“Those under the age of three were thrown down alive into the pit. Once the pit was full of children’s bodies, a group of six or seven Germans wearing gas masks and backpacks with a container of liquid and a duster sprayed a substance of the bodies of the dead and still alive children. My friends and I, we could smell the stench. It was nauseating, unbearable… It was simply impossible to stay there. So we went away.” Leonid thinks that liquid was acid, because the same Germans with their dusters “burned” the poor-quality Jewish clothes, which were dumped in the sixth pit at a distance from the other five.


In the course of this research mission, the Yahad-In Unum team identified forty-one pits, nearly half of which have no memorial and are therefore ignored, and interviewed fifty-one witnesses.



Regions of Jytomir, Kiev and Cherkassy

Investigated towns/villages: Liubar, Iurivka, Ivankivtsi, Dantsiv, Ivanopil, Gardyshivka, Pyatka, Krasnopil, Chudniv, Pavoloch, Vidrodjennia, Khodorkiv, Stara Kotelnia, Nova Kotelnia, Chervone, Rujin, Bilylivka, Korostyshiv, Radomyshl, Volodar-Volynski, Skvyra, Roskishne, Stodolishche, Jashkiv, Kivshovata, Tarashcha.


Historical Background of Radomyshl

According to the SBU[1] archives, there were two execution sites: the forest, where many limited and mass shootings took place; and the ravine called “Chercha.” There was no ghetto. The men were shot before the women, children and old people.

Some of the key features emerging from the archives are:

– One mass shooting of Jews took several days, but before and after this, there were a number of more limited shootings, hence multiple pits in the forest.

–  The pits were dug out either by war prisoners, or by Jews in advance, or by the victims themselves just before they were shot.

–  The gunmen were military policemen, local policemen, SS, German officers, etc.

–  The pits were generally filled up by policemen.

–  The shooting procedure was as follows: the Germans were positioned on two rows: some were standing (to shoot the adults), the others knelt down (to shoot the children).

After a series of fights between Soviet partisans, the Red Army and German troops, the town of Radomyshl was almost entirely destroyed and the population was driven away, which made it difficult for the Yahad-In Unum team to find witnesses. We still managed to find a number of reliable witnesses, who could cast a light on the events in the town during the war and often confirmed the facts reported in the archives.

[1] SBU :Ukrainian Security Service.


Key Findings

– Numerous mass shootings

– The presence on-site witnesses who provided detailed testimonies

– Widespread use in the area of the so-called Sardinenpackung killing method (which consists in forcing the victims to lay down one upon the other so as to fill more efficiently the space inside the pit).


Related Post