1 Execution site(s)
Olena M., born in 1925, remembers: “I saw the column of about 20 Jews being taken to the execution. It was in summer, but I am not sure if it was the same or the next year after the Germans arrived. It was probably the following year. There were women, men, elderly people and children amongst them. All were taken on foot. They walked calmly without carrying anything. I saw my teacher at the end of the column. She greeted me; she said we might not see each other again.” (Testimony n°2110, interviewed in Chernelytsia on June 17th, 2016)
“The investigation established that during the German occupation, about 3,000 people were shot in the forest, on the bank of the Dnistr River, near a summer camp for children. Before the shooting, the victims were subject to inhuman torture and systematic lootings. People condemned to death had to undress and lie down in the snow. They had to stay in this position for about two hours. Then they were brought to Semakivtsi for a night. The next day they were brought back to the forest and had to lie down in the snow again. The Jews were surrounded and guarded by the police officers and members of the SS. Each that attempt to lift their head was punished with kick in their butt. After that, these people were grouped in rows of 20 to 30 people and brought to the pit. Then, they were thrown into the pit and shot. Then, another group of people were shot. This massacre lasted for three days. The shooting took place in January 1942. [...]” [Report of the Extraordinary State Commission of the crimes committed by the German-fascist occupiers in Chernelytsia District, drawn up on May 17th, 1945; RG22.002M: 7021-73-20]
“Here is what I can say about the Aktion in Chernelytsia. I was called from Stanislav the day before the Aktion. I was informed that an Aktion was going to take place in the village mentioned above. I was not given any details on how it would be carried out. I took my car and drove immediately to Stanislav. A young Jew, who was in charge of the Jewish administrative affairs used to be my neighbor in Dusseldorf. I ran into him by accident while buying a carpet for the district administration [Kreishauptmannschaft]. He told me that his parents lived in Chernelytsia. I accompanied him to the edge of the town and I told him to warn his parents and the president of the Judenrat. Some people, not all, tried to hide in the surrounding forests. His parents had to walk to Horodenka, to the district’s administration, – in other words to see me.” [Testimony of the German employee at the civil administration of Horodenka, Johann H., born in 1898, taken in Dusseldorf on April 12th,1965; B162-2233]
Chernelytsia is located 70 km south-east of Ivano-Frankivsk. Between 1772 and 1918 it was part of Austrian Galicia. According to the census in 1900 the Jewish population amounted to 686 persons comprising 20% of the total population. From 1918 to 1939 Chernelytsia remained under Polish rule, as a part of Horodenka Powiat in the Stanisławów Voivodship. In 1939, this territory was annexed by theSoviet Union. In 1921, the Jewish population decreased to 525 people and represented only 17% of the total population. The majority of Jews were traders or craftsmen. According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, there was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in the village.
Chernelytsia was occupied by the German army in early July, 1941. According to the research findings, all the Jews continued to live in their houses until the Aktion that took place in the summer of 1941. The witness interviewed by Yahad, claims that the local Jews were shot directly in the streets and buried at the Jewish cemetery by the villagers. That day another execution of more than a hundred non-local Jews took place in Chernelytsya. With the help of the witness, Yahad’s team identified the mass graves, which were dug by Jews themselves. It is located in the vegetable garden, there is no monument. According to the historical sources there was also another execution of about 3,000 Jews from Chernelytsia and Horodenka that took place in January 1942, in the nearby village of Semakivtsi. According to the Yahad field work, the execution site is located on the bank of the Dnistr River close to the village of Mykhalche and not in Semakivtsi, as it mentioned in the archives. Before the shooting, the victims were tortured by the police officers and the SS.
For more information about the shootings in Mykhalche please refer to the corresponding profile.
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