Aleksandre A. told the Yahad team: “This German, who wore a mask and a military uniform, grabbed a child out of the truck, took him up to the edge of the ravine, made him inhale some white powder from a metal box and pushed the body of the child into the ravine." Then he went to take another child in the truck. Aleksandre also remembers that the victims refused to get out of the truck and clung to whatever they could. At the end of the shooting, the Germans threw grenades into the ravine to cover the bodies superficially.
The following day, Aleksandre saw the ground move there. There was a thin layer of frost over the earth which covered the pit, yet some steam rose out of it, as the bodies were still warm.
During thirteen days of research in the Donetsk region in Ukraine, the Yahad In Unum team led investigations in 11 industrialized cities. The research focused on the Donetsk region, the city of Slaviansk in the North, up to Marioupol on the shores of the sea of Azov. By the end of this research mission, the Yahad In Unum team listed 10 mass graves – 60 percent of them being without any memorial and therefore totally unknown – and interviewed 50 witnesses.
Region of Donetsk
– The scarcity of the sources, whether in the German archives or in the Soviet Extraordinary Commission Report
– The investigation led by Yahad In Unum took place almost totally in big cities, which made the search for witnesses all the more difficult.
– The high rate of industrialization of the region with a population composed mostly of workers
– Shootings in mines and quarries to the north of the Donetsk region
– The collection of testimonies in Konstantinovka and Zougress are paramount : the two shootings that took place in these cities are not mentioned by the Soviet Commission and only one line refers to them in the German archives. The collection of the memories of these witnesses will allow for the addition to the archives in these forgotten sites.