1 Execution site(s)
Vasyl M., born in 1932: “The Jews were shot in the field on the other side of the river. I didn’t see the actual shooting, but I heard isolated gunshots, and then I saw several people running in the direction of Verbivets. I supposed that they had managed to escape from the execution site somehow. I know that they were shot in the anti-tank ditches dug by Soviet women before the war. They were supposed to stop German tanks, but they didn’t. So the Germans used them to kill the Jews.» (Witness n°2706U, interviewed in Shestakove, on November 4, 2019)
Shestakove is located 115km southwest of Cherkasy. There is not much information about the pre-war Jewish community who lived in this village. According to two local villagers interviewed by Yahad, there were only two families, the family of Moshko (no last name available), and family of Mark Sosnov. Moshko, who was married and had two children Betia and Ita, was a blacksmith. Mark Sosnov was the head of the village before the war. A big Jewish community lived in the nearby shtetl of Katerynopil, located 8km north of Shestakove. The first record of the Katerynopil Jews goes back to the end of the 18th century. In 1797, 1,360 Jews lived in Katerynopil. By 1897 the Jewish community represented 28% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and manufacture. In 1865, the village had two synagogues and a cemetery. Under the Soviet regime, in the 1930s, the synagogues were closed, and all private business were banned. As a result many Jews started to leave the shtetl and move to bigger towns. On the eve of the war, only 395 Jews remained in the Katerynopil.
Shestakove was occupied by the German forces in late July 1941. Before their arrival, the village’s chief Mark Sosnov was evacuated, and Moshko was drafted into the Army together with his son. According to the witness interviewed by Yahad, they survived the war, while Moshko’s wife and daughter, Ita, were murdered during the occupation. According to the locals, a group of Jews was brought to the village and confined in a house that remained empty after the death of its owner. There were about a hundred people. From the testimonies, we believe that they were Jews from Katerynopil who were taken there for the forced labor. Until now, we knew about the existence of the forced labor camp in the nearby village of Brodetkse, but field research revealed that there was another one in Shostakove, located 7km north west of Brodetske. The camp in Shestakove was ostensibly created at the same time as the one in Brodetske, in May 1942. The detainees of the camp, men and women of different ages, even teenagers, were used for road construction. They were guarded by the local police during the forced labor. The detainees of this camp met the same fate as other forced laborers, they were all murdered. Unfortunately, Yahad - In Unum did not manage to establish more details about the time of the murder. According to one witness, the execution was conducted in March, because she remembered it was a religious holiday, but she did not remember the year. On the day of the execution, the Jews were taken outside the village, to the other side of the river, and shot in the anti-tank trench. As none of the witnesses interviewed were eyewitnesses, we do not know if the bodies were buried on site or were taken to be buried elsewhere. Today, there is no memorial at the site.
For more information about the Brodetske camp please refer to the corresponding profile
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