Kupysche | Zhytomyr

/ Ivan B., born in 1928: “A group of Jews was left aside to transport the burned bodies and to cover the pit. But, once they had filled the pit almost to the top, they were ordered to get inside, and were shot with a gun.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Witness shows the place where he saw a German firing at the Jews inside the pit ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Yahad team with a witness at the execution site of the Hungarian Jews. The Jews were burned alive in the kolkhoz stables. Those who tried to escape were shot with sub machine guns. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of the Hungarian Jews in Kupysche

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Horse stable
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Between 600 and 800

Witness interview

Ivan B., born in 1928, says: “In the morning, I went to the where the fire had taken place. There were still some pieces of wood burning, everything was smoldered. The group of Jews whom the Germans had left alive carried charred bodies, and I was looking for objects in the ashes. I wanted to find a knife. Later a German, guarding the Jews, saw me and said in German "Zurück kinder!” I moved away and stopped near the barn where the kolkhoz wheat was stored. I decided to return when they were done burying the bodies. Then other kids joined me. Then, the Germans shot those Jews requisitioned to fill the ditch. As soon as they had filled it to about two-thirds, they were told to go down into the pit and were shot there. Then the soldiers filled the pit the rest of the way.” (Testimony n°1631, interviewed in Kupysche, on April 22nd, 2013)

Historical note

Kupysche is a village located 93km north of Zhytomyr. The first written documentation of this village dates back to 1694. There were no Jews living in the village before the war. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kupysche was occupied in August 1942. In 1943, the 2nd Hungarian army was relocated to the region to fight against the partisan movement. Hungarian Jews were brought to Kupysche in July-August 1942 to be used as “live shields” for the Hungarian army and as forced labor to dig ditches and restore roads or railways. According to historical documents, the majority of Jews were detained in the hospital building and a small part in the horse stables located nearby. They were surrounded by a fence and barbed wire.  Due to horrible working conditions, lack of food, and other cruel and inhumane treatment, many forced laborers died from starvation or typhus. On April 29th, 1943, between 600 and 800 Jews detained in the barn were burned alive in the night. 

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