Berdychiv


On July 7, 1941, Berdychiv was occupied by the Germans. Like other cities and areas of the former Soviet Union occupied by the germans during their offensive, the Berdychiv jewish population was also affected by the german hostility towards the Jews. The Jews were looted, subjected to spontaneous pogroms, forced to wear identification marks and forced to perform slave labor. As early as July 1941, the first executions of jews were carried out when about 850 jews (including Soviet prisoners of war) were murdered in a monastery farm in central Berdychiv. In July/August about 300 jews were murdered, and at the end of august another 550 jews were murdered.

At the end of August, a ghetto was set up in the poorest parts of the city, where about 18,000 Jews were forced to move. The ghetto was surrounded by barbed wire fences and Jews only with special passports certifying that they were working outside the ghetto were allowed to leave the ghetto. At the turn of the month august/september, about 1300 jews from the ghetto were taken away under the pretext that they would be taken away to work in agriculture. In their work, they were taken about five kilometers south of Berdychiv to a place between the villages of Bystrik and Khazin where they were murdered by Nazi assassinations and Ukrainian collaborators. The bodies were buried in pre-digged graves.

In mid-September, the nazi authorities decided that all jews in the ghetto not needed for slave labor would be murdered. The ghetto was surrounded by German police forces and Ukrainian collaborators and the Jews were forced out of their homes and gradually brought to the outskirts of a village called Lyubomyrka about five kilometers west of Berdychiv. The Jews were forced to give up their possessions and strip naked. They were then forced to excavated mass graves where they were shot by the murder units of Einsatzgruppe C and Ukrainian collaborators. During two days (15–16 september) about 18 500 jews were murdered. Only about 400 Jews needed for slave labor were spared.

By the end of October 1941, the Germans had arrested some 2,000 more Jews who had managed to hide under the murderous action of the previous month and imprisoned them in a monastery farm in central Berdychiv. Of these, about 150 were selected for slave labor while the others were taken away by trucks to Sokulino about five kilometers west of Berdychiv. The procedure was the same as before that the Jews were forced to undress and run up to excavated graves where they were shot.

In November 1941, the ghetto was dismantled and the remaining 150 Jews were transferred to an old military camp in Lysa Gora about three kilometers south of Berdychiv. In 1942, all the Jews from Berdychiv were brought to Lysa Gora. These were Jews with skilled trades like artisans who performed slave labor for various German industries. In may and june, about 700 more Jews from nearby villages and areas were brought to Lysa Gora. In July, about 230 Jews were murdered next to the camp. Prisoner selection was carried out regularly and those who were no longer considered necessary for slave labour were murdered. As the Soviet army approached Berdychiv in november 1943, the remaining Jews were murdered in Lysa Gora. Responsible for the executions in 1941 and 1942 was SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln.

Current status: Monument (2019).

Location: 49°53'55.59"N 28°24'29.67"E (ghetto)

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The monuments are scattered in and outside Berdychiv. The monuments of Berdychiv are easy to find while the monuments outside can be harder to find. In any case, the mass graves located in fields or in forest groves ranging from a few hundred meters to about 1500 meters from the road. They are also placed lying down and can be difficult to detect if you do not know where to look.

Follow up in books: Arad, Yitzhak: Holocaust in the Soviet union (2009).