1 Execution site(s)
Zinovi R., born in 1937 in Bobrovyi Kut:
“P.D: What did your parents do?
Z.R: My father worked at the butter factory in Bobrovyi Kut and my mother was a Yiddish teacher at the Jewish Primary school.
P.D: Was there a kolkhoz in Bobrovy Kut?
Z.R: Yes, it was.
P.D: Was it a Jewish agricultural colony?
Z.R: Yes, it was.
P.D: Did you personally learn Yiddish?
Z.R: I didn’t have time to learn. I understand it but I can’t speak very well.
P.D: What was the name of your kolkhoz in Yiddish?
Z.R: «Roter Oktober».
P.D: What was the specialty of your kolkhoz? What did it produce?
Z.R: We produced everything: cereals, tomatoes, other vegetables. The Kherson region is very fertile.
P.D: Was your family native to this village?
Z.R: My father was native and my mother was from Beryslav. P.D: Have the Jews been settled in this village a long time?
P.D: How did they arrive into this village?
Z.R: They were native from to Northern parts of Belarus and Lithonia. They were called Litvaks.
P.D: Who brought them here?
Z.R: My parents’ ancestors were displaced here under Catherine the Great’s rule.
P.D: Were other Jews who lived in your village displaced in the same way?
Z.R: Yes, may had been moved by the Russian Empire.
P.D: What was the reason Catherine the Great displaced the Jews in this region?
Z.R: The land in this region was untouched and fertile. They were displaced along with the Jews of other nationalities, for instance Swedes, Germans and others.
P.D: How long did you live in this village?
Z.R: Until I was 5 years old.
P.D: Why did your parents leave?
Z.R: Once the war broke out, my father enlisted in the army and my mother, my brother – Mach – , and I left because the Germans were approaching.” (Testimony n°278, interviewed in Kherson, on January 11th, 2006).
“Today the Commission investigated the scene of the crimes committed by the German fascist invaders. The Commission determined that on September 16th, 1941, 917 civilians, including 717 residents of Bobrovyi Kut and 200 people evacuated from Bessarabia, were shot in the step 3km north of Bobrovyi Kut in direction of Yevhenivka. The victims’ corpses were thrown into a well.” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission drawn up on October 4th, 1944; RG 22.002M:7021-77-413]
Bobrovyy Kut is located 65 km north-east of Kherson. The village was founded in 1807, as the Jewish agricultural colony. According to the 1810 census, 337 Jews lived in the colony. The first 77 families who came from Vitebsk, Minsk, Poltava and Chernihiv provinces received housing, land, agricultural tools and other benefits. However, despite these benefits, the colony was poorly developed, the settlers had trouble adapting to the new conditions of life due to their lack of experience in agriculture. By 1897, the Jewish population increased to 1,248 people making up 85% of the total population. At that time, there were 3 synagogues and a Jewish school in Bobrovyi Kut.
During the Civil War, the Jewish population suffered from pogroms and lootings, a lot of people died of famine and epidemics. The residents were constantly helped by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Colonization Association and other international Jewish organizations. In 1926, 1,365 Jews lived in Bobrovyi Kut. In 1927, following the policy of the Soviet regime all local synagogues were closed and 86% of local farms were transformed into in kolkhoz. In the early 1930s, a lot of young local Jews were accused of nationalism and Zionism. They were then executed. The village was occupied by the German troops on August 27th, 1941. Only a small part of local Jewish population managed to evacuate to the eastern regions by that time.
The execution of Jews was conducted shortly after the occupation, without the ghettoization process. Indeed, on September 19th, 1941, 917 Jews were rounded up in the Klub. Then, they were taken to the well located in the step about 3 km from the village. There, the victims were shot or pushed into the well alive.
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