2 Execution site(s)
Olga B., born in 1926: “When the Germans arrived, the Jews were persecuted and humiliated. When a Jew was caught at the market without special authorization, for example, he was forced to eat everything he had bought. He had no other choice than to eat everything, even if it was raw. I didn’t see the Jews being shot at the quarry, but I did see them being shot at the cemetery. The shootings at the cemetery were conducted in late 1942-1943. A friend of mine, Dora Markuli, who managed to escape to the forest where she stayed in hiding with other six girls, was caught in 1943 and shot at the cemetery. She had been denounced. She wasn’t forced to undress before being killed. She was shot fully clothed.” (Witness n°659U, interviewed in Smotrych, on August 14, 2008)
“On May 25, 1944, the county commission (…) examined the murder and shooting site of the civilian residents of Smotrich County. Two mass graves that were located almost in the center of Smotrich were opened. The opening of the first grave that measured 9x2x1m, revealed a total of 40 bodies lying in complete disorder, in various positions, some were vertical, some horizontal. The clothing had been partially preserved and most of the bodies were preserved, [but] it was impossible to identify the murder victims. [The bodies] display traces of physical violence, often there are heads with broken jaws. The age of the victims varies from that of adults to children.
In the second grave, the bodies are lightly covered with earth. Due to the rapid decomposition of the bodies, it was not possible to establish the [gender] composition or the number of the victims.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on May 25, 1944; TsGAOOU 166-3-215]
Smotrych is a small town located in the Dunayivtsi district, 33 km (22mi) north of Kamianets-Podilsky. Until 1795, it had been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but it was then taken over by the Russian Empire. The first records of Jewish community go back to the early 18th century. In 1765, 375 Jews lived in the town, and by 1847, the Jewish community had grown and numbered 1,274 individuals. In 1897, the community comprised 40% of the total population. The majority of the local Jews worked as merchants, mainly of agricultural goods, and artisans. There were at least nine synagogues and prayer houses, cheders and Yeshiva schools.During the civil war, the Jewish community suffered greatly from the pogroms. During the 1920s the cheders were closed and all religious and youth movements were forbidden. In 1930, a Jewish kolkhoz [collective farm] was established. The previously independent artisans were forced to enter cooperatives. On the eve of the war, in 1939, 1,075 Jews remained in the town, comprising only 19% of the total population.
Smotrych was occupied by Germans on July 9, 1942. The shootings of the Jews started shortly after. During the first days of occupation, about 40 Jews were shot in the center of Smotrych. According to witnesses interviewed by Yahad - In Unum, one Jew was killed the moment he went out of his house to greet the Germans. The shootings continued through August 1941. According to local witnesses, about twenty Jews were shot in the river. On September 1, 1941, a mass execution took place. Women, children and elderly people were selected and taken outside the town to the quarry where they were murdered. The shooting was most probably conducted by Einzatgruppe C. The remaining 700 Jews were transferred to Kamianets-Podilskyi. They were murdered in late autumn 1942 along with other Jews of the district.
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