1 Execution site(s)
Oleksiy, born in 1922, remembered the day he saw the shooting: "The shooting of the Jews took place very quickly. They lined them up and a German shot at them with a sub-machine gun. There were about 30-50 people in one group, but I can’t tell you exactly because I didn’t stay long. The men, the women, the children, all fell into the grave.
YIU: Were they shot dressed?
W: They were shot dressed, in the clothes they had. They stood close to one another.
YIU: Was there one or several shooters?
W: As far as I remember, there was only one shooter who fired with a submachine gun. The Jews were lined up, facing the shooter.
YIU: How did you happen to be at the execution site?
W: Honestly, I don’t remember. I must have been going somewhere. But once I saw what was happening, I rushed back home.” (Eyewitness n°1928, interviwed in Myrhorod, on October 19, 2015)
“My husband, Smorodinski Genadii, was arrested for being Jewish in November 1941. A mass shooting of Jews was carried out that day. […] It was in November 1941. Around 2-3 pm, Germans accompanied by a policeman M. came to our house. M. told us to get dressed and to follow them because we were under arrest. Afterwards, he addressed the German saying: “These are the Jews I told you about.” We went out of the house and the German told us to follow him to the town center. We passed by Sorochinskaya Street. When we were in front of the house of a Jewish woman, whose name was Kotliarevska, we met a group of local policemen and Germans. There was also a translator who asked for our papers. Once he checked the documents, the translator let me free, because I was Ukrainian and my husband was taken to the town center. […] When I got to the market square, I saw many Jews waiting there, among whom I found my husband. The Jews were guarded by Germans and policemen. At about 4 pm, all the Jews were taken down Gogol Street, outside of town, where they were shot. The policeman M. was armed with a rifle.” [Deposition of Ekaterina S., a wife of a murdered Jew, made on January 26, 1946; SBU archives: 31.016, Delo n°6597, p.78]
Myrhorod is located about 90km northwest of Poltava. The first Jewish community settled in the town in the 18th century. In 1923, there were 25,000 inhabitants, 5,000 of whom were Jewish. During the course of the town’s history, the Jewish population decreased several times due to the pogroms in 1918-1919 and poverty. A Jewish vocational school was established in 1918. There was a synagogue, which doesn’t exist anymore and a cemetery. The cemetery is partially abandoned today. The Jews in Myrhorod were mostly artisans or worked in commerce. The town was occupied in early September 1941.
From late September to early October, upon the orders transmitted though the posters all over town, all of the Jews were forced to register and to wear armbands bearing the Star of David. At the end of October, all of the Jews were ordered to present themselves at the market place, taking with them only valuables and food provisions for a couple of days. Those who didn’t come were arrested according to the lists and taken by force to the market place, in an enclosure built for that purpose. Once all the Jews were assembled, they were marched outside of the town, in the direction of the village of Popivka, towards the anti-tank ditch, where they were shot. The executions were carried out by Wehrmacht soldiers, accompanied by local police in charge of assembling and escorting the Jews to the site. According to the eyewitness of the execution, the Jewish men were shot first, then women and children. In the 1970s, the mass grave was opened and the remains were reburied 400m away, on the other side of the road. In addition to the Jews, the prisoners of war were also murdered at the same site.
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