1 Execution site(s)
Halyna C., born in 1932: "On November 16, 1941, two Germans and two policemen who lived here before the war took my father away. However, my family had been warned in advance by our neighbor. Roman, a local policeman, had told her about the preparation of this execution. Worried that death was approaching, my father gave his watch to my sister and hugged her, crying. He and 15 other civilians were taken away and shot. I wanted to go with my brother but our neighbors dissuaded us. In 1943, when the Soviets took over the village, the bodies were exhumed and reburied." (Witness n°2984U, interviewed in Sakhnovshchyna on October 20, 2021)
Sakhnovshchyna is a town located 95 km (60 miles) south of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine. Before the war, the town was mostly populated by Ukrainians. There were also Jews and some Germans. The Jews did not work in the kolkhoz but rather in the shops in the town center. They were very religious and had a synagogue on the site of the current post office building. At the same time, Jewish and Ukrainian children studied in the same school. Mixed marriages were common and relations between the different communities were peaceful.
On June 22, 1941, the German army and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. The majority of the Jews of Sakhnovshchyna were evacuated at the beginning of the war. The town was captured in early November 1941. As soon as the occupation began, a local auxiliary police was formed. That same month, two Jewish families who had not been able to flee before the arrival of the Germans were taken to the central park of the city and shot in a mass grave. Then on November 16, more than 15 civilians were executed in the same way in another unknown location. In the winter of 1942, partisans were also taken to the central park and shot. Others were hanged in the street and their bodies left in public as a warning. The town was taken and retaken by both sides several times during the war, but was, finally liberated by the Red Army in September 1943.
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