1 Execution site(s)
Valentyna V., born in 1933 : “Jews, Roma and Armenians were shot as soon as the Germans arrived. I heard rumors about the shooting, but I didn’t see it directly. They shot partisans, communists, women, children. The local police also ordered the hanging of partisans. They were usually young men who had stayed in the village because they were not old enough to be join the army. They almost had my mother shot because she had helped three partisans. These three men, disguised as Germans, spent the night in my house. My mother was spared by a policeman who took pity on her and her children. Many partisans and activists were shot on a hill in the forest, their bodies fell into a ravine.” (Witness n°YIU/2957U, interviewed in Kochetok, October 7, 2021)
Kochetok is a town located 37 km (23 miles) east of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine. Before the war, the city was populated by Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Armenians and Roma. The Jews worked in various professions, but mainly as merchants. Apart from the Roma, these different communities did not have separate neighborhoods. There was some social mixing, especially at school, where all the children studied together. There were also mixed marriages.
On June 22, 1941, the German army and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. Kochetok was captured in autumn 1941. It was recaptured during a Soviet counter-offensive, but was finally taken again by the German army in the spring of 1942. Shortly after the Germans captured the town, about 30 Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and Armenians were shot in a ravine below a hill in a forest bordering the town. During the occupation, several locals were recruited to serve in an auxiliary police force. They were in charge of the repression of the partisans in the region. For example, they hanged three young men suspected of Soviet activism from telegraph poles in the central square. Throughout the occupation, many partisans and activists were shot in another ravine located on the outskirts of the town, on the road towards Chuhuyiv.
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