Uman (Humań) | Cherkasy

/ Hryhoriy B., born in 1926: “I saw three Jewish girls hung on the central street. They had signs on their chests: “For liaisons with partisans.” © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum Mykhailo G., born in 1928: “One night, trucks full of Jews arrived. All of the Jews who were rounded up were confined to the basement which was so small that there was not enough room and air for everyone. Many died, suffocated.”© David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad Hryhoriy T., born in 1928: “During the liquidation of the ghetto the Jews were taken by truck. They were brought from the ghetto towards the ravine to be shot.”  © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum The execution site, located in the Sukhoy ravine, near to the airfield. According to the monument, 25,000 Jews from Uman were murdered here. © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum The tomb of the famous Rabbi Nahman from Bratslav, the founder of Hassidism movement. © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum The tomb of the famous Rabbi Nahman from Bratslav, the founder of Hassidism movement. © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum The former Jewish neighborhood in Uman. © David Merlin-Dufey/Yahad-In Unum Neonila M., born in 1919. Her family hid two Jewish children during the occupation, a girl of 4 years old and a boy of 3 years old. The children were hiding at the attic and with the help of this witness and her family they managed to survive. © YIU Riva E., born in 1928: “Every time that there would be an aktion we were warned by an old friend of my mother’s, who was in the police under  German authority.” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Aleksandr B., born in 1930, a Jewish survivor from Uman. Aleksandr is Riva’s brother. They were the only ones, along with their mother to survive the Holocaust out of 45 members of their family. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Riva E., born in 1928. Today lives in Chernivtsi. She was born in Uman and managed to survive the Holocaust along with some members of her family. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview with a Jewish survivor from Uman, 2017© Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Uman

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ravin (2); Forest (3)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 17,000

Witness interview

Hryhoriy B., born in 1926: « The column of Jews passed by the street where I used to live. The majority of Jews in the column were women and children. They were escorted by the police but it was very easy to escape because there weren’t many policemen, only one at the head and another one in the rear of the column. We wondered why they didn’t attempt to escape?! None did. They walked towards their death as if they were a flock of sheep. Once near the ravine, the Jews had to go down at the bottom in groups of tens. There was a big pit at the bottom of the ravine. When I came to the site there were already bodies inside the pit. I saw a group of Jews being kneeled down at the edge of the pit. They were shot at the nape of the neck by several shooters who fired with guns.” (Witness n°1124, interviewed in Uman, on December 24, 2010)

Soviet archives

[Only lists of vicitms are available : 7021-65-241]

German archives

“[…]On September 13, 1941, I arrived with my unit, and on September 16, 1941, I was again ordered to cordon off the town’s airfield, as another mass shooting of Jews was about to take place in Uman. The only difference is that this shooting was conducted by members of the Feldgendarmerie. The only thing we could find out about this unit was that they came from the occupying territories of Greece and Serbia. In the weeks that followed, the German government became a little more ingenious in its desire to murder. Since it was probably assumed that this battle could mean a loss of prestige vis-à-vis the other powers, the following steps were taken: among the Russian prisoners of war they recruited a militia that was given the task of ensuring peace and order within the occupied territory. In reality, they were used for the extermination of Jews. Now a great hustle and bustle were carried out in Uman by elements that did not have a clean past or who were promised themselves something from the German civil administration.

Several weeks later, the police administration of Kiev County made a statement. In this report, the number of Jews shot was 62,000 (published in the "Ukrainian newspaper" which was published by the Germans).

In the area of Vinnitsa and Uman, 32,000 Jews were shot in front of my eyes and those of the unit. This is the exact statement (PW gave its Unterführern the order to count the columns of Jews led into the closed circle). [Deposition of Erwin Bingel, member of Landesschützenbataillon 783/4, BArch B162-5264]

Historical note

Uman is located 190 km (118miles) southeast of Kyiv. The first records about a Jewish community in the town go back to the mid-18th century. In 1750, 450 Jews lived there. During an attack in 1768, by the Cossacks, the majority of the Jews were killed after a non-successful defense. Their property and homes were looted. Over the next few decades, the Jewish population was renewed, and in 1801, 1,895 Jews lived in the town. By 1897, it grew to 17,945 Jews, comprising about 60% of the total population.  In 1910, 28,267 Jews resided in the town.  The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade or crafts. Uman was one of the first centers of the Haskalah movement in Ukraine. In 1822, Khaim Ber Hurwitz and his son Hirsh Ber established one of the first secular Jewish schools in Tsarist Russia. In 1810 Uman became home to a prominent Rabbi Naḥman of Bratslav. Today, many pilgrims travel to Uman to visit his tomb. In 1911the Jewish community suffered from multiple pogroms. Starting in 1937 as a result of an anti-religious Soviet campaign, the Hasidic movement in Uman went underground and the synagogue was transformed into a metalworking factory. On the eve of the war, 13,233 Jews lived in Uman, making up 30% of the total population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Uman was occupied by German army on July 3, 1941. The first victims were members of intelligentsia and doctors, who were considered as dangerous, as they could provide resistance. They were shot or publicly hanged in mid-August, 1941. Shortly after that, all Jews were registered and marked with yellow or white Stars of David. The majority of the Jews were murdered in the fall of 1941 in the course of several mass executions. The first one was conducted on September 13, 1941, during which the Jews were randomly rounded-up, and taken to be shot near the airfield. The next aktion was conducted on September 21, 1941 and lasted for three days. During the first day, 1,000 Jews, mainly women and children, were confined into the cellar of the Pioneer house where some of them suffocated as there were not enough room. The women who didn’t die there were released, while men, along with other Jews rounded up in the meantime were taken to the prison and shot.  Thus, on September 22-23, 1941, 1,412 Jews were murdered by Einsatzkommando 5. Shortly after this aktion the remaining Jews were forced to move into the ghetto located close to the market place. According to a Jewish survivor interview by Yahad, they were placed in the empty Jewish houses, located in that area, as the owners were massacred during the September aktions. However, the Jews didn’t stay long in this ghetto because on October 8,1941 another aktion was carried out by German Police battalion 304, assisted by local police. During this aktion, about 5,800 Jews, including 400 Jewish prisoners of war, were gathered at the market place, then they were taken to the prison where they had to undress and hand over all their valuables. After this they were taken to the anti-tank trenches located in the Sukhoy ravine where they were murdered. After that, about 1,500 Jews remained in the ghetto until its liquidation in the spring of 1942. During this entire time, the Jewish inmates were subjected to perform different kinds of forced labor, like shoveling snow, and paving roads. Many isolated killings or public hangings of Jews were carried out in this period of time.

On April 22, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated by Lithuanian and Ukrainian police. During the liquidation, the inmates fit for work were taken to the labor camp in Haysyn, while those unfit to work were taken to the nearby forest and shot dead. The last victims were 50-60 artisans who survived until 1943. 

 For more information about the shootings in Haysyn please check the corresponding profile

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