Testimony: Omelian – “After the shooting of the Jews in the Tovtse cemetery, blood ran down to the river. The villagers had to put chalk on the grave, which made white steam. Just before the beginning of the shooting, we were at mass at the Saint Michel church. A Ukrainian policeman came to tell the priest to close the church doors and not to worry. He then launched a flare to indicate the start of the shooting. Mass then continued.”

Basic info: The team investigated labor camps for Jewish prisoners. The large majority of Jewish prisoners in the region were systematically put into filvaroks, properties formerly belonging to the Polish nobility. The Jews worked either in fields or on the construction of railways. There was little surveillance of the prisoners. Each filvarok was run by a German, from the military or civil administration, sometimes accompanied by his family. Prisoners were forced to work separately or in groups. The YIU team investigated labor camps in the villages of Ulachkyvtsi, Rojanivka, Rossokhach, Ozeriany, and Mylivtsi.

Another theme that the Yahad team encountered yet again was the undressing of victims’ bodies by locals. One witness, Iaroslav, described how he and other children went to see the shooting, hoping that they would get the chance to steal victims’ belongings. However, “unfortunately, the shooting site was surrounded with barbed wire”, so the children were unable to take the clothes. Instead, they had to go down into the pit to undress the bodies that were still clothed. In other cases, requisitioned locals were able to steal victims’ clothes for themselves. In Ozeriany, it was the undertaker who was given the task of filling in the grave who undressed the victims and sold the clothes to the poorest villagers.

During this field investigation, the Yahad team interviewed 44 witnesses and located 14 mass grave sites.

Places: USTECHKO, ROJANIVKA, PODILLIA, MUKHAVKA, ULACHKIVTSI, MYLIVTSI, TORSKE, ZALISHCHYKY, ROSSOKHACH, OZERIANY, SKALA-PODILSKA, BORSHCHIV, ZABOLOTIVKA, YAZLOVETS, BUCHACH, MELNYTSIA-PODILSKA, KHMELEVA, POMIRTSI, TOVSTE, GOLOVCHYTSI.

Key Findings:

– Use of filvaroks;
– Forced Labor;
– Shootings;
– Looting of victims’ belongings.