Melnytsia Podilska (Melnitsa-Podolskaya, Mielnica) | Ternopil

/ Mykhailo M., born in 1929: “When the Jews handed over all their gold and valuables, they were gathered at the central square. The order was given by their chiefs from Judenrat.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Iaroslava K., born in 1932: “Many Jews were killed on the spot. They were killed by Germans. Anyone who was able to walk was marched towards the cemetery.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Iaroslava K., born in 1932: “The pit was over there. It was about 8m long. The Jews were lined up on its edge and shot with a machine gun.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with Iaroslava K. at the execution site at the Jewish cemetery.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with Iaroslava K. at the execution site at the Jewish cemetery.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Olha H., born in 1927 saw the Jews being gathered and deported from Melnytsia-Podilska. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykhailo H., born in 1927, saw the Jews being killed with axes, the gathering and looting of Jewish property by Hungarian soldiers and Moldovan villagers. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykhailo H., born in 1927: “The Jews were easily recognizable because they were all marked with yellow stars.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The bus station. This building was previously a synagogue. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Several dozen Jews were executed at the cemetery. The bodies of victims killed on the spot were buried in the mass graves there.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The remaining tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Melnytsia-Podilska. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The remaining tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Melnytsia-Podilska. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The remaining tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Melnytsia-Podilska. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The mass grave where the Jews murdered in August 1942 were buried is located at the Jewish cemetery. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Melnytsia Podilska

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 120

Witness interview

Iaroslava K., born in 1932: “On my way home from school I saw Jews being dragged from their homes. There were two bodies, one of them was an elderly Jew, my neighbor. He was unable to walk because of his advanced age, and they killed him on the spot. Many Jews were killed on the spot. They were killed by Germans. Those who were able to walk were marched towards the cemetery. They were escorted by local policemen. Once there, the Jews were forced to dig a pit, before being lined up on the edge and shot with a machine gun. I saw the shooting from afar, hiding in the forest. I heard only one machine gun burst and saw all the Jews falling into the pit.” (Witness n°2384U, interviewed in Melnytsia-Podilska, on March 28, 2018)

Soviet archives

"During the occupation of the town of Melnitsa-Podolskaya [sic Melnytsia-Podilska] by German bandits, 114 citizens of the Jewish population were executed. Some of them were shot, while others were tortured by hanging them with barbed wire at [illegible] and dragging them to the cemetery. This is how citizen Guintel Martynovna Tsykerman and her 6-year-old daughter were tortured. They were tied together with barbed wire, martyred, and thrown into the pit. Blima Zelinikova Dolner’s newborn baby was beaten against a wall, another citizen was chopped up with an axe, another with a knife. Then, in a field next to the Jewish cemetery, other victims were killed with hammers, daggers, and bayonets. All this happened in apartments, on the street and in the cemetery. I was the one who had to dig the pits and bury the bodies. The people responsible for these crimes were: German Gestapo Commandant K., German Police Chief P., Ukrainian Police Chief Ivan K. […]" [Deposition of a Jewish survivor Barukh Goldin, born in the 1900s, given to the State Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK); 7021-75-?/ USHMM : RG 22.002M, Reel 17]

German archives

“Mielnice [sic Melnytsia-Podilska] was a small town of around 3,500 inhabitants, including 1,200-1,300 Jews. When I arrived, the Jews were still living in their apartments and were more or less bookish. You could tell them apart by the star they wore, and their houses were also marked. In the summer of 1942 - it was July or August - Mielnica was rendered Judenfrei by Czortkow’s [sic Chortkiv] Sipo [Security Police] men and the Ukrainian militia. I witnessed this Aktion in part. One afternoon, a man of the Czortkow Sipo came into my office. I don’t even know if he was there, but I can’t remember his name. He asked me for reinforcements for a Judenaktion planned for Mielnica. I was to put 50 of our men at his disposal for the lockdown. I refused. I argued that the Reich Ministry of Finance regulations forbade us from taking part in a Judenaktion. He retorted that I should still make these people available to him, which I persisted in refusing to do. In the end, I agreed with him, and he insisted that I should keep all this a secret.
The Sipo man told me that the Aktion was planned for the following night, at 3am. The Ukrainian Hilfspolizei surrounded the town during the night. Around eight or ten men of the Czortkow Sipo arrived in the early hours of the next morning; they chased the Jews from their homes throughout the morning and herded them onto the large market square in Mielnica. Shots could be heard here and there. Sick and disabled Jews were shot on the spot. The entire Jewish population of Mielnica, with the exception of five people from the Judenrat, then formed a long column and were led in the direction of Iwane-Puste. [sic Ivane-Puste]. A selection was made among the Jews there. Those who could work were chosen. I later learned that the Jews were divided into groups and parked in gated wagons, before being deported. I never knew their destination. Isolated gunfire could be heard from a distance on the way to Iwane-Puste. The five Judenrat men gathered the dead bodies. The corpses were displayed in the synagogue. I heard there were between 9 and 13 dead.” [Deposition of Albert Sch., born in 1906 in Zöschingen, given in Heidenheim on April 9, 1965. From November 1, 1941 to the spring of 1943 Albert Sch. was a member of the border protection commissariat [Zollgrenzschutzkommissariat]: BArch B162-5165]

Historical note

Melnytsia-Podilska is located 120 km (72mi) southeast of Ternopil. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 17th century. The town was then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Little is known about the Jews living in Melnytsia Podilska. The majority of them lived off small scale trade and handicraft. The community had a synagogue, a cemetery, and a Yiddish school opened, during the 1920s.  According to estimates, circa. 40% of the town’s Jewish community remained in Melnytsia on the eve of the war. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Melnytsia-Podilska was occupied by Hungarian troops on July 7, 1941. In September 1941, the administration was taken over by the Germans. The Jewish council and police were created. All the Jews were marked with the Star of David, as well as their houses. There was no ghetto created in the village. All the Jews continued to live in their homes, which were mainly concentrated around the center. In July or August 1942, the entire Jewish population was rounded up and gathered at the central square. Anyone who attempted to escape, or was too sick or old to walk, was killed on the spot, sometimes not even shot, but killed with agricultural tools.  Their corpses were later taken to be buried at the Jewish cemetery. The remaining Jews, after a selection, were taken to Borschiv. In late fall 1943, the remaining Jews who were authorized to stay in the village, or managed to hide, were gathered, and taken to Borschiv. Several dozen Jews were found in hidden after that, rounded up and taken to be executed at the Jewish cemetery. The anti-Jewish operations were carried out by the Security Police from Chortkiv, German border guards and Ukrainian auxiliary police.

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