1 Execution site(s)
Uliana P., born in 1928: “Some Jews managed to evacuate before the Germans’ arrival. They must have known that something bad would happen to them, that’s why they left. Those who didn’t have money stayed. When the Romanians arrived a big column of Jews was brought here. They were brought from Bershad, but I don’t know exactly where they came from. They passed by the village. There were women, men, children, and elderly people among them. They were carrying little bundles of belongings and looked exhausted.” (Witness n°2695U, interviewed in Nova Obodivka, on October 31, 2019)
Kryzhopil is located 117km(73mi) southeast of Vinnytsia. The town was created in 1866 when a railway station was built there. By 1897, Kryzhopil was home to 688 Jews, out of a total population of 1,126. The railway made a massive contribution to the development of the town and rise of the Jewish population, who mainly lived off trade. The majority of inns, shops, and warehouses were owned by the Jews. Some Jews were artisans, such as tailors, carpenters, and shoemakers. At the beginning of the 20th century there were two synagogues, a Jewish cemetery and a Jewish school that was closed in the 1930s. Many Jewish children went to the Ukrainian school. In 1917 and 1919, the Jewish community suffered from pogroms, with left dozens of victims killed. Under Soviet rule, private businesses were banned and Jewish artisans were forced to reunite in the workshops, known as artils. In 1923, 1,360 people out of a population of 2,700 were Jewish. By 1926, the Jewish community represented half of the total population. In 1931, a Jewish kolkhoz was created. On the eve of the war, 37% of the total population was Jewish.
Kryzhopil was occupied by German and Romanian forces on July 22, 1941. 14 Jews were almost immediately selected and murdered. The village was taken over by the Romanians and became part of the administrative region of Transnistria from September 1941. Shortly after, an open ghetto was established in the area where the majority of Jews lived before the occupation. All the Jews were forced to move there without exception. They were marked with yellow distinguishing badges and forced to carry out forced labor, including cleaning cesspools, street cleaning, loading timber, and rubble dismantling. At the end of 1941 about 200 Jews, - men, women, and children among them - were brought in from Bessarabia and Bukovina. First, they were taken to the yard of a Jewish school and then resettled in the ghetto alongside the locals. Kryzhopil served as a transit point for many thousands of Jews deported to Transnistria. They were placed in the large building of the railway Klub, where many of them died of typhus.
In the summer of 1942, the ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire. In 1943, according to historians, 1,200 local Jews and 74 Jewish deportees from Bessarabia and Bukovina remained in the ghetto. The majority of these Jews managed to survive, often with the help of the local villagers. Those who died were buried at the Jewish cemetery.
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