Demydivka (Demidowka) | Rivne

Jewish children in Demydivka before World War II  © From personal archive of the witness/Yahad-In Unum / Typical horse cart which is still used as the principal mean of transport in the village.  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum ahad-In Unum’s team with a witness   © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Olga M., born in 1930: “The Jews had to undress and put their clothes in a pile. The shooting started at 10 o’clock. At 4 o’clock we already started to fill the pit” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Anatoli G., born in 1924 : “Some Jews succeeded to flee from the ghetto but they were captured and killed.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Volodymyr K., born in 1924:”Jews couldn’t gather in groups of more than four and they had to wear distinguished badges.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Halyna B., born in 1928:” We saw a truck full of Jews arrive. They were screaming and it was horrible. A policeman came close and told us to go away. They put the Jews in a row in the pit and shot them in the nape of the neck.” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Yevstafiy D., born in 1930:”After the mass shooting, 50 Jews were captured in the forest, killed, and buried in the same pit” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Execution site of about 600 Jews, murdered in October 1942 near the forest. (Execution site n°1) © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Supposedly, about 50 Jews were murdered here after being tortured. Back then it was a clay quarry. (Execution site n°3)  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Demydivka

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest (1);Territory of the ghetto (2);clay quarry(3)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 700

Witness interview

Volodymyr K., born in 1931, says: “Before being confined to the ghetto, the Jews tried to place their children within the non-Jewish families in order to hide them. But, some of the Ukrainians were afraid of taking such a risk and refused. Then, a couple of months after the ghetto was created. It was located in the area where the Jews lived before. It was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by SD soldiers with dogs. It was strictly forbidden to leave the limits unless the Jews had a special pass. It was only the Judenrat who could give this pass. The local non-Jewish people weren’t allowed to go into the ghetto but there were still people who came on the sly and threw food over the fence. They had nothing to eat there, so we helped with what we could.” (Testimony n°1351, interviewed in Demydivka, on November 30, 2011)

Soviet archives

“According to the witness’s statements, the commission established that, in October 1942, under the order of commander A., 600 Jews were shot with machine and submachine guns. The bodies were thrown one on top of another into a pit which was dug in advance and then it was filled in with a thin layer of soil. […] Grave n° 5, which measured 5mx7m, is located in the village of Demidovka. Under the order of policeman K., 50 Jews from the Demidovka ghetto were shot there. The bodies were discovered with bullets in their heads, and with broken arms and legs. According to villagers from Bukuy, the German executioners rounded-up 50 young people from the village and tortured them. They hung them by their feet on a post and left for 15-20 hours with their hands and legs tied. Young girls were raped and then killed.”[ Act drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission; RG.22-002M: Fond 7021, Opis 71, Delo 46]

Historical note

Demydivka is a village located about 75 kilometers southwest of Rivne.  The first records about the Jewish community date back to the end of the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century, there were 679 Jews, making up the majority of the total population.  In the interwar period, the village was under Polish rule. In 1921, its population decreased and numbered 595 Jews, comprising half of the local population. Most of Jews were engaged in handcraft and small-scale trade.  There were 3 synagogues in Demydivka. There was a Jewish elementary school and a cheder, but according to the local residents some Jewish children went to Polish and then Soviet school. A Zionist movement was developed, but when Soviets took over the village in 1939 it was banned. On the eve of the German occupation, there were probably around 700 Jews in Demydivka.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Germans occupied Demydivka on June 25th, 1941. Shortly after, seven Jews were murdered alleged of being communists.  All the Jews were ordered to wear distinguishing badges on their clothes. The Judenrat, a Jewish council, and a local police were created.   All the Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor. The ghetto was created only in May 1942 and existed for seven month until it was liquidated in October of the same year. According to the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by SD soldiers with dogs. There were also watchtowers with projectors during the night.  On October 8, 1942, about 600 Jews were taken to the forest by truck where they were shot. The pits were dug by the Jews themselves. Once there, the Jews had to undress, get inside the pit, and lie down facing the ground. From the accounts of an eyewitness, we know that there was a chief who gave orders to shoot.  Approximately 100 Jews managed to hide during the round up, but half of them were captured and later shot at the end of October.  Those Jews who were found in hiding after that were shot on the spot. With the help of the local witnesses, Yahad could identify two sites of isolated shooting.

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