1 Execution site(s)
Serafima S., born in 1937, a Jewish survivor: “The sister of my father, Eva, has been denounced. One day the German came to our house and took her by her braid, wrapped it around his wrist and hit her head against the wall until she died.
While some locals denounced the Jews, others tried to save them. My mother-in-law, a Ukrainian woman, saved a Jewish baby. She put him into the bucket and put him down into the well, which she then locked up. When the Germans arrived, they asked her to open the well but she said she lost the key. So, she saved the baby who was hidden inside. Since my father worked in the administration, our family managed to evacuate before the arrival of the Germans. My father was enrolled in the army while my mother, my two sisters, and I went to Kherson. There, we were caught and confined, along with many other Jews, into a barn near the former police station. Many people were gathered in that barn, some of them died there and rats ate their corpses. Sometimes some people received food, but our family had nothing to eat only leftovers which we stolen from mice. To save us, my mother gave a golden necklace to a German who was working in the nearby stables. In return, the German secretly opened the door letting us go out. We returned to my aunt’s house and hid in its basement. We stayed there until the winter 1944.” (Testimony n°2196 interviewed in Kalynivske on May 16th, 2017)
“The commission investigated the scene of the crimes committed by the German fascist invaders. The commission determined that 996 people were shot in an anti-tank trench 60 meters away from the Kalynivske vineyards. 25 men and 17 women were tortured to death and shot in a well 2 kilometers from Kalynivske.” [Act drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission on October 18th, 1944; RG 22.002M:7021-77-413]
Kalynivske is located 70 km north-east of Kherson. The settlement was founded in 1807 as one of the first Jewish agricultural colonies in the Kherson Region following the policy of Alexander I and Nicholas I to bring the Jews to cultivate the deserted land. Back then it was called Sedemynukha and in August 1927 it was changed for Kalinindorf. The first Jewish arrived from Mogilev, Vitebsk and Chernigov Regions. According to the census, by 1810 713 Jews lived in the colony. Almost all of them were engaged in agriculture, a few were artisans. In 1840-1841, a group of Jews from the Vitebsk Region settled in the outskirts of the colony, and as a result the colony was divided into two: Bolshaya Sedemynukha and Malaya Sedemynukha. In 1850, 18 German families settled down there to colonize Kalynivske. In 1916, there were 3 synagogues and several cheders in the colony. In 1917, the branches of the Zionist organizations “Tsiarei Zion” and “Рe-Halutz” began to operate in Kalynivske. During the Civil War the colony was subjected to several pogroms and lootings. After the Civil War, the population suffered from famine and epidemics. In 1923-24 Kalynivske was restored with the help of the Jewish Colonization Association and Joint and due to the New Economic Policy, so called NEP, a policy introduced by the Soviets. By 1926, there were 2,400 Jews making up 90% of the total population. In 1932, 25 Jewish schools functioned in the district; there was partial employment of Yiddish in administrations, two newspapers in Yiddish and Ukrainian, and a theater. From 1928 to 1932, an electric station, a printing house, and a hospital were built in the town. With the help of Agrojoint - one of the first in the USSR – a machine and tractor station were created, a poultry farm was established, and weaving was developing in Kalynivske. Towards the end of the 1920s, the synagogue was closed, and the German colonists moved to separated settlement. In 1930, kolkhoz “Der veg zum socialism” was established. The collectivization followed by dekulakization resulted in massive exodus of Jewish peasants heading for the bigger cities. In 1932-33, the Grand Famine caused by collectivization took place in Kalynivske. As a result, by 1939 the Jewish population had decreased to 1,879 people comprising only 60% of the total population.
Kalynivske was occupied by the Germans on August 27th, 1941. The mass execution of Jews started right after that. On September 17th, 1941, 996 Jews were murdered. According to a local eyewitness, the Jews were rounded-up at the local kolkhoz’ barn under the pretext of being taken to Israel to work. There, they had to leave their valuables and undress. After, they were shot in an anti-tank trench. According to the archives, there was another execution of 25 men and 17 women who were tortured and after shot in the well 2 km from Kalynivske, but, unfortunately, Yahad team could not find any local witnesses to confirm this information.
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