2 Execution site(s)
Anatoliy I., born in 1930, remembers the day he saw the shooting : « I think it was summer, the same year the Germans set assumed power here. Beforehand, all the Jews wee asked to gather close to the building, it may have been the synagogue, but I don’t remember anymore, under the pretext of a meeting. And then, from that place, they were taken in groups across the river to the animal graves, where they were killed. My friends were curious to see where the Jews were taken so we followed the column. We were afraid to get closer so I didn’t see the shooting very well. The only thing that I saw was a group of about 30 Jews waiting to the side while a few people lined up at the edge of the pit and someone fired at them with a submachine gun. There were several shooters near the pit, but I can’t tell you exactly if they all fired or only one of them. That day, I saw three groups being brought there and shot in this manner. »(Eyewitness n°1741, interviewed in Korostyshiv, on June 7, 2013)
“I was 17 years old when I was enrolled in the Gendarmeria in 1942 and I stayed for six months in Korostyshiv in the police force. But I had nothing to do with the detained people. In the beginning of 1943, I joined the partisans close to Chernikov. At the time, when I was not yet a soldier, I heard that some Jews were shot in Korostychiv. I saw important groups of Jews being taken to a plantation next to the river. I heard several hundred rifle shots. I didn’t see these executions but I saw small children; some of them were in their mothers’ arms, being taken to the shooting. There was a small ghetto that numbered about 400 Jews in the town. ” [Deposition of former member of Gendarmeria, Alexander K. during the trial, given in June 1971 ; BArch 162-7235]
Korostyshev is located on the banks of the Teterov River, 45km east-northeast of Zhytomyr. On the eve of the war, 19% of the total population was Jewish. There was a brick synagogue and Jewish cemetery that are still there today. There were a few small industries, like flour mills, tanneries, and a tobacco factory. The majority of Jews worked in small business or were craftsmen. The town was occupied by Germans in the middle of July 1941. By that time, about 30% of the Jews had evacuated.
Shortly after the occupation of Korostyshiv, the first execution was conducted by Sonderkommando 4a who killed 40 Jews accused of sabotage and espionage. After the fist aktion, an open ghetto was established and all of the Jews were forced to wear armbands. All contact with the local population was prohibited. According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, before being exterminated, the Jews were subjected to humiliation. For instance, they were forced to eat grass as if they were cattle. In addition to humiliations, the men fit to work had to perform forced labor. The ghetto was liquidated in September 1941. From field research, Yahad found that many Jews were shot dead in their own houses. During the existence of the ghetto, there were few isolated shootings of Jewish men native to Korostyshiv and nearby villages. According to Soviet and German archives, there was another mass shooting of about 1000 Jews, which most likely took place in May 1942. This execution was carried out by the Security Police and the Gendarmeria. The local police were in charge of rounding up and escorting the column towards the execution sites.
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