1 Execution site(s)
Nina O., born in 1925: “If someone was shot but not killed, he wasn’t finished off. The Jews fell [into the pit] even if they were still alive and no-one finished them off. They would fall on top of another and suffocate in the pit. The children weren’t shot. The ones in their parents’ arms weren’t shot at all. They fell inside the pit together with their dead parents.
YIU: Were they shot fully dressed or undressed?
W: Yes, they had to strip down to their underwear. They weren’t naked.
YIU: Where did they put their clothes?
W: They put them on a pile which was taken away afterwards.
YIU: How were the clothes taken away?
W: They were put on a truck and taken to Germany afterwards. There, they would be given to the forced laborers transferred from the East. They needed to give them something to wear, so that is why the Germans took all the good clothing to Germany.” (Witness n°685U, interviewed in Mynkivtsi, on August 20, 2008)
"On August 31, 1941, with others, I was sent towards the eastern outskirts of the town of Minkovtsy. We didn’t know where or for what purpose we had been sent there. When we arrived at the shooting site, I saw those two pits about 8 meters long, 4 meters wide and 3 meters deep that had been prepared. The third pit had not yet been dug. When the shooting of the innocent Soviet civilians began, I was standing about 30-40 meters from the shooting site with the others. The shooting was carried out as follows: the people were taken close to the pit, they were made to take off their head coverings, shoes, and outer clothes and were ordered to lay in the pit face down. The Hitlerites shot those who were lying there with pistols. Then, in the same way, another layer of people was made to lie on top of the bodies of those already murdered, and then they were murdered as well… And then [the same thing was done with] a third layer - until the pit was full. When both pits were full, we were divided into groups and some of us were forced to cover the bodies, and some were forced to dig a third pit." [Testimony of a local requisitioned villager Andrei P***, given to the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, in June 1944; TsGAOOU 166-3-215]
Mynkivtsi is a small town located 80 km (50mi) north of Khmelnytskyi. The town was under the Polish rule until 1793, when it was taken over by the Russian Empire. The first Jews started to settle down in the town in the 18th century. The community grew and by 1897 had reached 2,196 individuals. The majority of Jews were either merchants or artisans, such as tailors, shoemakers and blacksmiths. Under the Soviet regime, a Jewish kolkhoz (collective farm) was created, but only a small number of Jews worked there. The artisans were forced to move to work in two cooperatives owned by the state. On the eve of the war in 1939, 1,635 Jews remained in the town, making up 46% of the total population.
Mynkivtsi was occupied by German forces on July 12, 1941. By that time a small number of Jews had managed to evacuate. Shortly after the occupation, the local Jews were registered and forced to hand over all their gold and valuables. They were often abused and humiliated, sometimes by being harnessed to carts and forced to pull heavy loads of stones to a hill located near the town and then back again. Jews from Kamianets-Podilsky, Lviv and Chernivtsi were transferred to Mynkivtsi. In August 1941, the mass execution was conducted by the Police Battalion 320. According to a German report, 2,200 jews were shot on August 30. Before the shooting, all the Jewish men, women, children, and elderly, were assembled at the marketplace. After a selection, during which the artisans were put aside, the remaining Jews were taken outside the town towards the ravine. Once there, the Jews were forced to strip down to their underwear, climb into the pit, and lie down facing the ground. They were killed with pistols and submachine guns in the nape of the neck. The pits - there were three of them - were filled in by requisitioned locals. According to the Soviet archives, a group of 25 young Jews who were selected to pick up the clothes remained alive. According to local testimonies, they were placed in a Jewish house alongside with the artisans. They were killed sometime later at the fat boiling site located beyond the northwest outskirts of the town. The remaining Jews, along with those found in hiding were apparently sent to Dunaiivtsi where they were murdered after a period of being subjected to hard labor.
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