2 Execution site(s)
Mariia K., born in 1924, remembered: “We were gathering herbs with my friend in the forest. Suddenly, we saw local policemen digging the pits. They told us to go away because the Germans were going to bring the Jews to the shooting site. We left and hid in the bushes. We heard screams and shooting until late at night. But we didn’t see the execution. Later we went to the shooting site. The pits were big and square. I knew that there were a lot of children among the victims because I saw their clothes near the pits.” (Testimony n°1653, interviewed in Poninka on April 30th, 2013)
Poninka is located 130km north-east of Khmelnytskyi. The Jewish community was not very significant in this village. In 1897, only 206 Jews (20% of total population) lived here. By early 19th centruy the Jewish community represented only 18% of total population numbering 675 Jews. The part of them worked at the paper factory while the others lived off of small-scale trade or handcraft. There was a Yiddish school until the 1930s. The village of Poninka was occupied by the Wehrmacht army on July 5th, 1941.
Soon after the occupation of the village, the Jews were forced to wear armbands; their houses were also marked. The young men had to perform strenuous manual labor. The first execution was conducted in late August-early September 1941, against about 500 Jews. According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, one day all the Jews were ordered to come to the paper factory with their belongings. Their valuables were confiscated by the local police and the Jews were locked inside the factory. After having been detained for one week without any food, they were brought by truck to the nearby forest where they had to dig the pits and undress. Those who were not killed, the majority of whom were artisans and their families, were taken to the ghetto in Polonne mid-February, 1942. It is believed that, they were murdered in Poninka, along with the Polonne Jews on the 25th of June, 1942, during the liquidation of the Polonne ghetto.
For more information about the fate of the Polonne Jews please refer to the corresponding profile.
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