1 Execution site(s)
Nina M., born in 1918 : “One week after the Germans’ arrival, they ordered about a hundred Jewish men to gather at the central square. Anyone who didn’t show up by themselves were taken there by force by the Schutzmanns. I remember one Jew was particularly humiliated. I don’t know what he did to deserve it. He was forced to climb over the Lenin statue. As it was quite difficult, he keep falling down, but they forced him to climb it over and over again. I don’t remember his name, but I remember that he worked as photographer before the war. Then, they all were locked up in a one-story building, it was either a shop or a library, -- I can’t tell you now. So, once everyone was inside, the door and windows were locked. There was even a disabled Jew who didn’t fit in but was thrown over the heads of others. He was the only survivor as he managed to breath through a hole while all other suffocated.” (Witness n°856U, interviewed in Kupil, on January 8, 2010)
“[…] in 1942, in July or August, the Germans, together with [Ukrainian auxiliary] policemen, carried out a roundup in the town of Kupel and caught about 600 Soviet civilians of Jewish nationality. Regardless of their sex or age, all of them were taken to Volochisk, but none returned.” [Deposition of a local villager Ivan Y**, given to the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK), on August 30, 1944; GARF 7021-64-795]
Kupil is a town located 45 km (28mi) northwest of Khmelnytskyi. The first record of the jewish community dates back to the 18th century. In 1897, the local Jewish population numbered 2,727 individuals, making up 63% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale commerce and handicraft. The community had a cemetery, four synagogues and a Yiddish school. In the 1920s, a Jewish kolkhoz [collective farm] Nay Lebn" (’New Life" in Yiddish), was founded. In 1926, 67% of the total Kupil population was Jewish, 1,828 individuals.
Kupil was occupied by German forces on July 5, 1941. Shortly after the German occupation of the town, the Germans locked about 90 Jewish men into a small shop or library and placed guards outside. By the next morning most of the men had suffocated to death, only one disabled man managed to survive. The victims were buried near the location where a statue of Lenin had been in the center of town and, after a month, they were reburied at the Jewish cemetery. According to local villagers, the Jews continued to live in their houses, contrary to what it is written in the archives. We believe that the ghetto was opened and created in the same area as the Jews lived before without forcing other Jews to move in, which local villagers were unaware of the existence of a ghetto. In the spring or summer of 1942, a group of Jews fit to work was selected and taken to the Pavlykivtsi labor camp where they worked in a sand quarry before being exterminated in late autumn 1942. On September 21, 1942, about 600 Jews were rounded up and marched from the Kupil ghetto to the brick factory located north of Volochysk, where they were shot in a clay quarry. Some Jews who had managed to hide during this Aktion were shot afterwards at the Jewish cemetery over the course of several isolated shootings.
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