Kulchyny (Kulchiny) | Khmelnytskyi 

/ / The Yahad research team interviewing Nina P. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Nina P., born in 1933: “I didn’t have any Jewish neighbors, but that two story house across the road is a Jewish house. There were Jewish houses at the edge of the village, but mostly they lived in that circle. There were a lot of them. ”. ©Les Kasyanov/Y Nina P., born in 1933: “A Jewish woman was killed when the column was passing by, it was an old woman who couldn’t walk anymore. She had a colorful hankerchief. Many elderly people were shot dead in that way.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The former Polish cemetery where the Jewish children were shot. The forest has taken over the cemetery. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The memorial in the old cemetery dedicated to the three Jewish children shot here by local Ukrainian police. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The memorial with the names of the victims. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kulchyny

1 Execution site(s)

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

Witness interview

Nina P., born in 1933: “Y.U.: How long did it take to transfer the Jews to Manivtsi? A single day or longer?
W: It took several days. When the column of Jews from Krasyliv was passing by, one Jewish man was being dragged along by his hands, but he could not go on, so they shot him on the side of the road and the column went on. I don’t know who and how cleaned up the body. They killed him so that he would not slow the column down.
Y. U.: Were the columns long?
W: Yes, there were a lot of people.
Y. U.: A hundred people? More? Less?
W: I can’t say how many. It was a column of people.
Y. U.: Were they all walking?
W: Yes.
Y.U.: And who was leading them? W: The Schutzmann. The Germans didn’t do it, only the Schutzmann.
Y. U.: And were the Schutzmanns also on foot?
W: I think they were on horseback.
Y. U.: You said that the column of the Jews was long. How many Schutzmanns were there? - There were two to four.” (Witness n°2913U, interviewed in Kulchiny, on July 13, 2021)

Soviet archives

“In the summer of 1942, Germans and policemen from the town of Antoniny arrived in our village. Myself and other cart-drivers were forced to come to the village center, to the Jewish ghetto, with our carts. That day the Germans and policemen had driven all the Jews out of the ghetto to the square. Those able to walk on their own were lined up. The elderly, sick, and little children were put onto carts. I had children and elderly people on my cart. The Germans and policemen led the column and carts from the Kulchiny and to the outskirts of the village of Manivtsy. […] There was a labor camp nearby. Soviet civilians of Jewish nationality who had been taken to that camp from Kulchiny were put into cattle sheds. We, the cart-drivers, were sent back to Kulchiny while the policemen, including P., remained on site. All the Soviet civilians of Jewish nationality who had been taken from Kulchiny and from other areas were shot the next day by the Germans near Manivtsy.” [From a deposition of a local requisitioned villager, Vladimir P., in the framework of the process against former policeman Nikita P., conducted on January 18, 1979; SBU State Security Archives, Khmelnitsky branch]

Historical note

Kulchyny is a village in the Khmelnytskyi region, western Ukraine, located 50 km north of Khmelnytsky itself. It was founded sometime in the 15th century. The first record of the Jewish community goes back to the 18th century. In 1847, 1,281 Jews lived in Kulchyny. By 1897, the community had grown and represented almost the half of the total population, 47%. The Jews worked in many different domains: they owned shops, worked at the market, the kolkhoz [collective farm], the mill or the post office, they were carpenters, tailors, or tinsmiths. In 1926, 923 Jews lived in the village. Many Jews relocated to bigger towns due to insecurity following the pogroms carried out in the region during the Civil War (1918-1920). The village was also the center of a Jewish selsoviet [rural administration] in the 1930s. In 1931, 1,060 Jews lived in Kulchyny, but the population decreased during the Holodomor famines (1932-1933). More fled right before the occupation in 1941, leaving about 400 Jews in Kulchyny at the start of the occupation.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Germans occupied Kulchyny in mid-July 1941. In the following months, a series of anti-Jewish measures were implemented. Jews were marked with yellow badges, prohibited from leaving the town’s limits and were subjected to forced labour. In addition, Jews were victims of robberies and humiliations at the hands of the Germans and the Ukrainian police.

In early 1942, a closed ghetto was established in Kulchyny. It was surrounded by barbed wire. Between 400 and 500 Jews lived in the ghetto, some of them probably transferred in from nearby villages such as Kuzmyn. Anyone caught trying to escape from the ghetto were shot. Sometimes, they were taken in groups to perform forced labour by the Germans and the Ukrainian policemen. Part of the ghetto’s population was resettled into a labour camp in Orlyntsi in May 1942.

In August, or in September according to a different source, 1942, the ghetto in Kulchyny was liquidated. All the remaining Jews in the Kulchyny ghetto were taken by the German Gendarmerie and Ukrainian police to Manivtsi to be shot. Those unable to walk were put in carts. Any Jews attempting to escape were shot on the spot. Artisans and their families who were spared at first were shot a month later at the same site. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad, some Jews managed to hide and were helped by the local population. A witness interviewed by Yahad’s team explained that the Ukrainian grandmother of some children tried to save them by baptizing them, but they were found, shot and thrown in a pit in the old Polish cemetery, even though they were only half Jewish. Today, there is a monument in the memory of Boris, Lena and Liza Vatazhuk murdered on December 12, 1943.

For more information about the killings in Manivtsi, please refer to the corresponding profile.

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