Pyatkivka (Piatkivka) | Vinnytsia

Execution of Jews in Pyatkivka

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ravine (1); Silo pits (2); Trench near the field (3)
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
2,872

Witness interview

Teklia B., born in 1931, and Hanna K., born in 1934:
"Y. U. : Do you remember if Jews were brought here on foot or by cart?
Witness 2686U : She [witness 2685] lived in the village center, and I lived near the Jews. The Jews were brought here. They were miserable, dirty; it’s beyond words. I was still a little girl. I was born in 1934, and this happened in 1942, or rather 1943: they did not arrive in the first days of the war. They were forced into that pigsty. There were two or three policemen who had to guard them so they wouldn’t go out, so they wouldn’t ask for anything, so they would die there.
Witnesses : They took all their valuables, all the gold, all the teeth, and they slowly died there. They were thrown alive into a silo. All those who could not speak, or walk were thrown into that pit and covered with earth. People said that the earth have been moving for three days: there were living people there.” (Witness n°2685U and n°2686U, interviewed in Piatkivka, on October 28, 2019)

Soviet archives

"In the fall 1941, Romanian invaders brought 4,000 Jewish refugees from Bukovina and Bessarabia to Pyatkovka [today Pyatkivka]. There were elderly people, women, and children among them. Despite cold, rain and the fact that they had only light clothing, they were placed in the cold stables and pigsties with no heating, windows, or doors. They remained under close guard of Romanian gendarmes and local police. They were deprived of food, water and heating. The medical assistance was also refused, which contributed to the spread of the diseases. The ill people stayed close to others. People were dying in massive numbers . Their bodies were taken out of the premises and thrown in the ravines or ditches. They were piled up and buried without any respect for the body inhumation. In that way, in the village of Pyatkovka, 2,872 people died from starvation, cold, bad treatment and diseases. They were people of Jewish identity native from Bukovina and Bessarabia.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) in 1944; GARF 7021-54-1242]

Historical note

Pyatkivka is located on the banks of the Dohna river, 150km (93mi) southwest of Vinnytsia. According to the residents interviewed by Yahad, Pyatkivka was home to Ukrainians;      no Jews lived in the village before the war. There were six kolkhozes [collective farms] in the village. Agriculture was the main occupation.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Pyatkivka was occupied by German and Romanian forces at the end of July 1941. The village remained under the Romanians and became part of Transnistria in September 1941. According to the Soviet archives, in the fall 1941 about 4,000 Jews- men, women, and children among them- were brought from Bessarabia and Bukovina and placed in the premises that belonged to different collective farms. Yahad-In Unum managed to locate three confinement places. The buildings were not fenced in, although it was forbidden for the Jewish people to leave the territory. The ghettos were guarded by local police and Romanian gendarmes. The rich Jews, who managed to bribe Romanian gendarmes, were allowed to leave the ghettos’ territories to look for some food within the locals. During the existence of the ghetto, about 3,000 Jews starved to death or died of diseases. Their bodies were taken and piled up inside the natural ravines, silo pits or ditches located not far away from the place where they were confined. Today, all the mass graves remain unmarked.

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