Ulaniv (Ulanov) | Vinnytsia

/ Olha K., born in 1931: “There was a family of Jewish pharmacists, Dondar, in our village. I used to go to elementary school with their daughter, Ida. Her older sister’s name was Raia.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Olha K., born in 1931, showing the execution site to the Yahad team. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the former ghetto in Ulaniv. At the time, it was situated in the Jewish quarter. Today, a warehouse stands on the site of the former Jewish houses. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of Jews, murdered in Ulaniv on June 10, 1942. The Aktion, which lasted several days, took lives of between 600 and 900 Jews from Ulaniv, Salnytsya and nearby villages. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A drone view at the execution site located in the village of Ulaniv. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The memorial plaque in memory of over 2,000 Jewish men, women, children and the elderly of Ulaniv and Salnytsya, shot to death on July 18, 1942, for no other raison that they were Jews. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Ulaniv

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Ravine between Polish and Ukrainian cemeteries
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 600 and 900

Witness interview

Olha K., born in 1931: “During the war, for around a year, Jews were confined to the ghetto, which was established in the Jewish quarter. This ghetto comprised small Jewish houses tightly packed together, surrounded by barbed wire installed by local men. Jewish inmates were required to wear distinctive signs - notably large red circles - on their chests and shoulders. Initially, they were permitted to go to the village to barter, enabling my mother to exchange food for sheets. However, this privilege was later revoked. For a period, Jews were subjected to forced labor, tasked with dismantling Jewish houses located outside the ghetto. The bricks salvaged from these demolitions were then utilized by local inhabitants for construction purposes. After a year of confinement, ghetto inmates were rounded up and transported to the execution site to be killed en masse.” (Testimony N°YIU2665U, interviewed in Ulaniv, on September 18, 2019)

Soviet archives

"In June 1942, at 9 am, I was standing near my home near the Polish cemetery, as I saw Soviet citizens being brought in. There were around 300 people of all ages. Small children and the elderly were put to the side. The remaining 250 people were loaded onto trucks and taken to the Kalinovka [today Kalynivka] camp, where an airfield was being built. Many of them were ill and died on the way.
Other people were brought [to the same location] on two other occasions. On June 10, 1942, at 8 am, the entire population of Ulanov and Salnitsa [today Salnytsia] was rounded up for the fourth time. In Salnitsa, even two typhus patients were taken, along with people unable to walk and brought to the execution site on carts. That day, people came without any resistance as they thought they would be taken to work while the sick ones would be released.
At 9 am, the mass shooting began at the Polish cemetery. People were forced to undress near the pit, which had been dug over the night, and to descend into it. They were then ordered to lie in rows facing the ground. An executioner then shot them in the back of the head with a submachine gun. Once the first row was complete, [the victims] were ordered to form the second one. The shooting continued until 2 pm. Over 900 people were shot that day. I saw three carts carrying the clothes of the victims after the shooting. The pit was large and deep, measuring over 30 meters long. There were two other similar shootings later on. An SS detachment participated in the first two shootings; the next two were carried out by the local gendarmerie." [Deposition of Anna Lestrova, given on November 16, 1944, p. 45, to the State Extraordinary Soviet Commission (ChGK); GARF 7021-54-1234/ Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

Historical note

Ulaniv, situated approximately 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Vinnytsia, boasts a rich history dating back to 1552, when it was granted Magdeburg rights as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The town’s first recorded Jewish community emerged in 1765. According to the 1784 census, Ulaniv comprised 201 Jews. By 1897, during its time as part of the Russian Empire, the Jewish population had grown to circa. 2,000 residents.

Over time, Jews became integral to the village’s economic fabric, primarily engaging in commerce and artisanal activities, with numerous businesses owned and operated by them. Notably, there was a synagogue, two Jewish prayer houses, and a private male Jewish school. However, the turbulent period of the Russian Civil War brought violent pogroms, causing suffering for the Jewish population. Despite these hardships, the Jewish community persevered and continued to thrive.

As the Soviet era unfolded, social and political upheavals prompted the establishment of cooperatives for artisans, leading some Jews to transition into agricultural work and the establishment of a milk farm. However, by 1939, the Jewish population in Ulaniv had dwindled to approximately 1,188 individuals, comprising over 70% of the total population. In total, there were 1,754 Jews living in the Ulaniv district, with the village of Salnytsia being home to the majority of them.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Before German troops entered Ulaniv, a number of Jews either mobilized or voluntarily enlisted into the Red Army, while others managed to evacuate to the East. Despite these efforts, approximately 80% of the Jewish residents, circa. 1,000 individuals, still remained in the town on July 15, 1941, when it fell under German occupation. The subsequent months saw the implementation of stringent anti-Jewish policies, including the registration of Jewish inhabitants, mandatory wearing of distinctive symbols, and confiscation of Jewish property. Following a brief period of military control, Ulaniv transitioned to a German civil administration in late October 1941, marked by the establishment of a German gendarmerie post and a Ukrainian police unit.

Before December 1941, a ghetto was established in Ulaniv, compelling local Jews to relocate to designated streets in the Jewish quarter, surrounded by a barbed wire fence. In December 1941 and the spring of 1942, over 450 Jews from the village of Salnytsia, as well as individuals captured in the neighboring area, were transferred to the ghetto. Movement restrictions were enforced, and Jews were coerced into various forms of forced labor, including dismantling Jewish houses located outside the ghetto. The harsh living conditions within the ghetto were exacerbated by food shortages. Additionally, in mid-May 1942, several hundred Jews deemed fit for labor were transferred to the Kalynivka labor camp for the construction of an airfield.

The majority of the remaining Jews were killed during an Aktion conducted on June 10, 1942. This operation, orchestrated by the Security Police and SD, most likely from Vinnytsia, assisted by the Gendarmerie members and local policemen, involved rounding up victims in the town center before marching them to an area situated between Ukrainian and Polish cemeteries. At the execution site, victims were stripped of their clothing and forced to lie in rows in a pre-dug pit, where they were shot to death in groups. Jewish skilled workers with their families, circa. 250 people in all, were spared during this Aktion and transferred to the Kalynivka labor camp. The Aktion lasted several more days, during which smaller groups of Jews in hiding were captured and executed in the same pit. The last execution Aktion was carried out in December 1942, claiming the lives of the remaining Jewish victims. Only a handful of Jews from Ulaniv managed to survive the war.

According to Soviet archives, up to 3,285 Jews perished in Ulaniv during the Holocaust. However, research results estimate the number of victims to be between 600 and 900.


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