So that nothing was wasted, the silos, where the Jews that had been shot were buried, were often reused. To do so, the villagers themselves had to remove the bodies, dig a new pit a hundred meters from the execution site and re-bury them.
This was the case of the camp at Lioubimovka. Maria G. (born in 1926) said: “We lifted the bodies to the surface, and then we had to place them on a cart and transport them to the new pit. Each day a new group worked to complete this task. In each group there were 5 people and each person had to remove 10 bodies per day. We worked for 2 weeks.”
After 14 days of research in the Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine, the team investigated 28 villages north of the town of Nikopol as well as around the town of Kryvy Rig. The goal of this third trip was to complete research on the Jewish communities and kolkhozes conducted during two preceding trips in this part of the region.
We successfully identified a dozen Jewish communities as well as discovered numerous work camps situated along Durchgangsstrasse IV between Kryvy Rig and Dnipropetrovsk.
By the end of this research trip, the team had identified 10 mass grave sites of which almost 60% are without memorials, therefore totally unknown, and interviewed 43 witnesses.
Investigated towns/villages: Mykolaïvka, Petrivka, Nazarivka, Malaya Kalynivka, Nezaboudine Oleksandropil, Ossypenko, Vladimirovka, Lubymivka, Gorodichsche, Maksimovka, Ostriv, Marievka, Vyvodovo, Stryukivka, Novopavlovka, Nikopol, Cholokhove Khmelnitske Novoivanivka, Vyssoke Shyroke, Avdotievka, Stepove Novoioulievka, Vychneve Novokhortitsa, Novossiolka
One of the notable results of this third research trip in the Dnipropetrovsk region is the possibility of piecing together almost all of the events that occurred during the German occupation. The recurrence of massive displacements of the Jewish population over long distances, to be interned in work camps, or shot, and the disappearance of 90% of the Jewish communities, has required several investigations in this region in order to completely piece together the crime scenes.
As of 1942, the fate of the Jews living in the communities was closely linked to the creation of work camps for Durchgangstrasse IV. With the arrival of the Germans, the Jews were forced to continue working in the kolkhozes for one year, when all the of able-bodied adults were forced to work on the construction of the road.
– Following the investigation conducted by Yahad – In Unum, it should be noted that the establishment of kolkhozes was largely used by the Nazis in this part of the region to exterminate the Jewish population, notably the silos storing grain. They were emptied of their contents to be subsequently filled with the bodies of the Jews that had been shot.
– Today the village of Ossypenko no longer has any trace of life before the war and yet at that time, it was composed of two communities: that of the Jews called Freileben and that of the Germans, called Morgenrot. There are no longer any Jews, nor Volksdeutsche, but the memory of the local population persists. Through its investigation, the Yahad – In Unum team found evidence of the two communities.
– From the testimonies of the local population, Yahad – In Unum has been able to identify the Jewish communities of Freileben, Krassindorf, Rotfeld, etc., the work camps of Lioubimovka, Vychnevé, Avdotievka, etc., as well as numerous execution sites not mentioned in the archives.