likely that they lived off small scale trade and handcraft. The Germans occupied the village in late June 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Little is known from the archives about the execution in Kuchkiv, but thanks to the testimonies collected by Yahad, we could reconstruct the missing parts. Supposedly, according to the witness, the Jews continued to live in their homes until spring or summer of 1942. Then, one day, all of the Jews were assembled in an enclosure, fenced in with barbed wire, where they remained for a couple of days. While being detained, they were subject to different kinds of abuses and tortures. Then, they were taken to the anti-tank ditches located in the fields 2km outside the village and shots in groups inside the trenches. The execution was conducted by Germans. In all, 2,000 Jews were killed in Kuchkiv. There were men, women, and children among the victims.

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