2 Execution site(s)
Tetiana H., born in 1932 : ”The Jews brought here from Romania were locked up in the barrack. The barrack was surrounded with a fence and was guarded. They had nothing to eat or drink. The villagers used to bring them food that they exchanged for clothing or other things. Back then, we didn’t have much food either, but we brought them bread and some potatoes. Some Jews managed to leave the ghetto to go to the village and ask for food, although it was forbidden. Many artisans used to come and propose their services, for instance shoemakers. They would come to repair shoes at people’s houses, and then come back to the barrack for the night. Due to cold winters and lack of food, dozens died in the camp.” (Witness n°2644U, interviewed in Kuzmyntsi, on September 9, 2019)
Kuzmyntsi is a village in the Bar district located 75km (46mi) south east of Vinnytsia. According to the local witnesses, the majority of the population was Ukrainian. There were some Jews, but without an official record, it is impossible to know how many there were. The majority of them were either merchants or artisans. One of the oldest Jewish communities of Ukraine lived in the chief district town of Bar. The first written records go back to 1592. In 1847, the Jews comprised 56% of the total population, and in 1910 – 46%. On the eve of the war, 10,000 Jews lived in Bar, from whom roughly 4% managed to evacuate before the occupation.
Kuzmyntsi was occupied by the German and Romanian troops in the second half of July 1941. After a brief German occupation, the village remained under the Romanians and became part of Transnistria in September 1941, contrary to the nearby village and the town of Bar that remained under the Germans. In September 1941, a camp, or ghetto, was created in a barrack where a couple hundred Jews deported in the fall of 1941 from Bessarabia and Bukovina were confined . According to the local testimonies, the barracks were surrounded with barbed wire and guarded by four local policemen. Even though the Jews were forbidden to leave its territory, many of them discreetly went out to the village to ask for food or to propose their services of tailoring or shoe repairing. The Jewish inmates were subjected to systematic beatings and robbery not only from the local police and Romanians, but also from the Germans who would come from the nearby village. Due to lack of food and harsh winters, hundreds died in the camp. Their bodies were taken to be buried in a mass grave located 100m away from the barrack. From the accounts of the local villagers, Yahad found out that some isolated shootings took place during the existence of the camp. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to establish under which circumstances they were conducted, because none of the witnesses saw them personally. However, Yahad did identify another mass grave where the victims of the isolated shootings were buried. Today, both sites are not marked.
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