Serby | Zhytomyr

/ Petro G., born in 1930, saw the column being marched to the execution site: “The Jews were very calm because they thought they were going to work in the fields. But when they arrived, they were forced to dig a mass grave.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Inside a local house  ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of 45 civilians, including 20 Jews, murdered by Nazis and their collaborators in summer 1945. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Serby

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Field
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
20

Witness interview

Petro G., born in 1930, recalls: “One day the local Jews were all gathered together, there was also one man from Yemilchyne. I remember that it happened in the end of summer, because it was a time of flax reaping. The Jews thought they were going to work in the fields so they were very calm. But, when they arrived on the spot they were forced to dig a grave.” (Testimony n°1639, interviewed in Serby, on April 25th, 2013)

Soviet archives

“During the occupation of Serby in 1941-1945, 45 people were executed. The shooting was conducted by the commander whose name I do not know.” [Deposition of a local resident, Mikhail I., born in 1885, given to the State Extraordinary Commission; RG 22.002M:70-21-316]

Historical note

Serby is located on the river Gat, 115km northeast of Zhytomyr. According to the local witness, before the war there were about 10 Jewish families in the village. The Polish, Ukrainian, and Jewish children studied at the same school. The majority of Jews had small businesses or were craftsmen. Some of them worked in the administration. There was a pharmacy kept by a Jew. In the 1920s, the kolkhoz was created and was headed by a Jew. Only a few Jews worked in there. The village was occupied in early July, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Through the accounts of the local witness and Yahad’s field work, we were able to discover that shortly after the occupation; the whole Jewish population was marked with armbands and concentrated in several houses that were under guard. They were forced to work in flax fields.  During this time,  they were frequently humiliated by being forced to eat grass as if they were cattle. Those who refused were beaten. In the end of summer or early fall 1941, all the Jews were executed by the German forces not far from the fax fields.

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