2 Execution site(s)
Maria V., born in 1924: “I remember two Jewish girls who were brought here. They were very good tailors. They made me a dress and we paid them back with food. They had nothing to eat, so they were looking for any jobs they could do to survive. At the end they were killed but separately from other Jews. They were killed in the garden located not far away from the club where they were detained. Other Jews were shot in the pine forest located outside the village. I didn’t see the shooting, but I heard the bursts of gunfire coming from that place.” (Witness n°2703U, interviewed in Brodetske, on November 4, 2019)
Brodetske is located 114km southeast of Cherkasy. According to the local villagers, the village was home to Ukrainians. There were no Jews living here before the war. A big Jewish community lived in the nearby shtetl of Katerynopil, located 8km north. The first record about the Katerynopil Jews goes back to the end of the 18th century. In 1797, 1,360 Jews lived in the shtetl. By 1897, the Jewish community represented 28% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and handcraft. In 1865, the village had two synagogues and a cemetery. Under the Soviet regime, in the 1930s, the synagogues were closed, and all private business were banned. As a result, many Jews started to leave the village by moving to bigger towns. On the eve of the war only 395 Jews remained in the Katerynopil.
Brodetske was occupied by the German forces in late July 1941. From the historical sources we know that a forced labor camp was created in Brodetske in May 1942. About 255 native Jews from Katerynopil and Shpola were brought here and confined into the Klub building. All the detainees regardless of their sex and age who were fit to work were forced to work on the road construction. The camp was guarded by the auxiliary policemen with guns who escorted the detainees to work and back. In the winter 1942-1943, typhus broke out in the camp, and as a result of many Jews died. Those who had only symptoms were murdered in the pit dug in the garden of a local villager located not far away from the Klub. One of such isolated killings was confirmed by one of the Yahad’s witnesses who said that two Jewish female tailors were shot there. The bodies of the typhus victims were buried in the same pit. When the Germans understood that they wouldn’t win the war, the camp was liquidated. Most probably it happened in late fall 1943. On that day, all the Jews were marched towards the pine forest where they were forced to undress and shot in groups of ten on the edge of the pit. Several Jews attempted to escape but were killed on the spot, except for one boy who managed to run away and was sheltered by a local family in the village of Honcharykha. He survived the war. Today there is a memorial on the site in the pine forest, but no sign or marker on the mass grave near the Klub building.
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