Yerky ( Yerki) | Cherkasy

/ Dmytro M., born in 1931, saw the Jewish men working in the stone quarry while grazing his cows. ©Les Kasyanov/ Yahad-In Unum Nina T., born in 1931: “There were two pits. I didn’t see the execution itself, but I went there to take a look after the execution.”©Les Kasyanov/ Yahad-In Unum The Yahad-In Unum team during an interview. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The former buildings, today destroyed, where the Jewish inmates were confined. ©Les Kasyanov/ Yahad-In Unum The location of the stone quarry where the Jews were forced to work. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The view at the stone quarry. ©Les Kasyanov/ Yahad-In Unum The memorial for the Jews murdered here under the occupation. The memorial was built in 2003. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Yerky

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Stone quarry
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
220

Witness interview

Nina T., born in 1931 : ”Six months later, the Jews were shot.. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but they kept working in the quarry for six months. There were two pits. I didn’t see the execution itself, but I went there to take a look after the execution. The pits were rather big. I would say they were as big as this room [15-20m2]. Since they were buried there, nobody replaced the corpses. There is a monument, but it wasn’t put on the pits themselves but near the building where the Jews were confined while working in the quarry.” (Witness n°2760U, interviewed in Yerky, on August 26, 2020)

Historical note

Yerky is located 73km (43mi) northeast of Uman and 110km (68mi) northwest of Cherkasy. According to the residents, only two or three Jewish families lived in Yerky before WWII. A bigger Jewish community lived in the town of Katerynopil, located 6km (3.7mi) away. The first records of the Jewish community go back to the 18th century. According to the 1897 census, almost 28% of the total population was Jewish. The community had two synagogues, a cemetery and a Yiddish school. In the 1930s, a Jewish collective farm named after Trotskiy was established. Under the Soviet rule many restrictions were imposed, the synagogues were closed, the private businesses were forbidden. As a result, many Jews left the town. On the eve of the war, in 1939, only 395 Jews remained in the Katerynopil.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The area was occupied by the German troops on July 29, 1941. A small part of Jews from Katerynopil managed to leave before the Germans’ arrival. Those who stayed were first used as forced labor in different labor camps created in the area, and then, when there was no need of them, they were assassinated. The first Jews, mainly elderly, sick and children, were displaced to Zvenyhorodka, where they were shot in April 1942. The  able-bodied Jews were dispatched between the camps of Brodetske and Yerky created in the spring of 1942. Those who were taken to Yerky were the only men who were forced to work in a stone quarry. While those taken to the Bodetske camp, repaired the roads. Those unfit to work were displaced to Zvenyhorodka where they were shot on June 14-15, 1942, along with other Jews. The approximately 220 Jews taken to the Yerky camp, according to the Ukrainian historian A.Kruglov, were also murdered. There is no exact date when they were murdered, but according to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad the camp existed for six months.  Jews from the Yerky labor camp were shot six months late. 

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