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Shepetovka

Shepetovka, Shepetovka County, Kamenets-Podolsk District, Ukraine

To enlarge the map click here Current view of the synagogue built by the Jewish community of Shepetovka in 1820.
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Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013 Current view of the synagogue built by the Jewish community of Shepetovka in 1820.
Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013
Genesis Philanthropy Group project Tombstone in the old Jewish cemetery
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Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013 Tombstone in the old Jewish cemetery
Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013
Genesis Philanthropy Group project Present view of the ohel (tomb) of Rabbi Pinhas Shapiro of Korets
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Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013 Present view of the ohel (tomb) of Rabbi Pinhas Shapiro of Korets
Photo by Eugene Shnaider, 2013
Genesis Philanthropy Group project

Jews are mentioned as living in Shepetovka in the 18th century. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Shepetovka was a Hasidic center, particularly in the time of Rabbi Pinhas Shapiro of Korets (1726-1791). In 1897 its 3,880 Jews comprised approximately 48 percent of the total population. In the spring of 1919, during the pogroms of the Russian civil war (1918-1920), 6 Jews were killed and several other injured by the Ukrainian army of Symon Petliura.
Under Soviet rule a number of Jews in the town continued to work in their professions as artisans while others formed trade cooperatives or worked at state-owned enterprises, such as the local sugar and bread factories. A 7-year Yiddish school operated in the town. In 1939 the town's 4,844 Jews comprised 20 percent of the total population.
The Germans occupied Shepetovka on July 5, 1941. In the ensuing days Jewish refugees from Poland, Western Ukraine, and other areas in the vicinity fled to the town. On July 28, 1941, on the pretext that they would be relocated (or sent to work),a large group of young men (and several young women without children), was taken away and then shot to death by a German unit outside the town, in the forest near the village of Tsvetukha. On August 23, a small-scale murder operation was carried when, after their valuables had been confiscated, another group of Jews was shot to death outside the town. On September 1, 45 young and old Jewish men were probably shot to death outside the town as well. According to one testimony, during the summer of 1941 some Jews from Carpatho-Rus, deported by the Hungarian occupation authorities, were living in the former military barracks in the town. They were, apparently, murdered in Kamenets-Podolsk, along with other Jews from Carpatho-Rus, at the end of August 1941.
In January (or July, according to one testimony) 1941 a ghetto consisting of three streets surrounded with barbed wire and guarded by Ukrainian police was set up in a part of the town. Its inmates were forced to wear yellow patches on their clothes. Many Jews were concentrated there, including Jews from the nearby town of Sudilkov. The adults performed forced labor outside the ghetto. Philip Svoyachenko, the ghetto commandant, imposed a number of taxes on the Jews, threatening that those who didn't pay would be killed. Due to the crowding in the ghetto an epidemic of typhus broke out, leading to many deaths. According to one testimony, those who were ill, as well as those who had recovered but were still weak, were taken from the ghetto and shot to death. Dr. Stetsyuk, a Ukrainian physician who was appointed to monitor sanitation in the ghetto but was forbidden to treat patients, defied the order, filling out prescriptions and delivering medication to the ghetto. According to her testimony, during the period of the ghetto's existence, children and old people were frequently shot to death in the ghetto. Apparently in March 1942, a group of young Jewish women from the ghetto was shot to death outside the town.
On June 25, 1942 most of the ghetto's inmates, mainly women, children, and old people, were shot to death outside the town in the Tsvetukha Forest. In early September 1942 skilled workers and artisans with their families who until then had been kept in the ghetto, along with several Jews who had been caught in hiding and some Jews from the Shepetovka area, were shot to death, apparently at the same murder site.
Shepetovka was liberated by the Red Army on February 11, 1944.