Oleshky (Aleshki)/Former Tsyurupinsk | Kherson

In prewar time this building was a synagogue © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Hryhoriy S., born in 1930: “One day when I was guarding our family orchard I saw a truck stop near a trench. The truck was full of Germans wearing black coats with metal plates on their chests.”© Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Serhiy Zh., born in 1927: “The local authorities with the help of kolkhozes organized the mass evacuation of Jews. We also participated. My sister was transporting the Jews by cart day and night. ” © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team with a  witness at the execution site. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The path walked by the Jews before being murdered. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum At this place over 800 Jews were shot in the anti-tank trench. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Tsyurupinsk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Anti-tank trench near the vinyards
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
Over 800

Witness interview

Hryhorii S., born in 1930, remembered: “One day when I was guarding our family orchard I saw a truck stop near a trench. The truck was full of Germans wearing black coats with metal plates on their chests. They had been stationed in the center of Oleshky. The other truck, each with five or six people inside, arrived shortly after. The victims were shot at the edge of the trench and buried there. The Germans barely covered the pit with earth before leaving. Afterwards, the local people buried the victims well and put the crosses there.” (Testimony n°2206, interviewed in Oleshky on May 19th, 2017)

Soviet archives

“Today the Commission examined the scene of the crimes committed by the German-fascist invaders. Indeed, 2km east of Tsyurupinsk and 20m from the left side of the road, two pits were discovered. When the first pit was opened twenty decomposed male corpses lying in disorder were found. [...]
In the second pit, decomposed male, female and child corpses were discovered. According to forensic evidence, about 800 people of Jewish origin including adults and children aged from 0 to 10-15 years old were buried in this mass grave. The third pit is located 5km east of Tsyurupinsk, on the right side of the road. After the opening of this pit, more than 50 bodies of Soviet citizens were discovered. [...]
The fourth pit is situated 2km north-west of Tsyurupinsk in the pine forest. Male and female corpses were discovered in this pit when it was opened. According to testimonies [...] more than 600 prisoners of war, Soviet partisans, paratroopers and civilians were shot at this place. The fifth grave located 150m to the right of the fourth one contains the bodies of war prisoners and civilians of Tsyurupinsk, Kostohryzove and Solontsi shot and buried in disorder. [...] The shootings of the Jewish population took place here in the early October 1941; shootings of Soviet citizens, partisans, war prisoners and paratroopers took place in February of 1942.” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission drawn up on September 2nd, 1944. RG 22.002M:7021-77-426]

Historical note

Oleshky, is situated on the Dnipro river bank 4 km south-east of Kherson. The first records of the settlement go back to 1841. According to the census of 1900, 744 Jews lived in Oleshky. Most of them lived off trade and handcrafts however some were engaged in agriculture. According to the local villager interviewed by Yahad-In Unum, there were 4 kolkhozes in the village.  The most prosper one belonged to the Jews. In 1928, the city was renamed “Tsyurupynsk.” By that time, there was a big stone synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in the village. Oleshky was occupied by the German forces in mid-August of 1941. By that time a lot of Jews managed to evacuate with the help of local authorities, however the poorest ones stayed behind. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the occupation the Germans established their Kommandantur, appointed a new starosta, and created the local police. The execution of Jews was conducted on October 10th, 1941. According to the local villager who happened to see the execution, the Jews were rounded up in the street and taken to the anti-tank trench located near the village. There, they were shot in groups of 10-20 people. The babies were poisoned with an unknown substance and thrown into the trench. In all, over 800 Jews were executed on that day. Soviet activists, Soviet prisoners of war were also murdered in Oleshky. There was even a camp for Soviet prisoners of war.

Jewishgen

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