Baranivka (Baranovka) | Zhytomyr

/ Local landscape ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Mykola S., born in 1926, described how he managed to save his Jewish school classmate Naum and his sister Eva during the Holocaust. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Mykola S. and his family were awarded the honorary title  Righteous Among the Nations for having had the courage to save Jews during the war ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Mykola S., born in 1926, shows the execution site of the Jews from Baranivka. The monument in the memory of the victims was erected in 2008 ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Baranivka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Pinery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 1,000

Witness interview

Mykola S., born in 1926, recalls: “A long column was driven down the street to the pit dug near Baranivka. We were looking through the holes in our shed. The passing column was guarded. It was the end of autumn, the weather was cold and naked children were carried on the carts; a lot of little hands and legs. It was terrible, a horrible sight. We were hiding in fear, Baranivka was deserted. And Jews were taken to the pit to be killed there.” (Testimony n°1648, interviewed in Baranivka on April 29, 2013)

German archives

“In Baranivka the Jews were taken to Shabrekaya street. At the time I lived in this city, the Jews worked in labor camps but that not last a long time. In 1942, long and deep pits were dug. I don’t know who organized these preparations. All the children and elderly were gathered in the street and they were taken to the pits. On their way, they were beaten in an inhuman manner. I saw that a mother named Salzmann holding a baby in her arms was obliged to hand her baby over to a German gendarme. When the mother refused, the German snatched the baby from her and killed him in front of her. Then I saw a Jewish old man named Grünberg who was suffering from rheumatism and was moving with difficulty. A gendarme beat him with a stick, so that only the blood-stained rags remained on the ground. Severe beatings and screams accompanied the Jews of Baranivka during their last journey. When they reached the pit, in tens, holding hands, they had to stand at the edge of the pit to be killed with a bullet in the back of their neck. Their corpses fell directly into the pit.” [Deposition of Jewish survivor taken on August 10, 1965; B162-7357]

Historical note

Baranivka is the district center in Zhytomyr region, located 77km west of Zhytomyr. The earliest known Jewish community dates back to 1847. In the beginning of 19th century, a porcelain factory was established in the town. Before WWII a lot of Jews worked there. The total population of Baranivka, before the series of pogroms of 1919-1920, was 6,000, of whom 2,000 were Jews. About 200 families were plundered, 45 persons were killed as a result of these pogroms. There was a Jewish school, founded in 1922, and a synagogue. 1,447 Jews lived in Baranivka before the beginning of WWII. Baranivka was occupied by the Germans on 6 July, 1941. Only 30% of its pre-war population was evacuated.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Soon after the occupation, the German military administration instructed the local authority to register and mark the Jews with armbands. The first Aktion, conducted by the German Security Police and SD from Sonderkommando 4a, took place on July 19, 1941. During this Aktion, 74 Jewish men were shot in the center of the village. About two weeks later, another 100 Jews were shot in the south of Baranivka by German security forces, while the remaining Jews were confined to the ghetto, located in the city center that existed until January 1942. They were prohibited to leave the ghetto even to buy food; as a result, famine ensued in the ghetto. On August 24, 1941, the third execution was carried out against 180 Jews. They were murdered 7km west of the village.  In November 1941, the Jews fit to work were sent to labor camp in Novohrad-Volynskyi, where they were subsequently murdered. The remaining 594 Jews from Baranivka and nearby villages were murdered on January 6, 1942, during the liquidation of the ghetto carried out by the Germans assisted by local police. More than 1,000 Jews were murdered in Baranivka between July 1941 and January 1942.

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