Berezhanka | Vinnytsia

Execution of Jews in Berezhanka

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Silo pit (1); Brickyard (2)
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About two hundred

Witness interview

Tanasiy Ia., born in 1928: “The Jews were brought here in the fall. They were placed in cow sheds that belonged to a kolkhoz. When the war broke out the cattle was taken away and the premises remained empty. The stables were guarded by the Romanians day and night. Some Jews bribed the guards to go the village to ask for food. Those who didn’t have any money sneaked out, even though it was very dangerous.” (Witness n°2691U, interviewed in Berezhanka, on October 30, 2019)

Historical note

Berezhanka is located 135km (84mi) southeast of Vinnytsia (not to be mistaken with the villages of the same name in the Volhyn and Ternopil regions). Berezhanka was home to Ukrainians, as no Jews lived in the village before the war. There were several kolkhozes [collective farms] in the village. Agriculture was source of revenue. The Jews lived in the nearby town of Obodivka, located about 6km away, where the Jewish community represented 6% of the total population on the eve of the war.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Berezhanka was occupied by German and Romanian forces on July 28, 1941. The village remained under Romanian control and became part of the administrative region of Transnistria in September 1941. Despite the fact that there is no mention of the village in archives, Yahad - In Unum managed to establish the presence of a temporary ghetto for Jewish refugees during the occupation, thanks to the help of local witnesses,. In the fall of 1941, hundreds of Jews - men, women, and children - were brought from Bessarabia and Bukovina and placed in the cow sheds that belonged to the collective farm. The buildings were not fenced in, although it was forbidden for the Jewish people to leave the territory. They were guarded by the local police or Romanian gendarmes, according to different testimonies. Some Jews who managed to bribe the gendarmes and leave the ghetto, found shelter with local people. They worked in exchange for food and a place to sleep, and many of them subsequently managed to survive. All the Jews, except for two rich families who stayed in a separate house, disappeared. They were likely transferred to Obodivka. According to witnesses, about two hundred Jews died from starvation, mistreatment and disease while being confined in the cowsheds. They were buried in two different mass graves which remain unmarked to this day.

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