Galina V., born in 1942, lives in Nova-Uchita where she was raised by a Ukrainian family. It was only when she turned 58 that a Jewish survivor told her the true story of her origins: she was born in 1942 in the ghetto to a Jewish family. She is alive thanks to her mother, who threw her to the side of the road in a potato field, while the whole family was en route to the execution site. At the end of the war, her father tried to see her but decided in the end to leave her in her new home in order "not to traumatize her". Since then, the witness has desperately and unsuccessfully searched for her father and mother's family.


The investigation took place from August 11-28, 2008. It covered the region of Kmelnitski. In 18 days, we investigated 15 towns and the southern part of this region can be considered as completed.



Kmelnitski Region


Historical Background:

Aside from 2 villages, we are now able to establish the historical facts concerning the execution process of the Jewish populations living in this area. But the major issue revealed by this trip concerns our improved knowledge about what happened in the town of Kmelnitski itself. In fact, one testimony informed us that two ghettoes existed, one after the other, in that city. The first one was composed of local Jews and Hungarian Jews, Bulgarians and Czechoslovakians. It was destroyed in 1941. The second ghetto gathered local Jews and Jews from other districts as well as specialist workers. It was destroyed in 1942. In the same way, we discovered that Hungarian Jews have been killed in the town of Orynine. Moreover, we collected accurate details about the execution process of Jews from Baline. This information constitutes a major step in our research as they were never mentionned in the Soviet Commission archives.


Key Findings:

We noticed a visible improvement during this trip, due to the larger presence of Russian-speaking members within the team. Basically, it allowed us to gain time and consequently increased the number of interviews conducted each day. Thanks to the specific role of each member within the group we achieved a better coordination.In terms of our investigation, we found evidence of a new kind of execution site: the phosphorus mines in Dounaïevtsi, much less "typical" than the others consisting in graves digged in a quarry, in a cemetery, a field, a forest or a military field.


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