1 Execution site(s)
Hanna B., born in 1924: “Many Jews were confined in the military base, in the half-destroyed barracks. They spoke Ukrainian. The Jews organized a market in the village where the locals would go to buy various goods, clothes, shoes, fruit and so on. They would go to the locals to ask for food. Among the inmates were tailors who offered their services to the locals. A Hungarian Jewish woman who was confined in the barracks came to ask my grandfather for food. He offered to let her stay with him, which she did. She emigrated to Israel after the war. The bodies of Jews who died during this period were buried in a clay quarry in the village. The Jews remained in the barracks for at least one winter and one spring. Then, on liberation, they were sent back home.” (Witness n°2812U, interviewed in Skazyntsi, on October 14, 2020)
"Upon arrival of German and Romanian troops to Skazyntsi, Mohyliv-Podilsky directly, on July 20, 1941, about 1p.m. […] two people were murdered during bombings. […] On the territory of Skazyntsi a Jewish camp was located where 25,000 people were detained. The execution took place, three partisans were shot." [Act drawn up on April 5, 1944, by the State Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK); 7021-54-1271, pp.92-9/USHMM Copy]
Skazyntsi is located 100 km (62mi) southwest of Vinnytsia, and 14 km (9mi) northeast of Mohyliv-Podilsky. The village of Skazyntsi was home to Ukrainians, Moldavans and some Jews, who were native to Mohyliv-Podilsky, but lived in Skazyntsi because they owned shops there. Most Jews lived in Mohyliv-Podilsky. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 17th century. The community suffered immensely from pogroms and attacks at different times. In 1648, the town’s Jewish population was mostly wiped out, then again during the 1760s and 1770s from the Haidamaks. Despite damage and killings inflicted to the community, it was reestablished and continued to prosper. By 1897, more than a half of the town’s population was Jewish, numbering over 12,000. The majority lived off small scale trade and handicraft. The community had dozens of synagogues and prayer houses, as well as Yiddish schools for boys and girls separately, the Talmud Torah and other institutions. Under Soviet Rule, a collective farm was created in Skazyntsi. Some Jews worked there alongside Ukrainians. There is no information about how many Jews remained in Skazynsti on the eve of the war. However, we know that according to estimations, circa. 8,703 Jews remained in Mohyliv – Podilsky, making up 40% of the total population.
Skazyntsi was occupied by German and Romanian troops on July 19, 1941. Shortly after the occupation, any Jews who had not evacuated and remained in Mohyliv-Podilsky were marked with yellow Stars of David. Mohyliv-Podilsky became a transit camp for Jews being deported from Bessarabia and Bukovina to Transnistria. From September 1941 to February 1942, more than 55,000 deportees came through the town. At the end of May 1942, a camp was created in Skazyntsi. About 3,000 Jews from Mohyliv-Podilsky, as well as from surrounding villages such as Iaruha, Ozaryntsi, Vendychany, and Krasne remained in the ghetto. They were placed in partially destroyed military barracks surrounded with barbed wire. The inmates were forbidden from leaving the camp’s area, although many of them continued to go out at their own risk in order to look for food or work, such was the case of local artisans. Many Jews died due to lack of food and inhumane living conditions. According to the testimonies of Jewish survivors, Jewish women were subjected to systematic rape and bad treatment. Groups of Jews were often rounded up and sent for forced labor in the different localities in the area. The camp existed until around December 1943. Yahad field research revealed that in autumn 1941, several convoys of Jews from the direction of Mohyliv-Podilsky were taken through Skazyntsi. According to both witnesses, during the various passages of the columns, the shooting of the Jews took place in a ravine on the outskirts of the town. According to witness no. 2812, the shooting was perpetrated by the Germans, while according to witness no. 2813, by the Romanians. It is possible that these were different shootings. We believe that Jews who died in the camp and the Jews from the convoys who were shot as they passed through the town were buried in the same place. Today, there is a memorial at this site in memory of all the Jews from Mohyliv-Podilsky, Bukovina and Bessarabia, murdered by hunger, disease and cold between 1941 and 1943.
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