“In Novosselytsia, where more than 10,000 Jews lived before the war, the Yahad-In Unum team succeeded in interviewing the last Jewish survivor of the war. Mendel was born in 1926.His whole family was killed in the camps during the deportation, he buried his mother and he saw his future wife being raped by a dozen soldiers in a barn. Mendel recounted: “From the arrival of the Germans and the Romanians, for 24 hours, they killed, raped and stole from the Jews. My family was hiding in a vegetable garden. I saw my grandmother wounded, she crawled to the middle of the courtyard and shouted: ‘Finish me off, Mendel! Finish me off!’”.
At the end of 14 days of research in Ukraine, the Yahad-In Unum team had investigated in 27 towns and villages in the Tchernivtsi region. This goal of this research trip was to start investigating in this border region with Romania and Moldova. At the end of this research trip, the Yahad-In Unum team had identified 17 execution sites and questioned 43 witnesses.
Region: Tchernivtsi Region
Towns and villages investigated:
Kolinkivtsi, Malintsi, Chylivtsi, Vaslovivtsi, Tchornivka, Khotyn, Boïany, Zarojany, Dankivtsi, Anadoly, Novodnistrovsk, Ojeve, Lomatchyntsi, Iasseni, Sokyriany, Chypyntsi, Loujany, Mamalyga, Kochouliany, Zelena, Marchyntsi, Novosselytsia, Velykyï Koutchouriv, Dratchyntsi, Novi Dratchyntsi, Iourkivtsi, Boïantchouk
The first investigations led by the Yahad-In Unum team in the villages in the region revealed that the extermination of the Jewish population took place from the first days of the occupation and sometimes even before the arrival of the soldiers. This common statement often appeared during the local investigations: the Jews were accused of aggressions and attacks on Romanian soldiers during their retreat in 1940, which served as a pretext for the pogroms and shootings.
The Yahad-In Unum team’s investigation in this part of Ukraine revealed several specificities:
– The territory was under German-Romanian occupation during the war;
– The pogroms of the Jewish population from the first days of the war;
– The deportation of Jews 2-4 weeks after the beginning of the war;
– Isolated and mass shootings, often without a grave.