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Nina S., born in 1929: "The Jews were very good neighbors. They worked well. They were pharmacists, engineers, butchers, milk sellers…I went to school up to the 4th grade with the Jews Fima Grinberg and Malka Gerber. The father of one of them was a pharmacist, the other had a sweet shop. His son always brought us sweet.” (Witness N°258, interviewed in Kodnya, on October 18, 2005).
"In the village of Kodnya, the German-Fascist occupiers shot 185 Jews, including elderly people and children. The shooting took place in August 1941. They were taken away in three trucks, three round trips were made. The shootings took place outside the village of Kodnya, where the narrow-gauge railroad line runs. Among the 185 people shot whom I knew were Guzner, a member of the Bolshevik party, Trushkin Yakov and his daughter, Odinsky Leiba, and others.” [Deposition given by Mikhail O., born in 1892, residing in Kodnya, to the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK)on April 12, 945; GARF 7021-60-312, p.36]
Kodnya is located at 22km (14mi) south of Zhytomyr. The first record of the Jewish community goes back to the late 16th century. By 1897, the community numbered 688 Jews, making up almost 40% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small trade or handcraft. The community had a synagogue. In 1918-192,0 the Jewish community suffered from the pogroms. As a result of insecurity, many Jews left the village. Thus, in 1926, only 24% of the total population was Jewish. On the eve of the war, about 500 Jews remained in Kodnya.
Kodnya was occupied by German forces on July 8, 1941. Straight after occupation all the Jews were registered, but continued to live in their homes and move around the village. The Jewish community was massacred in August 1941 by members of Sonderkommando 4a. Prior to the shooting, all the Jews were rounded up in the church under the pretext of a future emigration to Palestine. They were allowed to take food provisions and some belongings with them. Once gathered, all the Jews were transported by truck to the execution site where the pits had been dug by the Jews themselves. The victims were separated, men were shot in one pit, women, and children in another. That day, the Germans murdered a total of 185 Jews from Kodnya.
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