Holovanivsk (Golovanivsk) | Kirovohrad

/ Maria N., born in 1930: “Many children, less than 50, were taken from the truck and thrown alive into one of the pits, followed by an elderly woman, who was the last to leave the truck. The Germans, who arrived with the same truck, started shooting." Maria N., born in 1930: “At the end of the execution, the pit was not filled in properly, and over time a bad smell began to spread. So local people had to cover it better.”©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The site of the catholic church where the Jews were assembled and held for three days prior to the execution conducted in late September 1941. The building of the church has not survived to this day. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The gendermerie post was located at this site. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the actual mass grave. Back then it was a forest. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The bones of the murdered Jews whose bodies were thrown in a cold storage after having been murdered. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A drone view of the execution site where between 700 and 900 Jews were murdered. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The names of 570 known Holocaust victims are inscribed on the monument. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The memorial complex in memory of 700-900 Jews murdered in Holovanivsk in late September, 1941. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Holovanivsk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 700 and 800

Witness interview

Maria N., born in 1930: “Several Jewish men remained alive after the shooting of the Jews and were locked up in a house. I saw them being taken to carry out forced labor by the German. It continued for five days in a row. They were guarded by Germans in front and behind. There were around thirty Jewish men. As they passed along Shevchenko Street, I would throw them potatoes. One of the workers was our acquaintance, Iankel. So, Iankel told my father that he was told by Germans that they were going to be baptized. But, one day, when my father went to work on the road construction, there were no more Jews. They had disappeared. They were probably shot, but I don’t know where exactly.” (Testimony n°2860U, interviewed in Holovanivsk, on November 20, 2020)

Soviet archives

"Around September 20, 1941, the German gendarmerie arrived in the town of Holovanesvk. A gendarmerie officer immediately called together the local policemen and ordered, through a translator, that the entire Jewish population be rounded up at a catholic church (kostiol) under the pretext of a meeting, to be shot later. As chief of police, I organized the round-up. Following my order, the policemen entered Jewish homes and brought the entire Jewish population - men, women, children, and the elderly - to the church. This gathering lasted three days, from September 23 to 25. In the kostiol, the policemen and I stripped the Jews naked and seized their valuables. Then the Germans loaded them onto trucks and shot them in the forest not far from the Polish cemetery. In all, between 700 and 800 Jews were rounded up in the kostiol and shot." [Source: A.Kruglov, A.Umansky, I.Shchupak, Holocaust in Ukraine, 2016, p. 349 : GARF 7021_69_78_p.4; GARF 7021_69_77_p.14; SBU delo 146]

Historical note

Holovanivsk is a former Jewish agricultural colony, located 70 km (43mi) southwest of Uman. The Jews settled there in the late 18th century. In 1897, 53% of the total population was Jewish. Their main occupation was agriculture. Some Jews had shops or live off handicraft. The community had two synagogues in 1889, a private male training school in 1909, and a Jewish savings and credit society in 1912. On December 18, 1917, Jewish residents suffered a pogrom. For a while a self-defense group was able defeat the threat, but by the end of it 200 Jews had been murdered.The pogroms caused a wave of internal emigration. According to statistical data, 43 families of Jewish refugees from Holovanivsk moved to Odesa in 1920. During the 1920s a Jewish school was opened. The artisans worked in the cooperatives. On the eve of the war, 1,393 Jews remained in Khaschuvate, making up 56% of the town’s total population. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Holovanivsk was occupied on July 30, 1941. The Jewish population of Holovanivsk was annihilated in two major murder operations: in late September 1941, when 570 people were shot at three execution sites located next to each other, and in February 1942, when another 165 Jews were shot. During the first Aktion, conducted on September 23-25, 1941,all the Jews were rounded-up from their homes and herded into a Catholic church, where they were kept for three days without food and water. The Jews were robbed of all their valuables while in the church. The day of the execution, the victims were forced into trucks and taken to the woods. Once on the site, the victims were unloaded from the trucks and forced to kneel facing the pit. Then they were shot to death with sub-machine guns in pits dug in advance. Some victims were taken to the Volovik ravine, located 1 km northwest, to be shot. During the same Aktion, some of the Jews who had been rounded up at the Pioneer club were shot by Gestapo-men in a deep well located about 1 km northwest of Holovanivsk. Some victims, according to some sources mostly young children, were thrown alive into the well. In February 1942 the second Aktion against the Jews was carried out. The shooting took place in the yard of the local Consumers’ Coop. Before the shooting, the victims were rounded up by police. The Jews were then taken by a police investigation officer to the yard, to a cold storage pit. They were shot shortly after, and their bodies were put into the freezer. The number of victims is estimated to have been 166, including 49 children. In 1958, the bodies of the victims murdered and thrown into the glacier were reburied in a park, where there is a monument today.

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