Velyka Kyryivka | Vinnytsia

Execution of Jews in Velyka Kyryivka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Beet storage pits
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Several hundred

Witness interview

Lidia M., born in 1933: "During the war, numerous Jews were brought to our village and confined in the kolkhoz barn. In winter, I often played with the Jewish children. While Ukrainian children enjoyed sledding, the Jewish children would frequently venture out of the barn to join us. Occasionally, I would enter the barn to deliver food prepared by my mother. However, as time passed, the Jewish children grew too frail from malnutrition and the harsh living conditions to venture outside. Furthermore, a typhus epidemic swept through the village, claiming the lives of many. As I interacted regularly with the Jews, I also contracted typhus, but fortunately, I managed to recover in time. Sadly, the Jewish children lacked the strength to overcome the illness, and many died.” (Testimony N°YIU501U, interviewed in Velyka Kyryivka, on July 22, 2007)

Historical note

Velyka Kyryivka is located approximately 146 km (91 mi) southeast of Vinnytsia. There is little Information about the Jewish community residing in Velyka Kyryivka before the war. According to local residents interviewed by Yahad, the village was primarily home to Ukrainians, with agriculture being the main occupation. A larger Jewish community resided in the nearby town of Bershad, situated approximately 7 km (4 mi) away.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Velyka Kyryivka fell under the occupation of German and Romanian forces in late July 1941, remaining under Romanian control and becoming part of Transnistria by September of the same year. Subsequently, a Romanian administration and a Ukrainian police unit were established in Velyka Kyryivka. The Bug River delineated the border with the German-occupied territories.

Beginning in autumn 1941, several hundred Jews from Bukovina and Bessarabia were gradually deported to Velyka Kyryivka and confined in a barn belonging to a local kolkhoz (collective farm), under the supervision of Romanians and local policemen. Lacking basic amenities, the Jewish detainees had only straw on the floor for bedding. Furthermore, they endured systematic theft by local policemen, including the extraction of gold teeth. Despite movement restrictions, some Jews managed to venture into the village to trade their valuables and clothing for food with local residents. Some found refuge in the homes of local inhabitants in exchange for their services as craftsmen.

The harsh living conditions, food shortages, sporadic killings, and especially the typhus epidemic that ravaged during the winter of 1941-1942, resulted in the deaths of numerous Jews. The victims’ bodies were transported by carts to a nearby field, where they were interred in several beet storage pits by requisitioned locals. Additionally, some victims were buried near the orthodox cemetery. Approximately one year before the war’s end, all remaining Jews were reportedly removed from Velyka Kyryivka, presumably for execution or deportation to German-occupied territories.

The Yahad team managed to locate a burial site at the former beet storage pits. There is currently no memorial to commemorate the victims who died in Velyka Kyryivka.

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