Sobolivka (Sobolevka) | Vinnytsia

/ Maria Sh., born in 1925: “In 1942, the Jews able to work were transferred to the village of Haysyn and subjected to forced labor on the road construction. They had to wear the Star of David on their clothes.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Anatoliy Ch., born in 1925: “I used to take the Ukrainians to the labor camp in Haysyn, where they stayed for 10 days before being replaced. Jewish workers, for their part, weren’t allowed to be replaced.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Andrey S., born in 1929: “I saw the column of Jews being marched to the execution site. It was escorted by the Germans with dogs and local policemen. The guards chased away anyone who tried to approach.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Ivan F., born in 1933: “The entire family of my best Jewish friend was executed in Sobolivka. He was the only one who managed to survive. I saw their pit one week after the massacre. It was long and large.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Jewish cemetery of Sobolivka. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Sobolivka

1 Sitio(s) de ejecución

Tipo de lugar antes:
Período de ocupación:
Número de víctimas:
Between 300 and 382

Entrevista del testigo

Maria Sh., born in 1925: "A family of Jewish tailors, the Dorfmans, lived in Sobolivka. I went to school with their three daughters, Rosa, Sarah, and Lysia. In 1986, on my way to the village administration office, I met Lysia! I didn’t recognize her at first, and neither did she. In fact, I thought they had all died during the war! We started talking, and she told me the incredible story of their survival. Their eldest brother was mobilized when the war started, while the rest of the family stayed in the town. The day before the punitive detachment arrived, their parents went to the nearby village of Bridok to exchange their sewing machine for food. Their three daughters were at home when they heard screams and dogs barking. They hid in the attic, taking the ladder with them. The Germans entered the house and began firing randomly into the attic, but failed to hit the girls. At night, they went downstairs and decided to separate, as it was too dangerous to stay together. Sarah managed to get an embroidered shirt, skirt, and scarf from a friend of hers to look like a Ukrainian woman. This enabled her to reach the Bershad ghetto, located in Romanian-occupied territory. There, Jews were subjected to forced labor, but not shot. Rosa and Lysia hid in a chicken coop in the neighboring village. In the morning, they were found by the guardian who realized that they were Jewish children and, after giving them some food, advised them to go to Bershad too. On their way, the girls met their school teacher, who was happy to see them, but at the same time frightened. He gave them his sister’s Ukrainian clothes, and they continued on their way. As for the parents, when they learned that the shooting had taken place, they were devastated, believing their children to be dead. They couldn’t go home and went to Bershad too. It was in this Bershad ghetto that they all met! That’s how they survived the war. In 1944, when Sobolivka was liberated, Sarah joined the army where she read a newspaper article about her brother, who became a war hero. After the war, they all ended up in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. According to Lysia, it's a miracle from God that the whole family survived the war." (Testimony N°YIU1224U, interviewed in Sobolivka, on May 31, 2011)

Archivos soviéticos

"On February 27, 1942, in the village of Sobolevka [today Sobolivka], on the orders of the head of the German Feld gendarmerie, R***, an atrocious crime was committed: a mass shooting of 382 civilian inhabitants of the village of Sobolevka, including 90 men, 150 women and 142 children. The bodies of those brutally killed are buried in the forest of Dolzhok, located between the villages of Sobolevka and Velyka Mochulka." [Act drawn by State Extraordinary Soviet Commission (ChGK), on November 15, 1944, p.159; GARF 7021-54-1237/ Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

Nota histórica

Sobolivka, situated approximately 115 km (71 mi) southeast of Vinnytsia, boasts a rich history. According to local lore, the village traces its origins to the great pagan town of Soboliv, established by the Boug Cossacks to fortify the region against Tatar incursions. However, this settlement suffered total devastation at the hands of the Tatars, leading to its eventual reconstruction as the new village of Sobolivka, under the patronage of the Polish Counts Pototsky.

With the Second Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1793, Sobolivka was integrated into the Russian Empire, marking a new chapter in its history. The emergence of a Jewish community in Sobolivka can be traced back to the latter half of the 18th century. By the 1897 census, the village boasted a substantial Jewish population of 1,121 individuals, comprising nearly 19.5% of the total populace. Among the prominent features of Jewish life were the presence of a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery, and a Yiddish school. Economic life was predominantly steered by the Jewish populace, who thrived in commerce and artisanal pursuits, often owning and managing the town's businesses.

However, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Sobolivka endured attacks and looting during the Russian Civil War. Despite this, the Jewish population remained resilient, with 1,168 residents recorded in the town by 1926. The Soviet era ushered in a period of profound societal transformation, marked by the establishment of cooperatives for artisans. This transition saw some Jews segue into employment within the local sugar refinery and Jewish kolkhoz (later merged with Ukrainian kolkhoz in 1934), while others found opportunities in government service. The 1920s and 1930s witnessed a gradual decline in the Jewish population as many sought greater economic stability in larger urban centers, leading to a census count of 434 Jews in Sobolivka by 1939. In the same year, amidst the turmoil of German-occupied territories, Sobolivka welcomed an influx of Jewish refugees from Poland.

Holocausto por balas en cifras

Before German troops entered Sobolivka, a significant portion of the Jewish population had been mobilized into the Red Army, while others sought refuge by evacuating to the East. By July 28, 1941, only around 400 Jewish residents remained in the town at the moment the German occupation began. Following a brief stint of military administration, the town transitioned to German civil rule in the fall of 1941. This shift saw the establishment of a Kommandantur, overseen by a German Kommandant, alongside the appointment of a Ukrainian administrative head known as the Starosta, and the creation of a Ukrainian police unit.

In September 1941, Sobolivka witnessed the establishment of a ghetto within the Jewish quarter, situated on Lenina Street, housing the local Jewish populace. Ghetto inhabitants were compelled to wear distinctive symbols bearing the Star of David and were strictly prohibited from venturing beyond its confines. Subsequently, in April 1942, approximately 100 Jews considered fit for labor were transferred to the Haysyn labor camp, where they endured forced labor on the DGIV highway. Tragically, the remaining ghetto inmates, predominantly comprising women, children, and the elderly, fell victim to a ruthless Aktion orchestrated on May 27, 1942, by German forces from Haysyn, with the assistance of local policemen. The victims were herded in columns to a nearby forest, where they were forced to strip before being mercilessly gunned down and deposited into a pre-dug pit. Soviet archives indicate that 382 Jews perished in Sobolivka on May 27, 1942, potentially encompassing all Jewish executions conducted within the village during the occupation. To honor the memory of these victims, a commemoration is held annually in Sobolivka.

Despite the horrors inflicted upon them, a handful of local Jews managed to survive by seeking refuge in the Bershad ghetto with the aid of sympathetic locals. Situated on Romanian-occupied territory, the Bershad ghetto inhabitants were subjected to forced labor but were spared from immediate execution.


Pueblos cercanos

  • Sobolivka
  • Kiblych
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