Haysyn (Gaysin, Gaisin) | Vinnytsia

/ / Natalia P., born in 1922: “During the Great Famine, I managed to survive as I worked in Haysyn, taking care of a Jewish woman’s child. Jewish stores continued to operate there and it was possible to buy food.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Varvara S., born in 1929: “Many Jews lived in Haysyn before the war. I used to go there and sell food to the Jewish residents.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Praskovia A., born in 1925: “I saw the column of Jews heading towards the execution site along the road that passed by my house. Men, women and children, escorted by German guards, advanced painfully without resisting.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Andriy M., born in 1924: “In the fall of 1941, after the execution Aktion, my friend and I went to see the pit. It had already been filled in, but there were two corpses nearby, of a man and a woman.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Nina K., born in 1923: “A ghetto was set up in Haysyn in a two-storey building. It was not enclosed, but local inhabitants  had to stay away from it, otherwise they risked being mistaken for Jews and shot.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Evguenia L., born in 1932: “During the war, my family hid a Jew whose children had been murdered by the Germans. After liberation, their corpses were reburied in a mass grave with other Jewish victims.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team at the execution site in the Belendiyka area in Haysyn, where up to 8,000 Jews, non-Jews and POWs were murdered during the occupation period and buried in several mass graves. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews and non-Jews in Haysyn

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Ravine known as "Belendiyka"
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 2,789 and 3,770

Witness interview

Evguenia L., born in 1932: "At the beginning of the war, all the Jews in Haysyn, save those in hiding, were executed in the ravine we called "Belendiyka". Once, while I was venturing into the ravine to gather potatoes, I saw a column of Jews escorted by a German punitive detachment. Among them were approximately twenty women and children. They were forced to undress before being thrown into the pit. At that moment, I went to hide in nearby bushes, from where I heard the gunfire. Following the shooting, the pit was filled in by Soviet POWs, who had been brought there for the purpose, while the Germans left in a truck that had arrived to collect them. When I approached the pit, I observed the earth still shifting, with the belongings of the Jews left at the edge. Today, a monument stands erected at this site." (Testimony N°YIU1190U, interviewed in Haysyn, on May 20, 2011)

Soviet archives

"German scoundrels mercilessly slaughtered innocent civilians: Ukrainians, Russians, Jews. […] In the town of Gaysin [today Haysyn], 1,580 people were exterminated. Fascist beasts shot civilians on the outskirts of Gaysin, in the Belendiyka area […].
On September 16, 1941, under the pretext of relocation, the Germans ordered to over 1,000 of the town’s inhabitants - men, women and children - to gather together with their valuables. Armed Gestapo detachments surrounded all these people and took them out of town to a place called "Belendiyka". There, in groups of 60 to 75, people were taken to a shooting gallery building, stripped of their valuables and papers and forced to undress completely. Then, through two rows of fascist beasts, [the perpetrators] pushed the condemned towards the pits where they were shot to death with submachine guns. As for the children, they were thrown in alive. Once the first group had been shot and the others realized they were about to be shot too, and heart-rending screams rang out. Several people lost consciousness, others tried to escape, but were immediately shot by the Germans. That day, 1,000 men, women and children were shot and buried in 6 pits measuring 16x7m, 12x5m, 20x6m, 20x10m, 8x4m, 5x6m.
On September 17, 1941, in the Belendiyka area, the Germans carried out a shooting similar to the one conducted on September 16, 1941, killing another 1,000 people. […]" [Act drawn by State Extraordinary Soviet Commission (ChGK), on March 14, 1944, p.4; GARF 7021-54-1272/ Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

German archives

"Question: Did you see any executions?
Answer: Yes, in Gaissin [today Haysyn]. It was at the end of 1941. Pits had been dug and around 2,000 (Jewish) people were [...] shot by a police unit. To this day, I can still hear people’s death cries ringing in my ears. I watched the massacre with other comrades from an abandoned building about 400 meters away. I still remember that one of the policemen refused to take part in the massacre. As a result, he had to guard the site. I can’t remember his name.
Question: Who carried out the executions?
Answer: I don’t know. I think it was a police unit (the members wore police uniforms)." [Interrogation of Ludwig Georg O., member of the telephone traffic campaign in Vinnitsa [today Vinnytsia] and Gaissin (Ukraine) in 1941, BARch162-6153, p.60-63]

Historical note

Haysyn, situated approximately 95 km (59 mi) southeast of Vinnytsia, can trace its roots back to the 16th century when it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The recorded history of Jewish presence in Haysyn dates back to the first half of the 17th century. However, between 1648 and 1654, the town faced significant devastation during the Khmelnytsky Uprising pogroms, leading to the loss of many Jewish lives. In the 18th century, the community suffered further during attacks by the Haidamaks, particularly targeting Jews and Poles. By 1790, only 50 Jews remained in Haysyn.

After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, Haysyn became part of the Russian Empire. Subsequent years saw an influx of Jewish immigrants to Eastern Europe, leading to a notable increase in the Jewish population. According to the 1800 census, Jews constituted almost 69% of the total population, numbering 1,275 individuals. By 1834, their numbers had grown to 1,692 people. Engaged primarily in commerce and artisanal work, many of the town’s businesses were owned and operated by Jews. Haysyn boasted a synagogue and two houses of prayer. In 1896, the Jewish population reached 5,152 individuals, comprising 55.5% of the total population.

Despite the significant economic contributions of Jews at the outset of the 20th century, the Jewish community in Haysyn faced a decline during the Russian Civil War. In May 1919, pogroms orchestrated by the White Army resulted in the deaths of 400 Jews, prompting some to seek refuge in larger urban centers. During the Soviet era, with the dissolution of social and political institutions, cooperatives for artisans were established, and private businesses dwindled. A Yiddish school and a special Yiddish court were established during this period. By 1939, the Jewish population numbered 4,109 individuals, comprising 27.7% of the total populace.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Before July 25, 1941, when German troops entered Haysyn, a significant number of Jews had either been mobilized or voluntarily enlisted in the Red Army, while some others managed to evacuate to the East. Subsequently, a new district administration and a Ukrainian police unit were established in the town. Following a brief period of military control, Haysyn transitioned to German civil administration in the fall of 1941. The ensuing months were marked by the enforcement of anti-Jewish policies, including the establishment of a Judenrat, mandatory wearing of distinctive Star of David symbols, and the confiscation of valuables. Restrictions on movement were imposed, and Jews were coerced into various forms of forced labor.

During an Aktion that began on September 16, 1941, the majority of Haysyn’s Jews—between 1,409 and 2,500 men, women, elderly, and children, including 29 Jews transferred from Ladyzhyn—were murdered. This operation, executed by Police Battalion 304, saw victims rounded up in the market square before being marched in columns to the area outside the town, known as "Belendiyka". At this execution site, Jews were forced to undress and lie down in several pits dug in the ravine, where they were shot to death in groups. A similar Aktion occurred on September 17, 1941, at the same site. In the ensuing months, Jews in hiding were progressively captured and confined within the ghetto established in the town, before being executed in "Belendiyka" as well, such as a group of 150 women and children murdered in January 1942. Several Ukrainians, including those from nearby villages, were killed for harboring Jews in their homes.

In the summer of 1942, a labor camp was established in Haysyn, accommodating Jews from neighboring areas such as the village of Sobolivka and individuals from the Romanian-occupied Transnistria region. Jewish laborers were forced to work on the construction of a bridge over the Sob River as part of the DGIV highway, connecting Vinnytsia to Uman. Upon completion of the project, camp inmates were systematically murdered of the course of two major Aktions, purportedly carried out by the 7th Lithuanian Police Battalion, on October 14, 1942 (230 victims), and November 6, 1942 (1,000 victims).

Approximately 120-150 local Jewish craftsmen, initially spared during the September 1941 Aktion, were executed in the "Belendiyka" area on May 7-10, 1943, by the Security Police based in Haysyn, with the assistance of the local police force. Isolated shootings of Jews persisted until the end of the German occupation. Estimates suggest that up to 3,770 Jews were murdered in Haysyn during the Second World War.


Other links

Nearby villages

To support the work of Yahad-in Unum please consider making a donation

Do you have additional information regarding a village that you would like to share with Yahad ?

Please contact us at contact@yahadinunum.org
or by calling Yahad – In Unum at +33 (0) 1 53 20 13 17