1 Execution site(s)
Oleksandra S., born in 1926: “There were Jews and Ukrainians who lived in the village. There were more Ukrainians than Jews. The Jews lived in the center while the Ukrainians lived in the outskirts.”
YIU: Do you remember any Jews who lived in the village?
W: The head of the Rural council was Jewish; but I don’t remember his name. I remember his wife was Eva, daughter of Naum. My teacher at school was Jewish. Her name was Rosa, daughter of Zakhar. Ukrainian and Jewish children went to school together, although there was a Jewish school located in the park.
YIU: Did you have any Jewish classmates?
W: Yes, I did. I remember Kolia. We shared the desk with him. There were many Jews. The majority of them were merchants. If we needed something we would go to buy at their shops. If we needed a dress or pants, we would go to the Jewish artisans to have it done. That’s how our life was. During the holidays and Saturdays, I would go to light a candle to Menia, a Jewish woman. She was a tailor. As a thank you she would give me some candies.” (Witness n°2793U, interviewed in Kuniv, on September 19, 2020)
“On August 4, 1941 a motorcycle scouting platoon and a motorcycle riflemen platoon of the 10th SS infantry regiment carried out a cleansing operation in Kuniow [Kuniv today] and Radohoszcz [today Malyi Radohozh]. The Jews had been assisting the bands especially in these localities. The operation took place without any special incidents. The operation began on August 4, 1941, at 04:45 a.m. and ended at 20:00 p.m.” [Activity Report of the Chief of Staff of the 1st SS Brigade for the period between August 3 and August 6, 1941: Unsere Ehre heisst Treue : Kriegstagebuch d. Kommandostabes Reichsführer SS ; Tätigkeitsberichte d. 1. u. 2. SS-Inf.-Brigade, d. 1. SS-Kav.-Brigade u. von Sonderkommandos d. SS (Vienna 1965) p. 108.]
Kuniv is located 120km (75mi) northwest of Khmelnytskyi. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the 18th century. By 1897, the Jewish community grew and represented 1,661 members comprising 57% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small-scale trade and handcraft. Many Jews were artisans, such as tailors, shoemakers, and carpenters . The Jewish community had several synagogues, but they were closed in the 1930s. A three-year Yiddish elementary school operated in the town, but many Jewish children went to the Ukrainian school. In 1926 the number of Jews living in the village decreased due to relocation of Jews to the bigger towns. On the eve of the war only 47% of the total population was Jewish.
Kuniv was occupied by Germans on July 3, 1941. Shortly after the occupation, all the Jews were marked with distinctive yellow badges. The local Jewish community was annihilated one month later, on August 4, 1941. On this day, 159 Jews, men, women, and children included, were gathered at the center of the village by the policemen and brought to the Jewish cemetery to be shot. Among the local Jews, there were also the Jews brought from the nearby villages, such as Malyi Radohozh. Upon their arrival the victims were forced to strip naked, taken in groups to the edge of the pit, and then shot to death with machine-guns by a 10th SS Infantry Regiment motorcycle murder squad. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad, several dozen artisans, about 40 according to YIU’s witness n°2792U, were selected and taken first to dig the pit for the future execution, and then they were taken to Pluzhne where they worked in the workshops. The artisans were eventually killed in June 1942, along with the local Jews.
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