Yemilchyne | Zhytomyr

/ Zinovia S., born in 1918: “Once I saw four Jewish men being driven to the edge of the river and forced to eat the grass like animals, then they went to the river to wash themselves”. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The former synagogue building.  ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum The execution site of about 500 Jews ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-in Unum

Execution of Jews in Yemilchyne

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Zinovia S., born in 1918, recalls: “Once, I saw four Jewish men driven to the edge of the river and forced to eat the grass like animals. Then they went to the river to wash themselves. Then they dug a pit, sat on both sides and were killed there” (Testimony n°1638, interviewed in Yemilchyne, on April 25th, 2013)

Soviet archives

“The German-fascist brigades shot 507 innocent civilians in the Yemilchyne district. The shooting was led by Police Chief Bernest B., the Gestapo representatives Freilikh L., Avgoust M., Adolf R. and others contributed to the shooting, following the instructions given to them.” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on June 4th, 1945; RG 22.002M7021-60-316]

German archives

"Before the arrival of the civilian administration in Yemilchyne in July-August 1941, many Jews lived in the region. Almost all of them were liquidated by an aktion perpetrated by the SS1 Infantry Brigade. At the end of July 1941, the brigade organized a raid, covering all the villages around Yemilchyne. The Jews were rounded up in a former Russian military barracks and then taken to the forest outside the city to be shot. In July-August 1941, several thousand Jews were shot. This shooting was perpetrated by the SS 1 Infantry Brigade.” [The closure rapport; B162-7362]

Historical note

Yemilchyne is located on the banks of the Ubort River, 115km northwest of Zhytomyr.  The first records of the Jewish community go back to the mid-19th century. The Jewish community was very important in the village. In 1897, 1,049 Jews lived in the village, representing 42% of total population. The Jews worked in small factories or on flax and hop plantation.  During the Russian Civil War the Jews suffered from frequent pogroms. There was a Yiddish Jewish school. There was also a synagogue, but it was destroyed at the beginning of WWII. Under Soviet rule, a kolkhoz named “Karl Marx” was created by two Jews in the village. Nevertheless, the majority of Jews were involved in small scaled trade and handcraft. Prior to war, 1,115 Jews lived in the village comprising 21% of the total population. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Yemilchyne was occupied by Nazis in early July 1941. One month after the Germans’ arrival, in August 1941, all the remaining Jews were gathered in a former Russian military barracks. After being held there for a while, they were taken to the forest to be shot. In all, 38 Jews were killed by the SS unit. It is possible that isolated shootings of the Jews who had been discovered in hiding took place. A local inhabitant interviewed by Yahad, happened to bear witness to such a killing. Before being killed, four Jews were forced to eat grass from the ground. After that, they had to dig a pit in which they were shot. 


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