Torhovytsya (Torgovytsia, Torgovitsa) | Kirovohrad

/ Natalia B., born in 1923: “Someone was groaning and then I asked who it was. And the girl answered: “It is me Rosa.” She asked me what day it was. It was Thursday. She answered back:“I wish I could hold till Saturday…”. © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Paraskovia K., born in 1932, witness of the execution of Jews in Torhovytsya. © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Natalia B., born in 1923: “The shooting happened over here. There was a kind of wall formed after the extraction of the clay, and the Jews were forced to enter inside the quarry and the shooters fired from the top.”© Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Diagram of the execution site made by Yahad tema with the help of local eyewitness © Yahad-In Unum The road by which the rows of Jews were brought towards the clay quarry where they were shot © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of 198 Jews in Torhovytsya © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Torgovytsya

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Clay quarry
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
198

Witness interview

Paraskovia K., born in 1932, remembers: « One day, all the Jews were gathered in the center of the village. I didn’t see it myself, but people told that they were confined in the school building and then taken to the quarry where people used to extract the clay. From my home, I saw a column of about a hundred people walking slow. It was a crowd of people actually. There were men, women and children among them. All of them marched. They were escorted by Germans with dogs and local police. When the column passed by my house ,a Jewish woman pushed her daughter of about 10-12 years old in the bushes hoping to spare her life. Once the column passed my grandmother took her and hid in a little pit dig on purpose which she covered with straw and rubbish. She stayed for 4-5 days there. We gave her food. and then she left, but I don’t know what happened to her. We have never heard from her after. Her name was Rosa » (Testimony n°2030, interviewed in Torhovytsya, on April 12, 2017)

Soviet archives

“In February 1942, one morning, close to my home, the Germans and the local police from the district took about 80 people, including men, women and children, towards the clay quarry, located about 50-60m from my home. The column stopped close to the house and two Germans went to find where the quarry was deeper, while other Germans and police pushed the Jews inside the quarry. They stopped in the middle of the quarry and two policemen chose two Jewish men who were forced to clear the pits from the snow. Then, they brought the Jews in groups of 6-8 into the pit where they were shot with sub machine guns.” [Act of the State extraordinary commission based on the deposition of a local inhabitant, Tatyana O.; RG 22.002M. 7021-66-123]

Historical note

Torhovytsya is a village, located about 122km east from Kirovohrad (today’s Kropyvnytsky). Before 1939, it was a part of the Uman district, the region of Kyiv. The first records about Jewish community dated back to the late 18th century. Due to the pogroms in December 1918 and relocation of Jews in bigger towns, the population dropped from 1,299 at the end of 19th century to 846 in 1926. The majority of Jews worked in small trade business and handcraft. According to the local witnesses, there was a workshop of rope production where many Jews worked. There were two cemeteries, a synagogue and an elementary Yiddish school until 4th grade. The village was occupied by the  German army in early August 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the German’s arrival the Jews continued to live normally in their house until February 1942. According to the local witnesses they weren’t marked nor registered.  In February, the majority of Jews were assembled in the center of the village and after taken towards the clay quarry, located in the vicinity of the village, in the direction of the village of Pidvysoke. The Jews were shot inside the pit in small groups of 6-10 people. The execution was conducted by Germans with the help of local police. Some historical sources mentioned that 495 Jews were executed in Torhovytsya, although during the researches Yahad found out that the number of victims is overestimated. The remains were reburied a couple of meters away from the execution site. According to the monument and local witnesses, 198 Jews were executed in Torhovystya. 

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