1 Execution site(s)
Hanna S., born in 1932: « I remember the Germans requisitioned my aunt to cook for them. All they wanted to eat were large pieces of meat, they didn’t like small ones. Some of them were shooting the Jews, while others ate and drank. Those who had finished eating went to shoot the Jews, while others who were shooting, went to eat. They took turns. […]
Y.U.: Did the Germans ask to be served food near the pit?
W: The Germans didn’t ask. They took pigs and calves by force from the Jews and made Russians to cook them. They threatened them with a machine gun. They had made a fire and turned the houses upside down looking for pots. They brought vodka with them in the trucks.
Y.U.: Do you remember what Germans wanted to eat that day?
W: They would certainly have made it known in advance! The starosta and the police would give the order to slaughter an animal and cook it. There were twenty five Germans who arrived in three trucks. They sat down at the edge of the pit behind the truck. They had schnapps and other alcohol in their trucks. My aunt told me not to go too far from the house, as I could have been mistaken for a Jew. I was thin and had curly black hair.” (Witness n° 373, interviewed in Romanivka, on July 28th 2006)
« On September 14th 1941, the German punitive detachment headed by Kommandant Rimpel shot the Jews, including women, children and the elderly. 112 people were shot in Bereznehuvate, 865 in Nagartav, Bereznehuvate district, and 998 people in Romanivka. During the shooting, the men from the punitive detachment didn’t allow anyone to come close to the execution site, except for the police and requisitioned locals who had to to fill in the pit, but whose names I don’t remember. […] Once the Germans were forced back, on March 15th, I was summoned by the Commission investigating the crimes they committed during the occupation. It was established that in the district of Bereznehuvate, 2,015 Soviet citizens were shot, hang or killed, among them there were women, children and the elderly. Under the occupation, Sheineiman, Rimpel and Urban were Kommandanten. I dont know their given names. [Interrogation Prokofiy S., born in 1893, made on June 29th 1944 by the Soviet Extraordinary commission (ChGK) ; GARF 7021-68-177]
Romanivka is located about 95km northeast of Mykolaiv. For a long period, there were two villages - Big Romanivka and Little Romanivka - that were merged into one. The village was established as a Jewish agricultural colony in 19th century. In 1886, many Jews from the Kherson region moved to the town. According to the 1897 census, 1,283 Jews lived in the town, comprising 99% of the total population. However, during the waves of pogroms conducted in 1905 and 1919, the Jewish population slightly decreased as the Jews relocated to bigger towns. There were four synagogues and several Jewish schools. The majority of Jews made a living in agriculture or artisanal manufacturing.
The village was occupied by German army in mid-August 1941. According to the archives and local testimonies, the local Jewish population continued to live in their houses and work in the kolkhozes until the day they were exterminated on September 14th 1941, along with the Jews from Bereznehuvate and Ngartav. The three Aktions were conducted simultaneously in three different villages. According to local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Romanivka Jews were gathered at the synagogue first, under the pretext of a future relocation to Palenstine, and then, after only a couple of hours of imprisonment, they were taken to the execution site located at the Jewish cemetery, where two pits had been dug beforehand by the Jews themselves. They were shot in groups of 25 by drunken Germans. Before being shot, they had to strip naked and hand over all their valuables and gold. The shooters were members of Sonderkommando 12a of Einsatzgruppe D, the same unit which conducted the executions in Bereznehuvate and Ngartav. One of Yahad’s witnesses, Hanna S. (YIU/373U), mentioned that Germans forced local women to cook food for them that they ate while carrying out the shootings. The following day, all Jewish belongings, including furniture and pillows, were sold at market to the local population.
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