Yarmolyntsi (Iarmonytsi, Iarmolintsy) | Khmelnytskyi

/ in 1929: "The pit was located behind the barracks, which became a coal depot for the military base. The pit wasn’t far from those barracks. Well, maybe it was fifty meters away." ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Maria born in 936: “I was herding cows on that side of the pond and could see the jews working. There were men, women and even teenagers among them.” ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Father Patrick Desbois in Yarmolyntsi collecting the oral memory about what happened to the Jews there during WWII. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Antonia V., born in 922, was forced to dig the pond and clean the turbines alongside the Jews. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Nadia P., born in 1925: “Some [Jews] managed to escape - poor things! - while others could not. Anyone who could ran away, but anyone who couldn’t stayed. They didn’t expect... Nobody expected the Germans to stay so long.” ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Mykhailo K., born in 1930: “The Jews from Yarmolyntsi and Frampol were brought here to dig the pond. Once the pond was dug, they were shot.” ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Olga S., born in 1933: “They were guarded while they were in the barracks. I don’t think they were guarded on their way there. They certainly weren’t told where they were being taken or why. They had their things with them.” ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Un The pond where the Jews were massacred in the autumn of 1942. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad – In Unum Current view of the military barrack where the Jews from Yarmolyntsi and other nearby towns were held before being murdered. ©Taken from Internet

Execution of Jews in Yarmolyntsi

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Pits near the military barracks
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Ca 1,000

Witness interview

Mykola Kh., born in 1929: "Y. U. : Were the Yarmolyntsi Jews also taken to these barracks?
Witness: Of course. First, all the Jews were taken to the barracks. Then they were taken out in groups of 50 people, and led to the pit. They must have shot about three thousand people there.
Y. U. Did the Germans take the Jews to the barracks as soon as they arrived?
Witness: No, the Germans arrived in 1941, and they only took the Jews [from Yarmolyntsi to the barracks] in 1942. However, the Germans who arrived first killed any Jew they crossed on the spot. They must have killed about ten people in this way. As soon as they saw a Jew, they [would kill him].
Y. U. Where were these ten Jews killed, in the street?
Witness: They killed them wherever they saw them. As soon as they saw one of them, they asked him, "Jude?" and they shot him.
Y. U. Did they bury them?
Witness: Yes, the Jews themselves buried them, because at that time the Jews could still move around freely. Then they were taken to work. They were forced to dig a pond three kilometers from here. They were given numbers [on their clothes], and they were taken to work. Around October 1942, their neighborhood was fenced in with barbed wire." (Witness n°595, interviewed in Yarmolyntsi, on May 23, 2008)

Soviet archives

“In late October 1942, on the orders of Gebietskommissar Emil Mertes, the [Jewish] population of Yarmolintsy, Mikhalpol, and Gorodok counties who had been held in the camp were taken with their belongings and put into a three-story building in the area of the military barracks located at the Yarmolintsy railway station. According to testimonies of eyewitnesses, over 14,000 men, women, and children of different ages were forced into this building and held under guard for 3 days without being given anything to eat or drink. After three days of [confinement] many committed suicide, throwing themselves from the third floor or hanging themselves on the windows; among them were three doctors. The German executioners took men, women, and children in groups of 50 to the pits that had been prepared beforehand by [Ukrainian auxiliary] policemen in the area of the military barracks on the pretext that they are being taken to drink water, then they [the Jews] were forced to strip naked, crowded into the pit, and forced to lie face down. The German executioners the walked back and forth along a plank placed over the pit and shot the victims. Over 14,000 civilians – men, women, children, and Soviet POWs were shot to death, and all their belongings and valuables were looted and taken to Germany.” [ Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on June 20, 1944; GARF 7021-64]

Historical note

Yarmolyntsi is located 30 km (19mi) southwest of Khmelnytskyi. Founded in 1400, the first record of the Jewish community dates back to the early 18th century. According to the census in 1897, 50% of the population was Jewish, with 2,633 Jews living in Yarmolyntsi. In 1919, during the Civil War, a pogrom was carried out in the town. In the 1920s and 1930s, Yarmolyntsi had a Jewish rural council and a Jewish kolkhoz [collective farm]. Jews who were not involved in agriculture lived off the small-scale trade and handicraft. On the eve of war, only 1,264 Jews lived in Yarmolyntsi due to relocation of many locals to bigger towns for more security and economic stability. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Yarmolyntsi was occupied by German forces on July 8, 1941. The following day, on July 9, 16 local Jews were arrested and murdered in the vegetable garden. The bodies were buried in a pit dug afterwards by a requisitioned man. Shortly afterwards, the remaining Jews were marked with distinguishing yellow badges, but continued to live in their houses until June 1942 when a fenced ghetto was created. In 1942, a group of Jews fit to work was transferred to the labor camp in Lezneve, today part of the city of Khmelnytskyi.

In September or October, 900 Jewish inmates from the ghetto were taken to be shot while others were transferred to the military area near the Yarmolyntsi railway station located 4 km southwest of the town. Alongside the Yarmolyntsi Jews, the Jews from Horodok, Sharivka, Sataniv, Kuzmyn, Mykhailivka, Frampil and Kupyn were also taken to the military barracks. The territory of the barracks was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by local police. After three days without food or water and subjected to inhumane living conditions, the inmates were taken in groups of fifty to the pits dug not far away where they were shot to death by the Germans. According to one testimony, a group of Jews put up an armed resistance for about three days, during which they killed 16 Ukrainian auxiliary policemen and 5 SS men.

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