Berestiahy (Berestiagui) | Kirovohrad

/ Mykola K., born in 1936: “In autumn, probably in October, one day at dawn, local Jews were shot in a cold cellar. It was my father who told us that our Jewish neighbors had just been shot. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Oleksander S., born in 1928: “All the Jews were mainly involved in trade. Of course, they had vegetable gardens   and worked on them as well.”   ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Oleksander S., born in 1928: “The Jew who grazed pigs for the collective farm was also taken. He was carrying a 2 year old child in his arms. They were shot in the quarry by the local policemen.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with a witness during an interview in his house. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with a witness visiting the sites. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The location of the mass grave. Back then it was a clay quarry. Seven Jews and dozens of POWs were killed and buried here. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A drone view at the former clay quarry, abandoned today. The victims’ bodies were reburied in the center of the village. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykola K., born in 1936: “In 1948, the bodies of Jews and Soviet soldiers, buried in the same quarry but in separate graves, were exhumed and reburied in a common grave in the center of the village.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The memorial where seven Jews and dozens POWs were reburied in 1948. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Berestiahy

1 Execution site(s)

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

Witness interview

Mykola K., born in 1936: “In autumn, probably in October, at dawn one day, local Jews were shot in a cold cellar. It was my father who told us that our Jewish neighbors had just been shot. Anna, daughter of Nus, didn’t look at all Jewish, and when the executioners came for her at home (not on the day of the shooting), she ran away to my future wife’s family, who lived nearby. My future mother-in-law was peeling potatoes and Anna started to do the same, holding my future wife in her arms. When the executioners came for her, the family didn’t turn her in. Anna survived the war and later moved to Vinnytsia. She would occasionally come to the village.” (Testimony n°2864U, interviewed in Berestiahy, on November 23, 2020)

Soviet archives

"In February 1942, seven Jews, including three men, two women and two children, were shot by Ukrainian police led by inspector Tch. and German gendarmes." [Source: A.Kruglov, A.Umansky, I.Shchupak, Holocaust in Ukraine, 2016, p. 351]

Historical note

Berestiahy is a small village, located 70 km (43mi) southwest of Uman. A very small Jewish community lived there before the war. According to local witnesses, only ten Jewish families lived in the village, while the majority of Jews lived in the nearby Jewish colony of Khaschuvate. The main occupation of Jews was agriculture. One Jewish man called Ditlovich had a shop. One of the witnesses interviewed by Yahad had Jewish neighbors, the Nus family. He had two sons, Moshko and Bronyk, and a daughter whose name was Gyunda, or Anna, born in 1917. For religious the holidays, or if they needed the services of a ritual slaughterhouse, the Jews would go to Khaschuvate. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Berestiahy was occupied on July 29, 1941. From the few Jewish families who lived in the village, only a fraction remained during the occupation, while others fled before the Germans arrived. Even though the Jews continued to live in their homes, their rights were restricted, as Jewish children no longer attended school at that time.

According to the available historical sources, an execution of seven local Jews took place in February 1942. Unfortunately, the testimonies gathered did not help us understand how the execution was carried out, but according to the two witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the victims were rounded up at dawn by policemen and taken to the execution site, located on the outskirts of the village. The victims, all members of the Nus’ family, were shot by a police chief native to Haivoron. In 1948, all the bodies were reburied at the central square alongside soldiers killed in battle. One young Jewish woman survived the shooting, thanks to some locals who hid her. She was the Nus’s daughter, and her name was Gyunda, or Anna as she was later known.

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