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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
July 1941 - A member of the Waffen-SS shoots a Jew at a mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine

July 1941

A member of the Waffen-SS shoots a Jew at a mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Germany invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, conquering almost all of the Ukraine by October 1941. The mass murder units Einsatzgruppen C and D, which traveled with the German army, as well as SD units (Security Service of the SS), murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews as well as tens of thousands of other citizens suspected of being communists or Soviet government officials. Assisting them with the murders were German police, German military units and local Ukrainians.

Einsatzgruppe C, under the command of Dr. Emil Otto Rasch, consisted of 1,000 men and traveled eastwards through Ukraine along with the advance of the German army. During the first weeks of the campaign its members murdered, along with the help of the Ukrainians, Jewish men all along the axis of advance: Tarnopol, Dobromil, Sambor, Vinnitsa, Zhitomir, Beila-Tcharkov, Boguslav, Babi Yar, Uman and Lubny.

Vinnitsa was conquered on July 19, 1941. Of the city’s original Jewish population of 25,000, approximately 17,500 managed to flee eastwards with the retreating Russian army. At the end of July hundreds of Jewish men were murdered in the cemetery in Vinnitsa, and the remaining Jews were deported to a ghetto established within the city. At the end of September 1941, approx. 2,000 Jews were murdered outside of the city. The rest of the Jews were spared because they were deemed to be essential workers working in vital industries in the city. In August 1942 some of the remaining Jews were murdered, while the rest were transferred to labor camps. Only a few survived until Vinnitsa was liberated in March 1944.

Yad Vashem Photo Archives 2626/4