Romaniv (Romanov, formerly Dzerzhynsk) | Zhytomyr

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Execution of Jews in Dzerzhynsk)

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
4 Pits in different places in and outside the village
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 1800

Witness interview

Nadezhda G., born in 1927, remembers her Jewish friends:
“YIU: Where there Jews from the surrounding villages who were killed in Romaniv?
W: I don’t know. But, I personally knew several Jews who were killed here, for instance Fania Bliudey. We were in the same class with her, starting from the 8th grade, or Izya Oreper. Mothers were killed with their children. Even today, I have tears in my eyes when I think about her. She was killed with her little kid. Her husband was not there at that moment, so I don’t know what happened to him.
YIU: Were there Jews who refused to follow the Germans and were killed on the spot?
W: For example, Fania, was hidden at our place. We hid together with her, because I was afraid being taken to Germany for forced labor. Her whole family was killed, except her father, who was transferred to the labor camp in Chudniv. He was a talented tailor. (Witness n°254, interviewed in Romaniv, on October 17, 2005).

Historical note

Romaniv (formerly Dzerzhynsk) is located 53km west of Zhytomyr. On the eve of the war there were 1,720 Jews living in the village (25% of total population). According to the witness n°253 back at that time there was a Jewish school which was transformed to a public school in the 1930s. There was a synagogue but it was under renovation. Meanwhile, the Jews prayed in a special house. Many Jews worked in a Jewish kolkhoz, created in the 1931, while others lived from handcraft and small trade. The village was occupied by German forces in the early July, 1941. By that time some Jews evacuated while the young men were enrolled in the Soviet army. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Straight after the German arrival, an opened ghetto was established in late July 1941. Any contact with the local population was not allowed. Due to bad living conditions and cold weather many Jewish inmates died. There were several actions against the Jews in the period between August and December 1941. Each time they were rounded up from their houses and gathered first at the central square and afterwards taken to the shooting location. Apparently, the pits were dug by the Jews themselves. The specialists were shot last, because they were used for different kinds of labor. The executions were conducted by the Germans with an active help of the local police, who were in charge of the round-up and gathering of Jews. The second action during which 100 Jews were killed in a public park was conducted only by the Ukrainian police. After the liquidation of the ghetto conducted in October 1941, there were still around 300 specialists who remained living in the village. Part of them were taken and shot in Romanivka and another part in the public park in December 1941. Several Jews managed to survive by hiding in the nearby villages.

 For more information about the shooting in Romanivka please refer to the following profile

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