Ruzhyn (Ruzhin) | Zhytomyr

/ A yard of a Ukrainian house © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum Ivan I., born in 1927: “The Jews were brought by truck to the execution site. It was a covered truck, so I could not see the Jews inside it. They were escorted by SS Germans, dressed in black.” © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum Maria B. saw the Jewish column walking to the execution site © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum During the interview © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum Site of the first execution, located in the middle of the forest © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum The site of the second execution is located near the present-day Orthodox cemetery. Before the war, it was behind the kolkhoz. © Victoria Bahr – Yahad- In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Ruzhyn

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest /Behind the kolkhoz
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
1400

Witness interview

Ivan S., born in 1928, remembers: “On September 10, a big action was conducted. On this day, all the Jews were forced out of their homes. First, they were all gathered in the center of town, and then they were forced to get into a truck. It was a large, covered truck. There were three stairs to climb into it. Those who took too much time were beaten with rifle butts. They were mostly elderly and women with children. The young Jews must have managed to flee or hide. Everything was done by the SS soldiers. At this moment, there were no police.” (Witness N°1736, interviewed in Bilylivka, on June 6, 2013).

Soviet archives

“The third execution of Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality was carried out in the summer of 1942 and was conducted in the same manner as previous ones. My policemen and I participated in the round-up and the hunt of fugitives. We also ensured that they were guarded while they were locked up in the school building till the moment they were taken to the shooting. Once 200 Jews were gathered, a German interpreter called artisans, tailors, and cobblers by name. In all, there were about 100 of them. I had to take them back with two other policemen. Another hundred were taken by the police to the execution site, where they were shot.” [Interrogation of Yosif R., a chief of the Ukrainian police, completed on July 12, 1946, RG 31.018M].

Historical note

Ruzhyn is located 72 km from Zhytomyr. There were 1,108 Jews living in the village before the war. The Jews were merchants or artisans and owned shops. The German forces occupied the town on July 17, 1941. Bt that time, many of the Jews managed to flee to the East and Jewish men were enlisted in the Soviet army.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the occupation of the town, burglary and humiliations of the Ruzhyn Jews began. The first mass shooting, of 750 Jews, took place in September. They were shot not far from the village of Bilylivka.  Afterwards, the remaining Jews were placed in a fenced ghetto, created after the first aktion. Throughout the second aktion in April, a group of 90 Jews was selected from the ghetto and was never seen again. On May 1, 250 to 300 ghetto inhabitants were selected and taken to a prepared trench, where the whole group was shot. Many Jews were deported to labor camps in the region. Later on, another 100 specialized workers were shot, while the other half was kept alive. In September, more than 60 remaining Jews were collected to be shot. 10 people managed to flee before the shooting. The anti-Jewish aktions were carried out by the German Security police, helped by the Ukrainian police. For more information on the execution in Bilylivka, please refer to the corresponding profile

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