Farewell! – Answered by those that stood over the pit. Terrible screams filled the air: uttered the names of relatives, were distributed last farewell.
Old men were praying loudly, without losing faith in Gd, even in those terrible hours, marked by the rule of the devil. On this day, September 15, 1941, in a field near the Berdichev airfield, were killed and twelve thousand people. The vast majority of those killed were women, girls, children, old women and old men.
All five wells were filled to the brim, – had to pile on top of the hills of the earth to cover the body. The earth moved, convulsive breathing. At night, many of the not quite dead crawled out from under the mounds. Fresh air entered through the land in the upper layers of lying and gave strength to those who were only wounded, in whom the heart has continued to fight, regained consciousness lying unconscious. They are spread all over the field, instinctively trying to crawl away from the pits, most of them, losing power, bleeding, dying there on the field, a few dozen yards from the place of execution.
The peasants, who were traveling at dawn from Romanovka in the city, saw: the whole field covered with dead. In the morning the Germans and the police removed the body, finished off those still breathing and re-bury them.
Three times in a short time on earth, the graves revealed, rising from within, and bloody fluid performed through the edge of the pits, poured across the field. Three times the Germans rounded up the peasants, forcing them to pile new hills above the huge graves.
There is information about two children standing on the edge of the open grave and miraculously saved. One of them – ten year old son Engineer Nuzhny Garik. His father, mother and younger sister were executed. When Garik with his mother and sister went to the edge of the pit, his mother, wanting to save her son, cried out: – This boy is Russian, he was the son of my neighbor, he was Russian, a Russian! Voices of other doomed supported it: – He’s Russian, he was Russian! – They shouted. SS man pushed the boy. Before dark he lay in the bushes near the road, and then went to town on Belopolskaya street, the house where he lived his short life.
He entered the apartment of Nikolai Vasilyevich Nemolovsky, friend of his father and barely seeing the familiar faces, fell into a fit, choking with tears. He said he had been killed by his father, mother, sister, mother and strangers, of which no one has to living, saved him.
He sobbed all night, jumping out of bed, pulling himself off, to return to the place of execution. Ten days hid him Nemolovsky. On the tenth day Nemolovsky learned that among the 400 artisans and craftsmen specialists, stayed alive Engeneer Nuzhny’s brother . He went to the photograph, where he worked for this, and said that his nephew was alive. On the combined night he came to see the boy. When Nemolovsky described to the writer of these lines the meeeting of Nuzhny, who had lost his entire family, with his nephew, he burst into tears and said: It is impossible to tell. After a few days, Nuzhny came back again to pick up his nephew and take him to his house. The fate of both had a tragic end -at the next shooting, both uncle and nephew were executed.
The second saved, retired from the execution site was Chaim Roitman (10 years). Upon his eyes, were killed the father, the mother and his younger brother Boris. When the German raised his automatic, Haim, standing on the edge of the pit, said to him: See, watch; and pointed to a shiny piece of glass nearby. German stooped to pick up the watch, and meanwhile the boy ran away. The bullets of the German gun made a hole in his cap, but the boy was not injured – he ran up until fell unconscious. He was saved, hid and adopted by Gerasim Prokofievich Ostapchuk. Thus, perhaps, he is the only one who was brought to the firing squad on Sept. 15, 1941, but remained alive until the arrival of the Red Army.
After the mass execution of Jews, fleeing from city to village, and residents of neighboring villages, came to be saved in the empty ghetto, where the local at this time of wholesale massacre of the Jewish population took place. Someone told them that here in specially designated for Jews streets, they couldescape from death. But then again, here came the Germans and the police, and started new atrocities.
Small children had their heads smashed on the pavement, women had their breast cut off. Witness to this beating was fifteen years boy, called Leva Milmeyster, he fled from the place of execution, wounded in the leg by a German bullet. Toward the end of October 1941, the Germans began rounding up those who secretly lived in restricted areas of the city for Jews. In these raids were included not only Germans but also the Ukrainian police , they were also helped by the volunteers of the so called: Black Hundreds. By November 3, at the ancient monastery of monks of the Order of Barefoot Carmelites, which stands above the steep bank of the river and surrounded by tall and thick ramparts, were rounded up 2000 people.
On this ocassion were included the 400 professionals with their families, which Reder and Karolyuk kept away during the shooting of September 15 of 1941. On November 3. the driven to the monastery people were asked to lay down on the floor, on a specially-defined circle, all the valuables, including jewelry and money. A German officer, announced that those which hid valuables will not be shot, but they will be buried alive. Then, were led out in groups of 150 men to be shot. People are transported to the trucks. At first, men were taken, about 800 people, then they brought women and children.
Some prisoners in the monastery, after terrible beatings, torture, hunger and thirst, after four months of the German butchery after the loss of loved ones, were so spiritually dead, that went to their death as a deliverance. People stood in mortal turn, without trying to have an extra hour or two delay for the moment of death.
In a memorandum IM Leenzona lawyer, who visited Odessa in May 1944, states that the number of Jews exterminated in the city of Odessa was about 100 thousand people. Rozhetsky Leo, a disciple of 7-grade 47-th Odessa school, wrote essays, songs and poems, mostly from his mind, but sometimes written on scraps of paper, on boards, or on the plywood.
Of course, this threatened me with death, but I wrote two anti-fascist songs: “A wide sky opened high” and “Nina” (in memory of a woman gone mad). Sometimes I was able to read the poems to my comrades in misfortune. I was pleased, when through groans and tears of the people, I listened them singing my songs and reading my poems.
Rozhetsky tells how he was beaten almost to death because they found with him a poem of Pushkin. “They wanted to kill me, but they weren’t succeeded” He was a young man, almost a boy, he visited many death camps and gave a detailed description of them. In his essay, we clearly envision this hell – a chain of camps on the Black Sea to the Bug: sorting, Berezovka, Sirotskoye, Domanevka and Bogdanovka. “I want” – writes Rozhetsky – “that should be stamped with particular clarity, each letter of these names. These names can not be forgotten. There were death camps. Here, the Nazis destroyed, innocent people just because they were Jews”.
The number of Jews killed in Domnevke reached 15 thousand, in Bogdanovka killed 54 thousand Jews. The registration of these records were compiled on 27 March 1944 by the representatives of the Red Army, the authorities and population.
“January 11, 1942 my mother and me and little brother Anatoly, who had just risen after typhus, forced to Slobodka. At three o’clock we were called. It was bitter cold, snow up to their knees. A lot of elderly people and children have lost their lives still in the city, due to a howling blizzard. The Germans laughed and took pictures with their cameras. Some of the people managed to reach the Sortirovotchnaya station. On the way the dam was dynamited. A whole river appeared. Drenched people froze to death. The station there was a train. I will never forget the picture: across the platform littered with pillows, blankets, coats, boots, pots and other things.
Frozen elderly can not get up and moan softly and plaintively. Mothers lose their children, children lose their mothers, in the middle of cries, screams and gunshots. A mother throw up their hands, tearing her hair out: “Darling, where are you?”; A child is torn on the platform, shouting: “Mama!”
In Berezovka with a creaking noise the doors of the wagon were opened and we were blinded by the glow of fire. I saw the flames of the fires, and through them I observed burning people. A sharp smell invaded the place. The Germans burned people alive. This slaughter was done at the station Berezovka. Suddenly, a strong push, and the train slowly moves farther, farther from the fires. We were condemned to die in another place.
About Domanevka, Rozhetsky said, that it is among the death camps, “a place of honor”. He describes it in detail. Domanevka bloody, black floor. Domanevka – is the center of deaths and killings, here were driven to their death thousands of groups. Stages followed one after another continuously. From Odessa we were three thousand people, and reached Domanevka only a handful. Domanevka was a regional center, a small town. Around the town there are hilly fields. Beautiful woods, small copses. In the bushes, and in the branches still hang rags, scraps of clothing. Here, every tree means a grave … We can see everywhere the skeletons of people”.
In the middle Domanevka were two dilapidated stables under the name “Gorki”. Even, for the guetto of Domanevska it was the most frightening place. From the barracks, nobody could get out, the mud reached the knees, immediately accumulating filth. Corpses lay as in a morgue. Typhus. Dysentery. Gangrene. Death.
“From the corpses gradually were formed enormous mountains, that was terrible to watch. Lying dead in various positions old men, women and children. The dead mother hugging a dead child. Wind stirring the gray beards of the old men.
And I ask myself, how I didn’t grew mad? Day and night here on all sides ran dogs. The dogs of Domanevka were fat as sheep. Day and night they devoured human flesh, gnawing human bones. The stench was unbearable. One of the policemen, caressing the dog, said: “Well Polkan, ate Jews today?”
At 25 kilometers from Domanevka on the bank of the Bug is Bogdanovka. Alleys converge to nice park, here was the pit, the place where found the grave, tens of thousands of Jews. “The prisoners were stripped naked and then led up to the pit and were forced to knee, face to the Bug. They shot only with explosive bullets, right in the head. The corpses were thrown down. In front of the husband his wife was killed. Afterwards, he was killed”.
Svinosovhoz “Stavka”; was, in the words of Rozhetsky, “like an island in the desert steppe”. Those who survived the “Gorki” stay, found their death here. They drove the people into pork cages and held them in those dirty cells up to the moment in which a merciful death relieved them of their suffering.
“The camp was surrounded by a ditch. The one who dared to cross it, was shot on the spot. For taking water it was allowed to walk only a group of ten people each time. One day, seeing that the “order” was disturbed, the police shot at the eleventh. This was a youn lady. “Oh, mama, was killed a girl cried”. The policeman walked up and killed her with a bayonet.
Those who survived were sent to the most difficult and painful work. “I remember how we arrived at the barracks. I led the horse by the bridle, my mother was pushing the cart from behind. We removed the corpses by the feet and hands, piled them onto a cart, and filling it to the brim, drove this load to the pit and thrown down”.
Elizabeth Pikarmer said: “I was with my neighbor at the house and her child stood at the first hole, despite the fact that we stood in the crowd in the middle of hundreds. But at the last minute came Romanian authority with a piece of paper in his hand and ran over to the guards. And the prisoners were led on , to a new place. On the next day all of us were thrown into a river”.
Giving to our tormentors our last things,we bought for ourselvesthe right to withdraw from the water. Many of us later died of pneumonia. In Domanevka Romanians, cut in in two parts the children, and clinging their legshit a rock. They also cut the breast of the women.Whole alive families were buried or burned at the stake.
An old man called Furman and 18-year-old girlfriend Sonia Katz were invited to dance, and for this they had been promised to extend their life. But their lives ended too soon, after two hours they were hanged. The condemned dancing men and women were moving like automatons, lost their senses and raved.
The commandants of the village Gulyaevka, Lupescu and Plutoner Sandu – every night sent their orderlies in the camp for beautiful girls. In the morning they had a special pleasure watching their agony. Typhous ill people were kept lying unattended. Death decimated hundreds of people and it was difficult to distinguish the living from the dead and healthy from the sick . Tania Rekochinskaya wrote to his brother in the army: “I was with my husband and two children in a fierce, frosty winter kicked out of the apartment and sent to the stage far away 180 miles from Odessa to the Bug. IA small girl, died on the road. Some boys were savagely shot. I suffered all these horrible scenes, and all these horrors didn’t seem to have an end.
In the delusional existence of the death camps, in the silence, only was heard the broken and wheezing groans of the dying, but once broke an alarming cry: “The village was surrounded. The Romanians and Germans arrived – the colonists from the village Kartakaeva came with the machine guns”. The police appeared on horseback and all the Jews were driven in a barn, and thence carried to the trenches. Some decide to die proudly, neithrt begging pleas for mercy, nor showing fear of death to the executioners. Others wanted to die by themselves. They ran and threw themselves into the estuary. Men soothe the women, women soothed the children. Some of the smallestchildren laughed. And this child’s laughter seemed strange onto the tragic situation of the bloody carnage.
Mommy, where are we being led? a weakly voice of a six-year’s girl. We’ll be transferred to a new apartment – soothes her mother … Yes, the apartment is deep and damp. And never from the windows of the apartment neither the mother, nor her daughter will observe the sun, and the blue sky.
But here are the trenches. The entire procedure is performed with the of German accuracy and precision. The Germans and Romanians, as a surgeon before the operation, put on white robes and roll up their sleeves. Bombers lined up the trenches, they aligned the victims first. Peoplestood in front of their tormentors quivering, naked and waiting for death.
For children they didn’t spend their bullets. They broke the chidren’s heads on poles and trees and afterwards threw them alive into the bonfires. Mothers were pushed off and they didn’t kill them at once, letting them bleed and agonize to death while they contemplate the death of their babies.
Special savagery was applied by a German woman, dispossessed resident of the village Kartakaeva. She seemed to be intoxicated by her own brutality and with wild cries shattered the children’s heads with rifle butts with such force that the brains flung a great distance.