Barvinkove (Barvenkovo) | Kharkiv

/ 1933, provided our team with the information about the local police, POW camps, deportations, shootings, and rapes that took place in Barvinkove during the war.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Our team interviewing Anatoli K., born in 1933, in his house in Barvinkove. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Aerial view of the location of the second Barvinkove POW camp. Today, large warehouses are built on the site. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum A large field home to one of the wartime POW camps in Barvinkove. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Monument to Soviet soldiers and civilians executed by the Germans during the war near the former prison camp at the bread storehouse. The inscriptions do not mention Jewish victims.    ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Aerial view of the site where POWs, Jews and communists were executed. At the time, a bread storehouse was located there. Today the site is composed of only a few abandoned buildings. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews, prisoners of war and communists in Barvinkove

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Bread storehouse
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1943
Number of victims:
About 50

Witness interview

Anatoli K., born in 1933: “Y. U.: And when the Germans were stationed here, did they do anything to the local women?
Witness: [laughing] The Germans enjoyed themselves here every Sunday. There is a memorial here, where the mass grave is where the war dead are buried. There used to be a pine forest there, a nice forest. And every Sunday they would go there, the Germans, the orchestra and the mobile kitchen. And the tramps of Barvinkove. And if there were not enough of them, the Polizei would make rounds of the houses where there were girls of appropriate age. They would tell the mothers: “The girl must be there, or she will be taken to Germany [for forced labor].” They had to go, willy-nilly.
Y.U.: Were there a lot of girls that were forced to spend time with the Germans like that?
Witness: What can I say? Enough to satisfy the Germans. My neighbor used to be a very beautiful woman… She was forced too. And around her there was a circle of tramps, all under the age of 25 or 30. Their men were in the army. One of those women was a gynecologist. She had to work there.” (Witness n°2981U, interviewed in Barvinkove on October 19, 2021)

Historical note

Barvinkove is a town located 135 km (84 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine. Before the war, the town was populated by Ukrainians, Russians and Jews. The cohabitation between these communities was peaceful and the children all studied in the same mixed school.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On June 22, 1941, German armies and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. Barvinkove was captured in October 1941. From the very beginning of the occupation, a local auxiliary police force, headed by a man named Pa***, was established. On January 24, 1942, the town was recaptured during a Red Army offensive. Then on May 17, it fell back under the control of the Germans. The recapture of the region by the Wehrmacht caused the encirclement and capture of more than 240,000 Soviet soldiers. Two POW camps were  subsequently established in Barvinkove. They were guarded by German soldiers, surrounded by barbed wire and a curfew was set at 8 pm. At the same time, a small prison was also used to lock up Jews, Communists and some POWs. Prisoners in the camps were subjected to various types of forced labor, such as reinforcing the roads. During 1942, on the site of a former bread storehouse, near one of the two camps, the German authorities regularly had POWs shot. Among the victims of these executions were also about fifty Jews, shot in mass graves. Almost every Sunday, the German soldiers organized parties where they had policemen bring the prettiest girls in town to rape them. 

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