Myropil (Miropol) | Zhytomyr

The Jewish counci, in 1928l. © From a local historian’s archive Town of Myropil. © From a local historian’s archive. David Zimring with his mother, 1939 © From a local historian’s archive Former Jewish school ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The building of the pharmacy which used to belong to a Jew, located int he centre of Myropil. The central square where the majority of Jews lived before the war. All the Jews were rounded up here before being taken to the shooting. ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The paper factory where lots of Jews used to work ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Jewish cemetery in Myropil ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum House of the Jewish family that has been killed in Myropil. The elder woman who could not walk was dragged outside in a bed and shot dead on the spot. ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The diagram of the execution site drawn according to the accounts of an eyewitness. © Yahad-In Unum Military base where the Germans and Ukrainian police were based during the war ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Antonina T., born in 1926: « Those who had money left the city. My Jewish friend Sonia stayed and she was killed. Another Jewish neighbor was killed as well.   The Sura’s family was killed and the Khasia’s managed to survive. » © Alexey Kasyanov/YIU Leonid F., the former mayor of Myropil from 1982 to 2002: “ I remember the exhumation and reburial ceremony. There were 3 mass graves. When we did the exhumation, we put bones in 5 coffins one of which was full of children’s bones.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/YIU Zinaida L., born in 1934: “A Jewish family lived across from my house. When I heard the noise I looked through the window and I saw two policemen dragging the bed with an older Jewish woman out of the house.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Lidia S., born in 1926: “I was requisitioned by a German who took me directly from home to dig the pit. When I arrived at the site there were already other women digging. We dug for a while and then the Jewish men were brought.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad Varvara B., born in 1930: “One week after the shooting, I went to take a look at the execution site. I saw 3 graves side by side, separated by small path. The pits were in the forest.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Mykhailo T., born in 1947: “I was in the Soviet police during the exhumation. I remember that some arm bones had been tied with barbed wire. Two children’s skulls were broken. There were around a hundred bodies in each grave.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad Lyubov P., born in 1930:“In 1941, my friend and I went to the forest to gather  pines. When suddenly, I heard screams, I hid and watched a column of Jews being escorted. The majority of people in the column were women and children.” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad Maria R., born in 1925:“I went to the center of the city because stores were plundered. I saw a cart going in the direction of the park. This cart was full of bodies that had been stacked like logs.”©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Sofia V., born in 1929: “Once I was at my friend’s house who father was in the police. I remember him coming home and saying: ‘Now that we have killed all the Jews we can start to kill Poles.’” ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Leonid S., born in 1930: “The Jews were taken from the village to the forest to be shot. The Germans used a long ditch to shoot the Jews into. They put two planks across the ditch and the Jews were shot on them.» ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Before the war, it was a park. Under the occupation, it became an execution site and a mass grave where about 250 Jews were killed. Now it is a forest. ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Reburial of the bodies found in the mass grave. Archive Photo during the reburial and the place now. ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Reburial of the bodies found in the mass grave. Archive Photo during the reburial and the place now. ©Alexey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Myropil

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Park
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1944
Number of victims :
About 400

Witness interview

Zinaida L., born in 1934, remembers: “It was in fall, we were about to go to bed when suddenly we heard someone screaming. We rushed to the windows to take a look. What we saw was horrible. We saw a column of about 30-40 people. They were all arranged in rows as if they were soldiers. There were men, women and children amongst them. Everyone was crying. They were taken in the direction of the local park, behind the military base. Half hour later, we heard the gun shots. They were all shot. After a while, four or five days later, the policemen continued to search for the Jews. I remember seeing two policemen entering a house and dragging out an elder lady while she was still in her bed. I think she was too old and sick, so she could not walk by herself anymore. She was Jewish. Once they took her out, they shot her dead. They were policemen. I could see everything because I was hiding in the barn located 20-30m away from this house.” (Testimony n°2135, interviewed in Myropil on July 23rd, 2016)

Soviet archives

“Here is the approximate location of the first execution site of the citizens of Jewish nationality. Accused G. shows the approximate location without given the dimensions. The policemen from Miropol brought the column of citizens of Jewish nationality here and made them stop about 15 meters away from the pit. Two Germans, whom I did not know, and a Deputy Police Commander K. stood close to the pit. Z. ordered all the citizens of Jewish heritage to undress to their underwear, and after, he pointed to a policeman who would conduct the shooting. Among the policemen, there was B., P., Ivan L., T., G. and I. There were others too, but I forgot their names. Other policemen stayed to guard the citizens of Jewish nationality. The policemen who had been called by Z. had to line up about 5 meters away from the pit. I was at the left side of the pit, and L. was in the middle. Then, the policemen who were guarding the column, started to bring the Jews in groups of tens to the pit where they lined up facing the ditch. Then, all the policemen that were at the edge of the pit raised their rifles and fired at the people standing at the edge of the pit. We shot dead 6 groups of ten people of Jewish nationality each using this method. The policemen fired with rifles and Z. shot with a gun. When the 7th group was brought to the pit, I hurt myself with a breach of my weapon and Z. sent me home. Thus, during this execution, I personally shot dead six people of Jewish nationality. I do not know how the shooting was conducted after I left. I do not know how many people were shot in the park that day.» [Deposition of accused policeman during the reconstruction of the crime scene, in Miropol on October 4th, 1986; SBU archives, Delo n°35425, tome 3, pp. 273-284]

German archives

“There were many Jews (men, women and children) on the hill guarded by policemen. When we arrived, there was about 75-100 Jews waiting there, but others columns were about to be brought as well.
I went directly to the pit with S. The pit was in the shape of an oval, about 20 meters long and 10 meters wide. The Jews were brought in groups of 15 people, to the pit. Men were supposed to be shot first and then women. There was a big confusion. There were several children aged between 1 and a half to 10 years old among the victims. They were holding their parents’ hands while walking to the pit.
The execution commando, composed of ten men, stood at the edge of the pit. They fired in turns; while some of them fired, the others reloaded the guns. There were five policemen who reloaded their guns at the edge of the pit. The ammunition was stocked in boxes nearby. I did not see any officers there. When the Jews arrived to the pit, they were immediately shot. […] Sometimes victims were not shot dead right away. I am not sure about that, but I think that there were several policemen who finished them off inside the pit with a submachine gun. The children that could walk were taken to the shooter who shot them dead. When women or men held their children in their arms, first the fired at a child and then at the parent.” [Deposition of Gustav B., born in 1906, member of the Police Battalion n°303; B162-6673 p.35.]

Historical note

Myropil is a town located about 70km south west of Zhytomyr. The first records of the Jewish community go back to the middle of 17th century. According to the census of 1926, 1,143 Jews lived in Myropil comprising almost 40% of the total population.  There was a synagogue that was closed in the 1930s and a Jewish cemetery which still exists today.  The majority of Jew lived off trade and handcraftsmanship. Many of them worked at the paper factory. There was a Jewish school that was apparently closed in 1935. Nevertheless, Jews continued to study at the Ukrainian school. According to some estimates, about 600 Jews lived in Myropil on the eve of the war.  

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The town was occupied by Germans on July 6th, 1941. Shortly afterwards, all the Jews were marked with armbands and were registered. At the end of July 1941, an open ghetto was created in the former Jewish quarter. All Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor. The first Aktion was conducted by SS unit, Einsatzgruppe C, on July 28th to the30th, 1941, against 24 Jewish men who were shot under the pretext of having refused to work. Two months later, throughout the course of two mass executions, conducted in late September or early October and mid-October respectively, about 250 Jews were shot by police in the municipal park. According to local witnesses, before being taken to the shooting all the Jews were gathered in the central square of Myropil. According to an eyewitness, the Jews had to walk onto two planks laid over the ditch and were shot dead by two Germans who fired with machine guns. In December 1941, about 9 Jews were brought from the Kolodyazhne village where they had been hiding and shot in the municipal park. The last Aktion during which was perpetrated against the 100 remaining Jews, consisting mostly of specialists and their families, was conducted on February 16th, 1942.

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