1 Execution site(s)
Volodymyr R., born in 1929, remembers: “One day, I wanted to go gather dry weeds close to the cemetery, but my grandmother stopped me from doing that because at that moment, we saw a truck full of people going in that direction. My grandmother might have known already that they were going to be killed. So, I stayed at home and was watching through a window. The truck stopped just near the cemetery. It was a covered truck, so I couldn’t see the people inside, but as far as I can remember, there were about twenty Jews. Once the Jews got off the truck, they were forced to go inside the anti-tank ditch where they were shot. During the shooting the truck was parked nearby, but once the shooting was over, the shooters got on the truck and left. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I remember that it was snowing that day. It was not in summer.” (Witness n°2071, interviewed in Troitske, on May 28, 2016)
“In September 1941, one month after the Germans’ arrival in the village of Troitskoye, I witnessed the execution of 52 Jews, including women, men, and teenagers. I can’t tell you the exact day when all this happened. I remember that it was on Sunday. Around 5pm, 52 Jews were brought on vehicles to the stable that belonged to the Petrovsky kolkhoz. From there, they were escorted to the hill close to the fields of the Petrovsky kolkhoz. The Jews were escorted only by Germans. On the hill, they were forced to stop close to the haystack. Later, when a car arrived, they started to take the Jews in groups of 5 to the foot of the hill, in the ravine; afterwards, we could hear the gunshots. At that moment, I was about 200m away from the site, but I couldn’t see with what weapon the Germans were using to fire at the Jews because they fired at the bottom of the ravine. Two days after the execution of 52 Jews, I was requisitioned along with other villagers to bury the corpses. When we arrived, I could see people lying in different position at the bottom of the ravine. The majority of them were executed with a bullet in the nape of the neck. They were buried at the same place, at the bottom of the ravine.” [Deposition of the local witness, Sidor K., who was also requisitioned to dig the pit and bury the bodies, made on October 7, 1944 to the State Commission; RG 22.002M: Fond 7021, Opis 6, Delo 82]
Troitske is a village located 144km north of Odesa.Through the accounts of the local witnesses, Yahad found out that before the war, the Jewish community was not very important and represented 10-15% of the local population. The majority of Jews lived in the center of the village, where they had shops. One of the witnesses remembered a shop with soda drinks. The Jews lived off of small business and craftsmanship. They were tailors, hairdressers, shoemakers. There was no synagogue or Jewish school. The village was occupied in early August 1941 by the Germans, followed by the Romanians. Under Romanian rule, it became part of Transnistria.
Almost one month after the occupation, the anti-Jewish aktions started. Under the pretext of an organized meeting, all the Jews of the village, including children, were ordered to gather in the schoolyard. Those who presented themselves were taken outside of the village, to the west, towards the ravine. Apparently, the women and children were taken by cart, while about 50 men marched towards the execution under local police guard. According to the local eyewitnesses, interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were shot at the edge of the ravine, in groups of five. The shooters fired with machine guns. There was a chief among the Germans who gave the order to shoot.
After the field research, we were able to presume that after this large execution, conducted on September 27, 1941, there might have been an isolated shooting of the remaining Jews who managed to hide, as one of the witnesses mentioned a shooting in winter, when there was snow. The anti-Jewish aktions were conducted by the German SS soldiers who were helped by local police.
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