Rohachiv (Rogachiv, Rogachev, Rohaczów) | Zhytomyr

/ Nazar T., born in 1923: “There were two tables with a big pile of gold on it. There was everything: golden drink holders, teeth, golden watches... People gave everything they had, they wanted to survive.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of Jews murdered on October 1st, 1941. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of about 50 Jewish children. The site was located at the edge of the forest. Today it is close to the orthodox cemetery. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The monument for about 200 Jewish victims murdered by Nazi and their collaborators in 1941-1942 ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Rogachiv

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest(1); Close to the orthodox cemetery (2)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
About 200

Witness interview

Nazar T., born in 1923, says: “The Germans had separated the Jewish craftsmen from other Jews. But later, when they no longer needed their services, they shot them too. The children were also separated and locked up in a room where they stayed until the end of the fall. I remember it was snowing and freezing at that time. Later, they were taken out, weakened, hungry and frozen because the building was not heated. The children were thrown onto carts, taken from the kolkhoz, like stones thrown onto wagons. They were all about ten years old. There also were older children, for example, I remember seeing very beautiful young Jewish girls who were perhaps studying in the final year. They had black hair, like gypsies. These girls, as well as all the other older children, were brought with the adults, only small children were separated.” (Testimony n° 1645, interviewed in Rohachiv, on April 28th, 2013)

German archives

“The Jewish population was gathered in the cinema. I do not know the exact number but I would say about a hundred families. I remember that the occupying units violently pushed the Jews into the main square. There, the Jews were separated from the Ukrainians, and the Germans ordered the Jews to wear an armband with the blue star on the left arm. The Ukrainians were forbidden to speak to them or help them. […] While in the cinema, the Germans asked the Jews to give them all their gold, jewels, Soviet money and Soviet papers. Those who did it could immediately go back to their homes. After, the Germans chose 10 craftsmen and sent them to Baranivka where they were resettled with their families. Those who had arrived with suitcases were taken by truck out of the city. They were all shot at that place. Later the children who had been separated from their parents arrived. The little ones were thrown into the trucks with particularly violence. They were being pulled by their hair, arms or legs. They were also taken outside the city to be shot.” [Deposition of the Jewish survivor taken on August 10th, 1965; B162-7357]

Historical note

Rohachiv is situated 69 kilometers northwest of Zhytomyr. The Jewish community was very important in Rogachiv. Moreover, according to the 1897 census, 1,303 Jews lived in the town, comprising 94% of total population. The majority of Jews lived off of small scale trade or handcraft. All children, including Ukrainians, Poles and Jews, studied at the same school. There was a synagogue, but before the war it was converted into a Klub.  In the 1920s-1930s there were three kolkhozes: “Piatyrichka” (Ukrainian), “Peremoha” (Ukrainian), “Nove Jyttya Imeni Stalina” (Jewish). By 1939, the number of Jews decreased severly . In June 1941, only 300 Jews remained in the town. Rogachiv was occupied by the German forces on July 6, 1941. By that time about 30% of Jews managed to escape.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Soon after the occupation, the whole Jewish population was registered and marked with armbands bearing the Star of David. In addition, according to the local witness, the Jews had the word “Jude” embroidered on their clothing.  At the end of July 1941, an open ghetto was established in the center of the town, on two streets where the Jews used to live before the war. The Jews were forbidden to leave the ghetto or to have any contact with the locals. In August 1941, the first execution took place. An unknown number of Jews were escorted into the forest and shot. The second execution took place on October 1st, 1941, by German Security Forces assisted by the local police. From the field research, Yahad found out that prior to the shooting, all Jews were gathered at the central place where they had to give all golden valuables. Those who gave the gold were promised to be spared. Once the gold was taken, the Jews were separated into three groups: adults, craftsmen and children. The adults were put into trucks and taken to be shot in the forest, while the small children were locked up in the building. While being detained there, they were guarded by local police.  Two days later, the children were driven on carts to the edge of the forest where they were killed. According to the witness there were more than 50 children aged up to 12 years old. In November 1941, the craftsmen and their families were relocated to the ghetto in Novohrad- Volynskyi where they were killed shortly after.

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