Balky (Balki) | Vinnytsia

/ The location of the ghetto that existed from December 1941 to autumn 1942 in Balky. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Eduard K., born in 1937: “Jews fit for work were taken to the potatoes field to harvest. I was taken as well.”©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykola H., born in 1927: “The Jews were brought to the camp at night, most probably on carts because there were no vehicles back then.”©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykola H., born in 1927 next to the field where a mass grave of about 800 Jews who died in the Balky camp were buried. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the mass grave where about 800 Jews were buried. The victims died from hunger and inhumane living conditions inside the camp. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A panorama view of the mass grave located in the field with no memorial. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Balky

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Eduard K., a Jewish survivor, born in 1937: "All the Jews from Bar as well as those brought from Bukovina and Bessarabia were taken to the ghetto located near Balky. It was located on the Romanian occupied territory, in the former military barracks. I was also taken there with my parents. The ghetto was guarded by Germans and Romanians. I must say that Romanians were even worse than the Germans. In each barrack there was a chief and a Jew native from Romania who was responsible for the barrack. Other Romanians weren’t allowed to enter the barrack without the permission of the chief. All the Romanians, including the chief of the barrack, lived in a big building located on the territory of the camp. In the same building there was a kitchen. About ten local women were hired to cook soup for the Jewish detainees. It was distributed every day. Besides that, local people would bring bread and milk either to sell or exchange it for clothes. Some detainees were allowed to leave the territory to go buy or look for food. " (Witness n°2580U, interviewed in Bar April 10, 2019)

Soviet archives

"During the occupation of the village of Balky, Bar district, Vinnytsia region, by fascist troops, after inflicting suffering and torture, the Germans murdered 800 people. It was impossible to identify them." [Act n°10 drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, on April 14, 1945; GARF 7021-54-1273, p.285].

Historical note

Balky is located 66 km (41mi) southwest of Vinnytsia. There were no Jews living in Balky before the war. A big Jewish community lived in the nearby town of Bar, located 3 km (2mi) away. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 16th century, but it suffered greatly during the Khmelnytsky and Haidamaks uprisings. It was one of the oldest communities in Ukraine. The community had a synagogue, built in 1717, a cemetery and a Yiddish school. The Jewish population numbered 4,442 in 1847, 5,773 in 1897 comprising 58% of the total population, and 10,450 (46%) in 1910. They mainly worked in the commerce, owned mills, or were artisans. In the Soviet period, a Yiddish school operated in Bar and the Jewish kolkhoz was established. Under the Soviet regime private businesses were closed, and most Jews were employed as office workers or at small factories or industrial cooperatives. On the eve of the war, in 1939, 41% of the population was Jewish, 3,869 Jews lived in Bar. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Balky and Bar were occupied by German, Romanian and Italian forces on July 16, 1941. The territory was under German occupation, although it bordered with Romanian-controlled Transnistria from September 1941. According to some sources, at least two ghettos were created in Bar in December 1941. The detainees from these ghettos were first used as forced labor and then murdered either during the mass shootings in August and October 1942 or taken to Letychiv where they were murdered. Yahad - in Unum is yet to investigate the Bar region itself.  As a result of the field research in Balky and according to the accounts of the local eyewitness and a Jewish survivor of the camp, the Jews from Bar and Bessarabia were detained in the camp, located on the territory of the former military base. This camp was located on the territory occupied by Romanians, that is why there were no victims killed by bullets, as it was the case of the two ghettos located in the part of Bar occupied by Germans, except for some isolated shootings conducted by local police. The Jewish survivor witnessed a man being shot by a policeman in the camp. After the shooting, the policeman took his leather jacket. The Jewish inmates of the camp were given soup and were also allowed to leave the camp to look for food. As a result of hunger and inhumane living conditions, about 800 Jews perished in the camp. They were buried in the mass graves located in the garden. Today it is in the middle of the field without any memorial.  


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