Olga saw two Nazis arrest two of her neighbors, Poussia and Rouftia, and shoot them with a sniper from the top of a tree, claiming that they could not bring themselves to shoot from up close because of their beauty. Overwhelmed with horror, she also told us that the bodies of the two unfortunate girls became the object of amusement for these Germans. They placed them with the other corpses against a wall in the camp and sprayed them with water.
Research on mass graves, their locations, and the conditions in which Ukrainian Jews were concentrated and exterminated took place for the 19th time in the southern part of Lvov, whose northern and central regions we had already largely investigated. As we complete this research trip, it is safe to say that we've concluded the Lvov region, in which 380,000 Jews lived before 1941, and in which Yahad-In Unum Association found almost 60 execution sites.
Ukraine is divided into twenty-four regions, an independent republic in Crimea and two municipalities with unique legal statuses, Kiev and Sevastopol.
|Regions and Independent Republic|
We collected a large number of witnesses from nationalists who wished to speak. The southern part of this region is distinguished by its strong nationalism, a large Polish population, numerous Greek-Catholics, and a high degree of difficulty in interviewing witnesses.
– It is often thought that nationalists will refuse to testify on the Holocaust, but it seems that is not always the case; Ukrainian nationalism does not seem to systematically go hand in hand with anti-Semitism.
– Our research in a village in southern Lvov, Bibrka, led us to discover a new category of workers requisitioned by the Germans: those who were forced to remove the furniture from Jewish homes during the liquidation of the ghetto.
– Yahad also returned to a small hamlet in southeastern Lvov, Iaktoriv, where the Nazis set up an enormous camp that turned out to be a death camp (which we were not able to locate at the very beginning of our research). Thanks to many new witnesses, we were finally able to find the barracks of this former camp, which now serves as a home for the mentally handicapped.
– Operation 1005: In two villages, Chtchirets and Gorodok, we were also able to confirm what we had found in the Soviet and German archives: the Nazis, in order to eliminate the evidence, sent commando units with orders to make the victims' bodies disappear.
– In this whole region of Ukraine, we also noticed a great number of buildings in the ghetto, especially synagogues, in which the Germans would lock up their Jewish victims, then pour gasoline around the building and set it on fire. Our interrogations allowed us to learn more about this sinister method.