Tarasivka (Tarasowka) | Vinnytsia

/ Solovey K., born in 1930: “The Jews were confined to the kolkhoz barns, surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by Lithuanians. Camp inmates bartered with the locals, exchanging clothing and other objects for food.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Feodosia T., born in 1928: “I remember a Jewish woman being shot dead by a policeman as she approached the camp fence to pick up a cucumber thrown by a local woman.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Olga P., born in 1930: “Once, a Jewish woman, who had strayed a little from her place of work on the road, was killed by the guards who thought she was escaping. Her body was buried near the road by two Jewish men.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Dmytro S., born in 1928: “A young Jewish girl, aged 16 or 17, managed to hide during the shooting. The next day, as she tried to come out of hiding, she was seen by the Lithuanian guards and shot dead.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Nina K., born in 1934: “After the shooting it was forbidden to approach the pit. So I went to see it a week later. It was already filled in and there was a pile of ashes next to it, left over from burned clothes.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Maria S., born in 1932: “After the war, the victims’ bodies buried in the forest were exhumed and transferred to the mass grave near the barns. It is there that an annual commemoration ceremony is held.”  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of the Jewish labor camp detainees. The memorial plaque is dedicated to 644 URRS, Polish and Romanian citizens murdered by the Nazi Germans in December 1943. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Tarasivka

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Orchard (1); Field (2); Potato storage pit (3)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Solovey K., born in 1930: "Over a year after the Germans arrived, a Jewish labor camp was established in Tarasivka. Initially, Ukrainian Jews were the first to be brought to the village, followed a month later by Romanian Jews. The camp detainees were confined to separate barns within the kolkhoz, encircled by barbed wire and monitored by Lithuanian policemen in military uniforms. Daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding Sundays), Jews undertook forced labor in road construction, working until 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Notably, children under 15 were spared from this. While some detainees remained within the camp to ensure its upkeep, others, in columns of 50 or 60 people each, were escorted by Lithuanians to their designated work areas on the road. Once there, the Jews were assigned various tasks, often enduring cruel beatings at the hands of the Lithuanian guards during their labor." (Testimony N°YIU1202U, interviewed in Tarasivka on May 24, 2011)

German archives

"One day in December 1943, all the Jews from the Tarasivka camp were executed. The day before the Aktion, E. returned to Tarasivka and announced that there would be no Aktion. The Jews, who had previously believed an Aktion was imminent, were reassured. The following night, M., B., and I were awakened by gunshots in our neighborhood. M. immediately went to the camp, thinking it was a Jew who had been shot while going to the toilet by a Lithuanian guard. From then on, we knew that the Aktion was imminent. At dawn the next day, several trucks carrying battalions of Lithuanian police arrived in Tarasivka from Haysyn. Later, two SD members accompanied by a civilian arrived in a special vehicle. After receiving round up orders from L., the Jews were marched out from the camp. They were taken to the pits which L. had previously ordered to be dug. There, all the Jews were shot by SD members armed with submachine guns. I didn’t witness the mass execution, but I was later told that the Jews had to undress before lying down in the pit to be shot. In total, 320 Jews were killed." [Deposition of Gustav M., Dohrmann’s employee, made in Remscheid, on September 24, 196…, BARch162-6150, p.64-66]

Historical note

Tarasivka, situated approximately 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Vinnytsia, was founded in 1933 as part of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, there is limited information available regarding the Jewish residents of Tarasivka. However, it is noteworthy that a significant Jewish community once thrived in the neighboring town of Haysyn, which is located just 8 km (5 mi) to the west.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Tarasivka fell under German occupation on July 25, 1941. During the summer of 1942, a Jewish labor camp was established in Tarasivka. Ukrainian Jews and individuals from the Romanian-occupied Transnistria region were transported to the village and confined within two separate kolkhoz barns, each encircled by barbed wire and guarded by 20 Lithuanian policemen assisted by some locals. Men, women, and children over 15 years old, comprising the Jewish workforce, were compelled to engage in forced labor for the construction of the DGIV highway, overseen by German engineers. A number of Jews succumbed to harsh living conditions, particularly malnutrition, and were fatally shot while performing forced labor. Sick inmates received care from Jewish doctors at the hospital within the camp, facilitated by humanitarian aid from abroad. If their health did not improve within three days, they faced execution. Starting in autumn 1942, Jews deemed unfit for work, notably women and the elderly, were taken to a nearby orchard and shot.

In August 1943, the camp expanded, absorbing Jewish workers transferred from the nearby village of Mykhailivka. The summer of 1943 witnessed the execution of several dozen camp detainees in a pit located in the field, approximately 500 meters from the camp.

The camp was liquidated during an Aktion conducted on December 10, 1943, orchestrated by two German SD members assisted by a squad of Lithuanian policemen from Haysyn. Between 320 and 400 remaining Jews were led out from the camp in groups of three and directed to a nearby potato storage pit, where they were forced to strip naked before being shot. Post-war research by Yahad indicates that victims from other mass graves, as well as those from isolated shootings, were exhumed and reburied in the potato storage pit, alongside the last victims executed during the camp’s liquidation. A monument commemorating the memory of 644 citizens from the USSR, Poland, and Romania now stands on the site of the mass grave.

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