1 Execution site(s)
Maria Zh., born in 1927: “In 1938, my father was shot by the NKVD in Kamianets-Podislkyi. At that time many Ukrainians were being shot by the Soviets. Sometime after that, they [the NKVD] came to pick me up at school. I was taken to the police station. They told me: “No need to take your books, they won’t be of any use to you.” When we got to the police station my mother was already waiting for me. We were ordered to leave the village within two hours. We didn’t have any money back then and couldn’t leave right away. So, my mother went to one of her Jewish friends, Golda, to borrow some money from her. She didn’t have much neither, but she went to her family and other Jewish neighbors and collected some money for us. Another Jew took us to the railway station in Dashkivtsi, where we took a train to Bila Tserkva. One year later, even though my mother’s official letter to Stalin was refused, we managed to come back home with the help of the same Jewish friend with whom my mom had kept the contact all that time. When we got back, our house had been destroyed, and Golda offered to let us stay at hers the time we find a new one. When the Germans occupied the village, my mother heard rumors that the all the Jews would be murdered. She offered to hide them, but Golda refused saying that there was not enough space for all her family.
They disappeared just before the main shooting. I never heard about them again, so I can’t even tell you whether they survived or not.” (Witness n°709, interviewed in Solobkivtsi, on August 25, 2008)
“In autumn [sic] 1942 I was sent to the town of Solobkovtsy for a shooting of Soviet civilians during which about 1,500 of them were shot to death. I personally was one of the guards who accompanied a column of 400 of them to the shooting site and I also guarded them during the shooting.” [Deposition given by Ivan K***, who was served in the Ukrainian auxiliary police in Dunayivtsi, to the State Extraordinary Commission on May 31, 1944; GARF 7021-64-798]
Solobkivtsi is located 43 km (27mi) south of Khmelnytskyi, today Proskuriv. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the 18th century. By 1897, 1,307 Jews lived in the town, making up 39% of the total population. The majority of Jews were merchants, owning their owns shop, or artisans. The community suffered from a wave of pogroms organized in 1917 and 1919 during which over a dozen Jews were murdered and their shops plundered. Under Soviet rule during the 1920s, a Jewish kolkhoz [collective farm] was established, which later was merged with Ukrainian kolkhozes, as few local Jews lived off agriculture. During the prewar Soviet period, Jewish artisans were forced to work in cooperatives and all private businesses were nationalized. Until the late 1930s, there was a four-year Yiddish school. On the eve of the war, in 1939, only 19% of the town’s total population was Jewish.
Solobkivtsi was occupied by the Germans on July 9, 1941. According to testimonies recorded by Yahad - In Unum, some Jews, including a certain Volko, were shot on the day of the occupation when they came out to greet the German soldiers. Shortly after the occupation, all the Jews were marked with yellow patches on their chests. According to some sources, a ghetto was created but none of the witnesses interviewed by Yahad mentioned this. It is possible that the Jews continued to live in their neighborhood and their circulation was restricted. The majority of the local Jews, circa. 1,500 individuals according to the Soviet archives, were shot on August 4, 1942. They were taken to the silo pits located in the fields outside the town and shot to death in groups of five or six. They were forced to undress beforehand. According to eyewitness testimonies, about 200 Jews who succeeded in hiding during this Aktion but were found shortly afterwards were held in the local recruitment office for a week. On August 14, they were shot to death, apparently in the basement of the building. According to the testimony of a survivor, during this operation about 30 young women were selected and sent to work at the Dunayivtsi train station. Most of them were later murdered.
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