1 Execution site(s)
Maria P., born in 1927, remembers: “I saw a column of Jews being taken somewhere. There were a lot of children amongst them. Later, my parents told me they all were killed in the well.” (Testimony n°286 interviewed in Chkalove on January 14th, 2006)
“In September 1941, 73 men, women and children of Jewish origin, which had been evacuated from Bessarabia, were rounded up on the land of Fraileben selsoviet [Stepove]. The Germans threw them alive in a well. The execution was conducted by SS soldiers and local policemen, Fedir V. On September 18th, 1941, the entire Jewish population of the Fraileben selsoviet, numbering 416 people, were rounded up in the school and were brought to the well located 6 kilometers from Yudendorf [Chkalove]. There, they were shot. After that, Fedir V. and Naum K. threw their bodies into the well.” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission drawn up on October 10th, 1944. RG 22.002M: 7021-77-413]
Chkalove is situated 80km north-east of Kherson. It was created in 1836 as a Jewish agricultural colony, Yudendorf, following the Russian government’s policy to resettle the Jews native to the northwestern regions of Russia to cultivate the deserted lands in Southern Ukraine. Most of the settlers were peasants, some were artisans. The colony was run by starosta. At the beginning, the colonists had trouble adapting to this new life due to of lack of agricultural experience. But thanks to international Jewish organizations such as The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Colonization Association, the local economy was able to develop due to the supply of agricultural equipment, seeds and financial help by these groups.
Chkalove was occupied by the German troops on September 14th, 1941. With the help of local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, we are able to confirm the information found in historical sources about the executions in Chkalove. Two separate executions were conducted by the SS soldiers assisted by the local police, in September 1941. 489 Jews, consisting of 416 Jews from the former Jewish colony Fraileben (today Stepove) and 73 Bessarabian Jews, were shot in a well situated 6 km from Chkalove, not far away from the former German colony Schmidt (Bruskynske today).
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