2 Execution site(s)
Maria C. born in 1932: “Y. U.: And when did the shooting take place, right after the Germans came?
Witness: Some Jews were not killed right away. First they were forced to work, even if they already knew what would happen next. There was a rumor that the Germans wanted to destroy the whole Jewish race. The Jews had nowhere to go, they were hunted down everywhere. My father and other local residents were forced to dig graves. Later he came back and told my mother and I that the Jews had all been killed there, except for one, who had fled into the forest. There was also an old Jew who lived further away. He hung himself because he did not want to be shot. He said he preferred to carry out his death himself.” (Witness n°2939U, interviewed on August 24, 2021)
"In November 1941, German punitive units shot the inhabitants of Starochudnovskaya Guta, Dzerzhinsk district, Zhytomyr region. The shooting took place 20 meters from the local cemetery." [Act draw up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, GARF 7021-60-291, pp.39-40]
Starochudnivska Huta is a village located 40 km (25mi) west of Zhytomyr, in western Ukraine. Before the war, Ukrainians, Jews and Poles lived in the village and had good relations.
On June 22, 1941, the German army and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. The village was captured in early July 1941. German and Hungarian soldiers were stationed there. The military administration immediately established a starosta and three local policemen. During the occupation, the school continued to function and the children had to learn German. The Jews were able to continue living in their homes, but were subjected to various forms of hard labor. In November 1941, about 25 Jews from the village and its surroundings were taken to a field of the kolkhoz, near the Orthodox cemetery. On the site, requisitioned locals had to dig a pit. The Jews were forced to undress and were then executed in the same mass grave. Some Jews managed to escape the execution, including one boy who was later found and shot by a policeman near the cemetery fence.
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