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ChGK Soviet Reports

The Yad Vashem Archives hold a vast collection of documents amassed by the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK).

GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from May 13, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
From the testimony of Ksenia Prodanchuk, who was born in 1925:
In 1941, in September, I do not remember the exact date, but it was on a Wednesday morning, Germans from the killing unit were taking a group of 8,000 defenseless Hungarians [Jews], who came to us in Kamenets-Podolsk from Hungary. They walked in rows of four and had their children with them or carried them in their arms, heading toward the road to [the town of] Dunaevtsy. These Hungarians were surrounded by a German killing unit. Soon afterwards I heard shots from automatic weapons and terrible, penetrating cries of the people that was like an inhuman roar. I did not see how the Hungarians were shot. Later in the evening, when shots were no longer heard, Germans from the killing unit took back [to the city] at gun point ten girls and four men. All of them were terrified....
On the second day, Thursday, once again a crowd of 18,000 peaceful inhabitants of Kamenets-Podolsk was passing our house in the direction of the road to Dunaevtsy. Among them I saw a neighbor who used to live in the same courtyard as I did, a certain Mrs. Shvartsman, her husband, their daughters Liza and Basya, and their relatives, who went arm-in-arm, silently, without uttering a sound, their heads lowered toward the ground. Liza, who saw me, waved to me and shouted: "Senia, we are lost." The old people who could not move and lagged behind were beaten to death by Germans, afterwards they were picked up by carts that followed, loading 20-30 people into each cart and transporting them, as I know, to the shooting site. I could not believe that the German monsters would shoot the civilian population, but was soon convinced that they could. Together with my neighbor, Sonia Kotlyamchuk, I hid behind the moving population and ran in the direction of Dembitsky village; we both stayed hidden in the bushes. Although this was far away, I could see how the children, women, and men were forced to undress and to jump into the grave in groups of 10. Some of them resisted since they did not want to undress. They were beaten with rifle butts, stabbed with bayonets and, dragged by their legs and arms, were pulled to the grave. The babies were snatched away from their mothers and stabbed with bayonets.
My house was also passed by trucks filled with people: women, children, and old people. They made a tremendous noise. I counted 10 such trucks. The trucks were closely surrounded by Germans armed with rifles. Some of the people jumped out of the moving trucks and started to run, but the trucks stopped and the Germans jumped down, chased the fugitives, and shot them on the spot. ...

GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from May 17, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
Testimony of Sergey Sputannyi, who was born in 1882:
... On August 28, 1941 in Kamenets-Podolsk more than 8,000 local inhabitants - women, children, and old people - were assembled at the central square and guarded closely by the gendarmerie. The men were taken by the Pochtovyi descent over the Old Bridge through Poslkie Folvarki toward the old prison, where, from 10 AM to the evening, the shots of automatic weapons was heard: the shooting of the Kamenets inhabitants - children, women, old people, and men - was carried out there. ...

GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from May 15, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
From the interrogation of the former auxiliary policemen Ivan Chaykovskiy, who was born in 1904
...During my service in the police I participated three times in the mass shootings of peaceful Soviet citizens.
The first time was, I think, on August 28, 1941 when, in the area of Belanovka (on the outskirts of the city of Kamenets-Podolsk), no fewer than 4,000 Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality were shot.
On the day of the shooting, in the morning, German soldiers and "schutzmanner" (local auxiliary policemen) went around the houses and drove the Jews out onto the street. Then they were lined up in a 4-row wide column and, under German guard, were taken to the shooting site in the direction of Belanovka. I personally did not participate in the round up of the civilians from their houses since I had the day off. After the civilians were taken outside the city by the Germans, police chief Razumovskiy met me and told me to join the other policemen at the shooting place outside the city. We got into cars that took us to a field in the Belanovka area, to which the civilians of Jewish nationality had already been taken.
All the "schutzmanner" who had arrived were placed in a cordon around the Jews to guard them and, under no circumstances, allow them to get away. We were armed with rifles. At that time the people we were guarding were forced to undress and were taken by Germans, in groups of 5-6, to a grave where two German accomplices shot them. In this way all of the people taken there were shot. Subsequently, the grave was covered by [local] people mobilized for this task and we returned to the city. The Germans took for themselves the possessions of the people who were shot....
I participated in the shooting of peaceful Soviet inhabitants for the third time in late autumn, I do not remember the month, of 1942, when, in the city of Kamenets-Podolsk in the area of the Cossack barracks, about 4,000 Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality were shot. On the day of the shooting at about 4-5 AM we schutzmanner were assembled in the courtyard of the gendarmerie and told that we were going to carry out an assignment, but it was not specified. After that, the 1st Company (including myself), commanded by the German Krubazik went to the Jewish ghetto in the Polskie Folvarki area. We were armed with rifles. Company commander Krubazik explained to us our task - to guard the ghetto and to prevent the civilians from escaping from it. We carried this out by setting up a cordon around the ghetto. Some time later a number of German trucks started to arrive in the ghetto; people from the ghetto were loaded onto them and driven to the Cossack barracks area. Each truck was accompanied by one German and two schutzmanner. We already knew that people from the ghetto were being taken to be shot. After standing in a cordon around a ghetto for about an hour, together with 20 more schutzmanner, I was taken to the Cossack barracks, where we were stationed on the road to prevent unauthorized access to the barracks. After about 20-40 minutes there, together with 2 more schutzmanner, I was relieved from this duty by company commander Krubazik and put onto a truck to accompany the civilians from the ghetto to the shooting site. ...
QUESTION: How did the loading and transportation of the civilians from the ghetto to the shooting site proceed?
ANSWER: We came into the ghetto with an empty truck, opened the backboard of the truck, and a German ordered the civilians to get into the truck. Those who refused to get into the truck were forcefully pushed into the truck by me and another schutzmann. Then we closed the board of the body of the truck and drove through the city to the shooting site. On the way our job was to guard the people, to prevent them from jumping out of the moving truck and escaping. Upon arrival at the graves where the shooting was taken place, the truck stopped, we opened the backboard of the body of the truck, unloaded the people, and returned to the ghetto for a new group [of victims]. I made some four such trips, each time with 30-35 people. On the way from the ghetto to the shooting site there were no attempts to escape. ...
QUESTION: How was the mass shooting of the population organized in this case?
ANSWER: In this case the organization of the mass shooting of peaceful Soviet citizens was the same as in the two cases I described before. The people brought from the ghetto were unloaded from the trucks and were led to the graves (in this cases there were two of them). There the people had to completely undress and then approach the grave [in groups of] 5-7 people. They descended sloping earth steps into the grave, lay face down on top of the bodies of those who had been already shot; two German henchmen shot them in the back of the head with automatic weapons. The cordon around the shooting site consisted of two circles, the first of which, consisting mainly of Germans, was right at the graves and encompassed the place where people about to be shoot were undressing, while the second, consisting of the schutzmanner from the 2nd company, surrounded the whole area and was located at a distance of 100-150 meters from the first circle. ...
The shooting ended toward evening. The graves were covered by workers from the concentration camp. ...

Report of the ChGK, Kamenets-Podolsk Report of the ChGK, Kamenets-Podolsk GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from May 16, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
From the testimony of Klara Moskal, who was born in 1924
On August 28, 1941 at dawn, they started to drive the Jews out off their apartments, telling to take with them their most valuable possessions. We were driven out of our apartment to the square, where we were surrounded by Germans and Hungarians. Whoever of us carried bags on our shoulders was beaten and [our bags] were thrown aside. Later, we were lined up 6-8 in a row and told that the way was going to be difficult and long and, therefore, there was no point in taking many belongings with us. We were taken first in the direction of Polskie Folvarki, [where] we were divided into two groups. One group was taken through Polskie Folvarki toward a pit while the other was stopped at a bridge near a rock and ordered to lie down. We sat down, while those who were tired lay down. In the meantime the Germans set up machine guns. One German put on a protective vest, a helmet, and gloves and lay down next to the machine gun, while other Germans armed with light machine guns surrounded us. Some "schutzmanner" were there as well. After they had ordered all this to be done, the Germans surrounded us and started to take pictures of us. Then they took us back to the Old Town. At several minutes past noon we were once again assembled in the center of the city. I asked the policemen "Where is that part of the people who were taken away?, my parents were among them." "You are going to be evicted from the city" he replied. ...
After the people were assembled, we were taken to Polskie Folvarki. Those unable to walk were beaten. There were German trucks and those who had been beaten were lifted up, put into trucks, and driven to the shooting site.
On the way I understood that we were going to be shot and all those walking [with me] understood this as well.
When we were close to the pit, the Germans ordered us to undress. At some distance from the grave they ordered us to leave our shoes, as well as money, gold, and other valuables. ... With every minute the line got closer to the grave, accompanied by cries and by terror. Germans silenced the cries by [hitting people on the head] with their rifle butts. The abuse of the young boys and girls cannot be imagined. The Germans shouted "komsomoltsy" ["Young Communists"] and split their heads open with their rifle butts. ... When I saw such brutalities, I didn't want to suffer them so I approached the grave on my own. When one henchman saw that I was going to the grave on my own, he approached me and hit my shoulder with his rifle but I raised my hand against him. At this time a translator approached and started to ask me what the matter was. I answered that my father was a Russian and that our house had been destroyed by a bomb and we did not have time to reach the New Town, and that I become mixed with the group of Jews when I was standing in the bread line. I asked the approaching German commandant to let me and my mother go since we were Russian. The commandant believed me and let me go, telling me to go over to a car. ... Standing on the car's footboard, I saw a grave across which planks had been laid, and the Germans standing around. The people approaching the grave were forced by the Germans to run along the planks; they were beaten with sticks and rifle butts and fell alive into the grave. ...

GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from May 17, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
From the interrogation of Zaloga, a company commander of local auxiliary police:
... The second mass shooting of the Jewish population in Kamenets-Podolsk about which I also know since, together with my subordinates in this case, I too was part of the second cordon, took place approximately at the end of November or December 1942.
At this time ... about 4,800 Jews lived in the ghetto, an absolute majority of them were specialists with various professions, including orderlies, who worked in the local hospital ... and the family members of specialists who were engaged in various jobs...
... The next morning at 4 AM, when I arrived with my "schutzmanner" (policemen), in the courtyard of the gendarmerie, "Wachtmeister" (chief of the gendarmerie station) Krubazik handed over to me the post of the gendarmerie chief, Lieutnant Reich; at 5 AM I had to be at the Cossack barracks (training battalion), where I would receive further orders. He and his policemen were to go to the ghetto.
After receiving rifles ... and 10 cartridges for each rifle, we arrived at 5 AM at the Cossack barracks, where there already were an SD member and about 30-40 people from the forced labor camp in Kamenets-Podolsk who, guarded by sentries of their camp, finished digging a fourth grave....
About 20-30 minutes after I and my subordinates arrived, vehicles started to arrive at the area of Cossack barracks. ... Thus, at the beginning of this mass shooting there were: 6-7 Germans, 10-12 members of the gendarmerie, and 8-10 border guards. A total of 28-29 men. Later, military men from the commandant's office also arrived [as well as] 15-20 railway policemen. ... [There were also] about 5 Russian criminal policemen, headed by the chief of criminal police, in addition to the 70 policemen headed by me.
... I received an order from Reich to place my policemen in the second cordon; the exact manner of placing them was explained to me by a SD man who, afterwards, collected the [victims'] valuables. Our task was ... to prevent the escape of those condemned to death and to keep the local population, and even Germans, away from the shooting site. During the shooting many Germans, both military and civilians, came to watch. When Germans came, one of the gendarmes or SD men sent them away.
Furthermore, a double cordon was set up between the place where the trucks [with Jews] stopped and the place where they had to undress so that Jews from the trucks were forced through a kind of corridor to the second cordon that, this time, consisted solely of Germans and 2-3 policemen. ...
As soon as the cordon was in place, 5-10 minutes after Reich arrived, German trucks loaded with Jews from the ghetto arrived. From three trucks completely covered with canvas about 50-60 Jews got down accompanied by gendarmes, SD men, criminal policemen and, later, also by several policemen, and were taken to the place where they had to undress. This went on during the entire time of the shooting, approximately until 17:00-18:00, i.e. about 12 hours. The Jews condemned to death were taken in groups of 40-60 people. ...
The people who had dug the graves were taken behind the buildings of Cossack barracks [so that they could not witness the massacre].
The accomplices from the SD "worked" there in shifts: when one of them got tired, he went to rest at the trucks, where snacks and drinks had been prepared. He was replaced by another [accomplice]. In this way they changed shifts throughout the shooting. The henchmen, and not only the henchmen, were strengthened by vodka all the time. From time to time the truck-if the person was a gendarme, the gendarmerie truck, if the was a member of the SD, then a Gestapo truck, was approached by one of the Germans, who got in, ate a sandwich, drank some vodka, smoked a cigarette and, then, went back to "work."
There was only one case of an [attempted] escape. ... A middle-aged man ran 70-100 meters beyond the second cordon but was shot while he was running. ...
All the belongings and valuables [of the murdered Jews] were taken away-the valuables by the SD, new items-by the Germans. This time the schutzmanner were forbidden to take things. ...
On this occasion about 4,000 innocent civilians of the Soviet Union - old people, ill and cripples, men and women, specialists, little children, and even babies were murdered. ...

GARF 7021-64-799, copy YVA JM/19711

The following report of the ChGK from June 26, 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Kamenets-Podolsk:
Testimony of Katarina (Ekaterina) Ginchuk, who was born in 1892 (in German)
...On August 25 a new order was issued stating that all Hungarian Jews should assemble in a certain place early on August 26. At this time the chief of the local police demanded from the Jews 40,000 pengö [a large amount of Hungarian money], which was to be collected by the morning of August 26. Afterwards, all the Hungarian Jews were transferred to the new town, to the barracks near the train station. There they were locked in and no one was allowed to leave the building. A man named Veinblatt from Kassan entered at night to bring water but he was killed by the guards. At 5 AM two German soldiers went through each hall and ordered all [the Jews] to assemble outside but to leave all their belongings behind. Two other German soldiers ordered all the Jews who were German subjects to remain.
Outside German soldiers armed with whips stood 10 steps apart and beat the Jews who ran past them.
I do not know what else happened on this day.
Altogethter there were 6,500-7,000 Jews...
Video
Bina Tenenblat, who was born in 1928 in Kamenets-Podolsk and lived in the city during World War Two
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Bina Tenenblat, who was born in 1928 in Kamenets-Podolsk and lived in the city during World War Two
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