Shapovalivka (Borzna) | Chernihiv

/ Typical ambiance of the village. A brick barn. © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Nadia Y., born in 1925: “When I came with my cousin to take a look at the mass grave, we saw the corpses. I remember seeing babies wrapped in scarves and attached to their mothers.”   © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Oksenia K., born in 1929: “When my father was walking on the street, he was told that the Jews had been taken and were about to be killed. All the Jews took their valuables because they were told they would be relocated somewhere.” © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-I Nadia Y. leads the Yahad team to the execution site © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum The monument in the memory of 108 Borzna Jews murdered by the Nazis © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of the Borzna Jews in Shapovalivka

1 Execution site(s)

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

Witness interview

Nadia Y., born in 1925, recounts: “We didn’t see the shooting nor hear the shots because they were shot during the night. The place where they were shot is located on the outskirts of the village, close to the road leading to Borzna. People were saying that they were Jews from Borzna. They were shot in the anti-tank ditches. Before the Germans arrived, all the villagers were requisitioned to dig the ditches in order to prevent the German tanks from moving forward. Me also, I went to dig the ditch with my mom.” (Testimony n°1994, interviewed in Shapovalivka, on December 1, 2015)

Soviet archives

“108 Jews from Borzna were assassinated near the village of Shapovalivka.” [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary Commission, drawn up in 1944 ; RG.22 .002M, Fond 7021, Opis 78, Delo 34]

Historical note

Shapovalivka is located 85km southeast of Chernihiv. There were no Jews in the village before the war. The Jewish community lived in the near the town of Borzna, located 11km west of Shapovalivka. The first Jewish settlements in Borzna dated back to the 17th century, but were completely destroyed in 1648. From the mid-18th to 19th century, the Jewish community grew to 1,516 people, comprising 12% of total population. There was a Jewish cemetery, a synagogue, a mikvah and a Yiddish school, opened under the Soviets. The majority of the Jews were involved in trade or worked as artisans in garment manufacturing. Due to several waves of pogroms carried out in 1881 and 1919, the Jewish population decreased. On the eve of the war, there were only 326 Jews (3% of the total population) living in the town.

Borzna was occupied by the German army on September 11, 1941. Half of the prewar Jews managed to flee to the east. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the Germans’ arrival, all Jews were registered, marked with armbands and subjected to forced labor.

The Jews were able to continue living normally in their houses until November 1941 when they were relocated to an open ghetto. Some Jews from Borzna were shot by Germans at that time in an unknown location. The remaining Jews were murdered in February 1942 during the liquidation of the ghetto carried out by Germans with the help of local police. According to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were forced to climb over the embankment and someone fired at them with sub machine guns. All their belongings and valuables were looted by police. 

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