3 Execution site(s)
Yuriy V., born in 1927: “My father was a shoemaker. We had a collective workshop «Common work» where he worked before the war. Mainly craftsmen worked there. They made good shoes, boots, etc. Half of the Nagartav Jews worked there. My father spoke the Jewish language as well! They worked together for years.
Y.U.: Was Nagartav a big village?
Witness: It was a normal village. That side of the bridge is Nagartav and this side is Bereznehuvate. The river acted like a border. There was a village council, and a kolkhoz. There was a dairy plant on the territory. They had everything. And most of the village’s inhabitants were Jewish. The most important thing was that we went to the hospital that was in Nagartav. […] As far as I can remember, the famous surgeon Kartava worked there. People would come from all over to see him. There was also a Jewish physician called Reitsman. He was an excellent physician. He’s the only one I can remember. There was pediatrician as well called Borys Borysovych. The Germans put him in jail. He stuttered a bit. So he cut his wrists in prison and died. He did not want to be tortured.” (Witness n°2738U, interviewed in Bereznehuvate, on December 12th 2019)
« The Commission established that under the orders of the German authorities, the fascists cruelly exterminated the Jewish population, mainly in the localities of Nagartav, Bereznehuvate and Romanivka. The extermination of the Jewish population of the localities listed below was conducted in the following way: at night, from September 13th to September 14th 1941, all the Jews were gathered by force in the village of Bereznehuvate in the local club, under the pretext of a registration. They stayed there until the morning of September 14th under the surveillance of the Germans and the police. The tragedy - the mass execution of innocent civilians - started on September 14th 1941 at 7am. Under the orders of the occupational German administration, the Germans escorted the assembled population, including men, women, children and elder people, in groups of 20-30 people outskirts of the village towards a ravine with the police. There they were shot with automatic weapons.”[Act drawn up by Soviet Extraordinary commission (ChGK) on September 20th 1944; RG.22-002M: GARF 7021-68-177]
“In 1941, probably in October, I do not remember exactly the day, I was working as a supply manager at the kolkhoz in the Nagartav rural council in Bereznegovatoe County at the time of the German occupation of the area. On one Saturday evening, I was summoned by the former kolkhoz chairman, Anton Timokha, who is currently under arrest. He told me that I was being mobilized for a day to be on duty at the rural administration building in Nagartav village. […] Svyshch told me and others that a registration of the Jewish population was going to be carried out and that I was going had to summon the Jewish population for said registration. I and 5 others went to Jewish homes and announced that they had to come to the administration building with their papers for a registration. I and all the others summoned the Jews to the rural administration building, but when the Jews started to assemble, they were sent to the club building in Nagartav village instead, a former synagogue. The former police chief started to register all the Jews who showed up. All those who were registered were then lined up in rows of four and taken in a column to a ravine. A truck with armed German soldiers was parked near the club building. They took the Jews to a ravine and shot them with submachine guns. The ravine where the Jews were shot by the Germans soldiers was 1km away from the place where the Jews had been gathered. People who were ill or disabled, as well as children could not walk yet, were taken to the pit by cart and shot there too. A Jewish woman gave birth, but she was also loaded onto a cart and shot with her newborn. I do not know how many Jews were shot.” [Deposition of a former policeman, Dmitriy Ts. , born in 1914, given to the State Extraordinary State Commission on June 29th 1944; RG.22-002M: GARF 7021-68-177]
Bereznehuvate is located on the banks of the small river Klochanka, 85km northeast of Mykolaiv. Nagartav, which used to be a Jewish agricultural colony, no longer exists. It was merged into Bereznehuvate in 1954. Before the war, the two villages were separated by a river. Nagartav, which means "Good River" in Russian, was established in 1809 by Jews from the Vitebsk, Minsk, and Mogilev regions of Belarus. According to the 1897 census, 92% of the population was Jewish, with 1,571 Jews living in the colony. Bereznehuvate was mainly home to Russians and Ukrainians, even though there were Jewish families living there. The majority of Jews made a living in agriculture and artisanal manufacturing. They worked in several kolkhozes, one was named after Kirov, another was called the “Communist Youth Internationale", established in the 1920s or 1930s. The Jewish population of Nagartav suffered from different waves of pogroms conducted in 1895, 1905-1907 and 1919. As a Jewish colony, it received the financial aid from the American association JOINT. In 1925, the Russian-language school that had operated there since the mid-19th century became a Yiddish school. At the end of the 1930s, the school carried out classes in Ukrainian. On the eve of the war, about 1,748 Jews lived in the colony, comprising 90% of the total population.
The village was occupied by the German army on August 18th 1941. According to the local witness (YIU/2738U) interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were not evacuated, and only a few of them managed to escape before the German arrival. According to the archives, the local Jewish population was exterminated on September 14th 1941, in the ravine on the outskirts of the village of Bereznehuvate. Under the pretext of a registration, the Jews were told to present themselves in the evening of September 13th at the local club building, a former synagogue, where they were held overnight. The following morning, they were taken by truck to the ravine to be shot. According to a local eyewitness interviewed by Yahad, there were three different execution sites: one in the ravine, another one in the sillage pit, and the third one near the water dam close to the Klochnaka river. The executions took place at the same time. The Jews were shot in groups of 20-30 by five drunken Germans. They were probably members of Sonderkommando 12a of Einsatzgruppe D, assisted by local Ukrainian auxiliaries. In all, 112 Jews from Bereznehuvate and 856 from Jewish colony Nagartav were murdered that day. Some Jews who managed to escape the massacre were eventually caught by the Germans and local police, and also murdered.
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