1 Execution site(s)
Semen M., born in 1922, and Yosyp V., born in 1925, share their memories: “YIU: Were they shot in the course of one day?
W: No, the shootings lasted two or three days.
YIU: Were they told that they were going to be killed?
W1: No, they weren’t. They were taken without knowing where they were going. They were brought to the pit and shot. The police sealed off the site.
W2: I would like to add; the Jews were told that they would be transferred to another place. They took all their belongings and valuables with them. And once there, everything was taken from them, clothing, gold objects, gold teeth.” (Witness n°246 and n°247, interviewed in Chernyakhiv, on October 10, 2005)
Chernyakiv is located 22km north of Zhytomyr. The Jewish community dates back to the 17th century, but in the course of its history, the population decreased considerably due to different attacks and pogroms. On the eve of WWII, 20% of the total population were Jews. The majority of the Jews lived off of handcraftsmanship and small businesses. The village was occupied by the Germans in the middle of July 1941. Less than the half of the prewar Jewish population managed to evacuate to the East.
Immediately after the Germans’ arrival, all the Jews were registered and subjected to perform different kind of labor. The first anti-Jewish Aktions started in August 1941. In the course of about ten days, approximately 300 Jews were killed in four isolated aktions. It is important to note that men were killed first, while the women with children were resettled and detained until the fall of 1941, when they were shot. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad, before being killed the Jews were detained in the barn for 45 days, which had served as a prison before the war. The barn was guarded by Ukrainian police, while the Aktions were conducted by SS mobile units, including the SS motorized brigade and Sonderkommando 4a.
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