Khmelnytskyi


About 300 kilometres southwest of Kiev lies the city of Khmelnytskyi which until 1954 was called Proskurov. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in june 1941, about 14 500 jews lived in the city, which corresponded to about 40 percent of the city’s inhabitants. When the Germans occupied the city on 8 July 1941, about 2,500 Jews had fled east. The Germans forced the remaining Jews to surrender their possessions, carry identification marks and perform slave labor. Spontaneous pogroms also took place and not infrequently with fatal outcome. Spontaneous executions on arbitrary grounds also became everyday life for the Jews. The jews who could and had the opportunity hid themselves but the risk of being discovered and revealed by christian ukrainians was great. In early September, a ghetto was established in the northeast of the city, where all the Jews were forced to move. The ghetto was surrounded by barbed wire and it was forbidden without special permission to leave and enter the ghetto. Overcrowding, a lack of supplies and sanitary facilities quickly contributed to difficult living conditions in the ghetto, especially for the elderly and children.

In early November 1941, the german authorities decided that the ghetto would be dismantled and the jews living in the ghetto would be murdered. Only those Jews whom the Germans considered necessary for slave labor would be spared. On November 4, the ghetto was surrounded by German police forces and Ukrainian and Lithuanian collaborators, forcing the Jews out of their homes. The Jews were taken to a place just outside the ghetto where they were forced to surrender their possessions, undress and run to the excavated graves. Arriving at the tomb, they stood at the edge of the mass grave and were shot by mobile murder units (Einsatzkommando 6) belonging to Einsatzgruppe C. During this murder, about 5,300 Jews were murdered. The remaining Jews were transferred to a new ghetto where their main task was to perform slave labor. In may 1942, the Germans established another ghetto about five kilometers east of the city where the jews were forced to work on building roads. Jews from the region were also taken to the ghettos of Proskurov. These two ghettos were dismantled on November 30, 1942, when about 8,200 Jews were murdered by German assassination units assisted by Ukrainian collaborators. Proskurov was then declared Judenfrei.

Current status: Monument (2019).

Location: 49°26'13.58"N 27°01'31.68"E (memorial).

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The memorial is established in recent years and is secluded next to the road in what seems to be a wealthy residential area. It consists of symbolic tombs and an information board with, among other things, English text. Its seclusion and design make it feel worthy of the events it aims to remember. Another monument is located in the middle of the city squeezed in on a green area between both residential buildings and a hospital.

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