4 Execution site(s)
Maria S., born in 1932: “Y. U. : Do you remember the name of the woman who sewed your clothes?
Witness: I’m talking about our local Jews. Of course, I remember their names, I played with their children. There was Ambinder Shulym and Sindlia, their son Smila and daughter Eti, the family of Goldman Iankel and Hanna, their son Kelman and daughter Toba. But they didn’t want to be called like that, they asked to call them Tania and Kolia. There was also the family of Borukh and Rotia. Their daughter was called Eti. So, there were three families here. There was also a poor old Jew, he worked in the beetroot field. At that time there were no anti-insect chemicals, so people dug ditches in beet fields and small holes in them, and insects fell there. This Jew walked there and watched for insects, and when they arrived, he ran to the village and informed everyone about it. Then all people ran to the field and picked bugs in bottles and thus saved the field of sugar beet. That was his job, it was called ‘signaler’. And other Jews didn’t work because they were too old.
Y. U. : What language did they speak ?
Witness: The same as we did. Originally, they were not far from here, they were from Beltsy [Balti], it is on the Dnister river. There were also Jews from Bukovina, but our Jews were from Beltsy [Balti], Bessarabia.
Y. U. : Did their children study at the same school with you? Witness: The local ones yes.” (Witness n2674U, interviewed in Torkanivka, on October 25, 2019)
Torkanivka is located 150km (93mi) southeast of Vinnytsia. According to the residents interviewed by Yahad, about a dozen of Jews lived in the village before the war. There were the Goldman, the Ambinder, the Kozman families, and Drubetsky Iankel. One elderly Jewish man worked in the kolkhoz. His wife was a tailor. Other Jews didn’t work because they were rather old, but they owned small shops and lived off small scale trade.
Torkanivka was occupied by German and Romanian forces at the end of July 1941. The village remained under control of the Romanians and became part of Transnistria in September 1941. Even though the village was not mentioned in the Soviet archives, with the help of the local residents, Yahad-In Unum found out that a group of Jews from Bukovina was brought here in the fall 1941. The deportees were placed in the buildings that belonged to two collective farms. : They were held in the stables that belonged to a collective farm ‘Chkalov’ and an ox-house. After having spent some time in the ox-house, the Jews were transferred to the pigsty that belonged to the collective farm ‘Krashche zhyttia’ (Better Life). The ghettos were not fenced in or guarded. The Jewish inmates stayed there without food or water, in unhuman living conditions. Many of them went to ask the locals for food in exchange for clothes or work. It was impossible to establish how many Jews were confined in the two ghettos in Torkanivka. Both witnesses interviewed by Yahad claimed that there were several hundred . Dozens of them died under the occupation due to diseases and hunger. They were buried in the mass graves located not far away from the confinement places. Besides the mass graves where the deported Jews from Bukovina were buried, Yahad-In Unum identified the execution place where two local elder Jews, Borukh and Iankel, were shot. They were shot by three Germans who left immediately after the execution by moto. Today, there is no marker at the place.
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