TESTIMONY: Silvestr: “From up on the hill, I saw how the Jews were shot… Men, women and children.”

BASIC INFO: The final research trip to Ukraine in 2017 continued the investigation which had begun during the previous trip in September, namely research along the Dniester River, which flows through the regions of Chernivtsi, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. The investigations also led our team to villages surrounding Chernivtsi (formerly Czernowitz) where large massacres of the Jewish population – men, women and children – took place at the start of the war between the end of June and the beginning of July 1941, committed by Romanian soldiers and villagers, such as at Kyseliv. Moreover, the witnesses interviewed during the research trip helped us trace the route of Jews from Hungary (notably from Transcarpathia), some of whom were shot at Horodenka, whilst others were deported to Kamenets-Podolsk in the ummer of 1941. Roman, born in 1926, delivered a precious testimony on the columns of Hungarian Jews which passed through his village. He also frequented the Buchach (Buczaz)  and Ivano-Frankivsk (Stanislawow) ghettos where he bartered with the residents.

The team interviewed 37 witnesses and located 14 shooting sites.

PLACES: DOROSHIVTSI, VASYLIV, ZOZULYNTSI, VYNOGRADNE, NYZHNI STANIVTSI, KOSTYNTSI, KHOTYN, ZAVALLIA, BILA, CHERNIVTSI, SADGORA, KHRESHTCHATYK, BABYN, KYSELIV PECHORNA, LYTIACHI, ZABOLOTIV, SNIATYN, POTICHOK, USTECHKO.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The water itself is an important extermination site crossing Galicia and Bukovina, continuing south to Bessarabia. Hundreds of Jews were shot by Romanians, Germans or villagers on the banks of the Dniester or in the river itself. This was the case at Doroshivsti, Vasyliv and Mykhalche.

KEY FINDINGS:
– Shooting in the Dniestr river
– The fate of the Hungarian Jews
– The pogrom
– The fate of the Jews under Romanian administration
– The looting
– The mass shootings of Jews