1 Execution site(s)
Stepan K., born in 1924.: “Y.U.: Did leave immediately after shooting, or did they fill the pit in?
Witness: The Germans covered the pit with earth.
Y.U.: Did you see them covering the pit?
Witness: We went a bit closer, but they had already covered the pit and left. We saw the ground moving.
Y.U.: So they covered the pit and left the Jewish clothes here, right? - Yes.
Y.U.: Were there any clothes the next day when you grazed your sheep here again? - There were, but not many. (…)
Y.U.: How many boys were with you watching? - There were four of us.
Y.U.: Did any Jews try to run away when they began to scream, or did all of them continue to move forward in the column?- No, they just screamed.” (Witness n°2620U, interviewed in Katerynivka, on July 12, 2019)
"On this day the commission proceeded to the examination of the crime scenes committed by the Germano-fascist invaders. It was established that 1000m southeast of Katerburg, Velikiye Dederkaly district, there was a pit. Following the opening of the pit, the commission discovered 307 bodies of men and women arranged in a disorderly position. All the bodies were undressed and had a gunshot wound to the back of the neck. The type of weapon was not established. Among the adult bodies, there was one body of a 10-year-old child. The commission established that the death of some people was caused by asphyxiation due to being buried alive. Since the above-mentioned bodies were decomposed, it was impossible to identify them.
With the help of the following testimonies: (…), residents of Katerburg, it was established that on August 10, 1942, a Gestapo detachment arrived from Kremenets, Ternopil region. The execution of civilian Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality took place during the day; it was carried out by German soldiers.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, on October 19, 1944; GARF 7021-75-2]
Katerynivka, known as Katerburg until 1944, is a village located 62 km northeast of Ternopil. There is very little information about the Jewish community that lived there. The first Jews apparently settled in Katerburg in the late 18th century. According to the 1897 census, the majority of the population was Jewish. The Jews lived off trade. They owned small shops where the villagers could all sorts of goods. In 1939 the village fell under the Soviet occupation for less than two years. Under Soviet rule, all private business were nationalized.
Katerynivka was occupied by the Germans in July 1941. The Jews continued to live in their houses for about a year or so. They were registered and marked with yellow patches. Prior to the Aktion that was conducted in August 1942, all the Jews from Katerynivka, as well as nearby villages, were confined in a ghetto. There is no exact information on when the ghetto was created, but according to the accounts of the local witnesses, the Jews were subjected to perform forced labour in the fields during their time in the ghetto. It is possible that the ghetto only existed for the summer. On August 10, 1942, a special Gestapo unit arrived from Kremenets to conduct the murder operation. That day, over 300 Jews were rounded up and taken in the direction of the animal cemetery where a pit had been dug by the Jews themselves. Once at the site, the Jews were forced to strip naked before being shot in groups of seven or eight on the edge of the pit.
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