3 Execution site(s)
Vassyl, born in 1927: “These people were standing in the trenches and the Germans walked along the edge firing at their necks with rifles. They shot them at point-blank range. Once these people had been killed, approximately 6 men, selected from among the victims, began to fill in the grave. The Germans hit them with shovels and then shot them. They took another group of 6 people to bury the bodies. We watched it all. At the corner of the one-story building, they gathered the whole Jewish population of Kodyma. While the Germans killed these foreigners, they forced the local Jews to sing. They let them to go back home afterwards.” (Eyewitness n°2043, interviewed in Kodyma, on May 19, 2016)
“In January 1942, Romanian and German invaders rounded up 195 inhabitants of Kodyma in a bloody rage on a defenseless population. The 195 people were killed. It took place in the northeast suburbs of the town of Kodyma, near the Jewish cemetery. They were buried in a trench 20 meters long, 1 to 2 meters deep and 1.5 meters wide. Men, women and children were thrown into this trench.” [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on May 25, 1944; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 6, Delo 78]
Kodyma is a city of the region of Odessa, Ukraine. The first records of Jews in the city date back to the 18th century. Before the war, there was a large Jewish population in the town: 1,968 in 1939. They worked and lived in the town center, where there were shops and markets. The synagogue was destroyed and the Jewish school just nearby was closed. Without the synagogue, the Jews prayed in a Jewish shoemaker’s shop. There was also a Jewish cemetery. The relationship between this community and the others was very good. The Jewish inhabitants wore the same clothes as the Ukrainians. Germans occupied the city with Romanians at the beginning of September 1941.
The Germans arrived on motorbikes, followed by the Romanians. It was the latter who took over power in the town and Kodyma became part of the Transnistria administrative region. Under the Romanian authority, Jews were allowed to move around and were not forced to work. They were however forced to stitch the Star of David into their clothes. The first massacre took place on August 30, 1941, when 48 Jews were murdered. Before the shooting, the local inhabitants were gathered and separated. Russians and Ukrainians were released, but the Jews were taken to the clay pit. Local policemen and Romanians killed them without covering their bodies. There were Germans at the site, but they stayed back and gave orders. In September 1941, a column of 25 Jews arrived from Poland, according to a Yahad witness. Taken to a square in the town, they were massacred, thrown into a grave and buried. The undocumented execution site remains without any memorial. There is a parking lot on the site. The last massacre documented by the archives took place on January 12, 1942, when 195 Jews were murdered. Romanians and policemen shot them in groups of ten in a large pit. It took so much time that they decided to put them all in the grave and kill them together. As a result, some of the Jews were only wounded, and managed to survive. The grave was covered over in July. Nomadic Gypsies were also killed in Kodyma.
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