Storozhynets (Storozhinest, Storjinet, Starozhinets) | Chernivtsi

Execution of Jews in Storozhynets

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ravine; Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 250

Witness interview

Dmytro B., born in 1929: “Under the Soviets, just before the Romanians occupied the village, my uncle’s family had been deported to Siberia under the pretext of being kulaks. Back then, if you had some land and cattle, you were considered rich by the Soviets. So, that is why my uncle and all his family were arrested and sent to Siberia. They were arrested during the night and taken to the railway station, where they were loaded in the wagons. For two days, they lived in the wagons, waiting for other people to be brought. Besides the Ukrainians, the Jews were also deported. Only those Jews who owned lands were deported by the Soviets. The merchants could stay in the town. Many Russians who came from Russia once the village was taken over in 1940 would settle down in the Jewish houses and live there.” (Witness n°2497U, interviewed in Storozhynets, on October 18, 2018)

Soviet archives

“From the first days upon their arrival in the village of Storozhinets, the German and Romanian fascists started to exterminate innocent Soviet citizens. The citizens of Jewish and Ukrainian nationality suffered particularly from the persecutions and terror. The fascists rounded-up the [aforementioned] citizens in different places, for instance in the houses, on the streets, in the fields, and shot them on the spot. They would leave the bodies on the ground without [burying] them for a long period of time.
During the first months of occupation, from July to August 1941, the German and Romanian fascists shot 860 citizens in Strozohinets, among whom were children, women, and elder people. Under the order of the fascist executioners, the corpses were gathered afterwards and buried at different places on the outskirts of Storozhinets. The location of these mass graves remains unknown until today. It was established that part of the corpses had been buried on the former Mr. Flonder’s property. When the owner Flonder came back to Storozhinets with [the] Romanian fascists, he ordered to exhume the corpses from his property. As a result, under the order of [the] Romanian police, the corpses were taken away from Flonder’s property and buried at the Jewish cemetery in Storozhinets. In all, 73 corpses of Soviet citizens were reburied at the Jewish cemetery between August 6 and 7, 1941. Among them there were children, women, elder people, and one Red Army soldier. […]”. [Act drawn up by Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on [illegible] 10, 1945; GARF 7021-79-69]

Historical note

Storozhynest is a town located in the historic region of Bukovina, 26km(16mi) southwest of Chernivtsi. Before WWI, it was part of the Austrian Empire, and in between the two world wars, it was taken over by Romania. In 1940, it was occupied by the Soviet Union. The first records of the town’s Jewish community date back to the 18th century. By 1880, the Jewish population consisted of 1,601 people, comprising 33% of Storozhynest’s total population. By 1910, they represented almost half of the population. As a result of immigration, many Jews from Galicia and other territories of the Russian Empire moved there. The local Jews were mainly involved in commerce and industry connected with products made from the surrounding forest, including timber processing. Other common professions were crafts and the liberal professions. The town’s synagogue was built at the beginning of the 20th century. There were also many Hasidic synagogues and other houses of prayer, as the majority of Jews followed Hasidism. In 1909, the community established a private Jewish secondary school for boys and girls that functioned, with a few interruptions, until 1938. The Zionist organizations were active there between the two world wars, but in 1940, the Soviet regime banned all religious and political institutions. As a result of Soviet nationalization programs, private businesses were taken over by the state. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Storozhynest was occupied by the Romanians in July 1941. Before the Romanian occupation, about 200-250 Jews were deported to Siberia by the Soviet regime. During the first days of the occupation, about 2,500 Jews from Strorozhynets and nearby villages, such as Banyliv, Budenets, Beregomet, Stara Zhadova, and Panka, were gathered in the yard of the local school n°1. Jews who resisted or attempted to escape were shot dead on the spot. Their corpses were buried on private property and then reburied at the Jewish cemetery. On July 23, 1941, the Jews were deported to the territory controlled by the Germans, who refused to take them and sent them back. At this moment, according to local testimonies, about a hundred Jews were taken and shot in a ravine located close to the village of Panka. About 1,100 Jews were deported to Sokyriany, while the remaining 1,320 were deported to the Transnistria camps in September 1941. There is no information about how many Jews survived the Transnistria camps.  

Jewishgen

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