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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).

The ChGK report from Shepetovka The ChGK report from Shepetovka GARF 7021-64-818, copy YVA JM/ 19712

The following report of the ChGK from May 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Shepetovka:
… In the summer of 1942 a massive annihilation was organized – a mass shooting of the [Jewish] population [of Shepetovka], which included children, women, and old people. The remaining [Jewish] residents were shot to death two months later, thus in the autumn of the same year the camp [ghetto] was liquidated. One of the burial sites of the bodies of the residents of Jewish nationality who had been shot to death is a pine forest located outside of Shepetovka, to the right of the road to Novograd-Volynsk…. In order to verify the information available to determine the approximate number of those murdered, to determine out the cause of their death…., the [ChGK] commission examined this burial site and conducted a partial opening of the graves; thus it was established:
Northwest of Shepetovka, about 2 kilometers from the town, about 125 meters on the right side of the road to Novograd-Volynsk and about 400 meters right of the road to Slavuta is located the burial site referred to as… [mass grave] No. I.
This burial site is a clearing in the forest … located in the low place, in a sparse pine forest. At burial site No. I there are 7 rectangular graves… . The graves are in awful condition, …, haphazardly covered. …

The ChGK report from Shepetovka The ChGK report from Shepetovka GARF 7021-64-818, copy YVA JM/19712

The following report of the ChGK from May 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Shepetovka:
From the interrogation of Stepan Polishuk, who served in the Ukrainian auxiliary police and participated in the murder operation against the Jews of Shepetovka in the summer of 1942
… In the summer of 1942, I don't remember what month it was, we were ordered to arrive in the town of Shepetovka. I, Yakimchuk, … [and other Ukrainian policemen]. When we entered the police station there were already many policemen there, who had been collected from different nearby localities… . We all were lined up by the Germans and told that now we would guard the Jews who had been condemned to be shot to death, afterwards three Germans stood before and after each row and we went to the place [ghetto] where the Jews were living. Shortly afterwards there arrived 5 German trucks, onto which the people were loaded, approximately 30 per onto each. Among them were: old men, old women, women, men and even children of different ages – including nursing babies. The people who had been condemned to be shot were put in rows in the body of a truck and when there were enough people there, two Ukrainian policemen took sits opposite them and the trucks drove to the forest. Thus about 210 people were sent [to the shot] at that time. When I arrived there, I saw these people guarded by the policemen, standing about 15 meters from the pit. A pit was prepared especially for this purpose, but I can't tell by whom. Its length was approximately 10 meters, its width – about 3 meters and its depth – about 2 meters, and murder victims were already lying there.
The shooting was carried out as follows: the Ukrainian policemen guarded the people who had been condemned to be shot and the shooting site itself. The members of Gendarmerie took 3-4 people out of the whole group, forced them to strip naked and, when they were undressed, they were taken to the pit, forced to their knees with their faces towards the pit, and shot to death point-blank. The women with nursing babies were shot to death in following way: a woman was taken undressed, together with her baby, to the [edge of the] pit, [then] the baby was taken from her, grasped by his arm and shot to death before his mother's eyes and then thrown into the pit, then she suffered the same fate. Those who had not yet been shot to death were observing this scene; they were crying bitterly, screaming unnaturally, and [some] even lost their minds at that moment. At that time I was standing guarding those Jews who were still alive. After all [victims] were shot to death, together with other Ukrainian policemen, I covered this pit with earth and, after taking my seat in a truck, I arrived in the town [of Shepetovka]… .

The ChGK report from Shepetovka The ChGK report from Shepetovka GARF 7021-64-818, copy YVA JM/ 19712

The following report of the ChGK from 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Shepetovka:
From the testimony of Alexander Belchinsky, a Ukrainian who worked in the forest and witnessed the mass shooting of the Jews in the summer of 1942
… in the spring of 1944 [sic for summer 1942] I was working on plot No. 52 [in the forest], about 150 meters from those pits-graves… . Early in the morning, about 9 or10, a German truck arrived in the area of the graves and unloaded 7 barrels with lime. Right after that 4 trucks loaded with women arrived at the site; they were Jewish women who were shot to death on the spot. Before that [Ukrainian auxiliary] police and Gendarmerie members had surrounded the pit and forced these women to strip as naked as they had been born, and they were put in line, one after the other. A Gendarmerie man was sitting on the fence, writing down how many groups of women he forced into the pit, and then they began to shoot the women … . While they were being shot to death with machine guns, some of them screamed horribly while others lost consciousness. At this time trucks, one after another, brought [the victims to the murder site] so that one arrived and another took left [for the ghetto]. Young girls who were ordered to get into the pit wanted to keep on their underpants since they were ashamed before the Gendarmerie and [Ukrainian] policemen, saying that they would stay [at the edge of the pit with their underpants] until their death, but one Gendarmerie man shouted and ordered them to take off their underpants so did take them off and the young girls and women were standing [naked near the pit] as on the day they were born. They waited for their turn in silence and then entered the pit. Married women who had little children were forced to strip naked and also to take off the clothes of their children, who couldn't do this by themselves. One woman took her child who couldn't walk yet, striped him naked, took him into her arms, embraced him, and entered the pit with him. Another mother stripped naked and then stripped naked her two girls - a younger one and an older one, took them by the hand and proceeded with them to be shot … . Many adults were shot to death [that day]. … When the shooting was going on and about 15-20 women who were standing [naked], one behind the other, were still left, 3 trucks arrived at the site. One truck was loaded with Jewish children, there were about 50 children. When the children saw the adults who had been shot to death, they shouted loudly and in unnatural voices. Afterwards the [Ukrainian] policemen and Gendarmerie men threw the children [alive] into the pit. Women and children were taken to be shot in these pits – there were 22 trucks [that brought them], I saw with my own eyes the shooting [of the victims that had been brought by] 18 trucks and another 4 trucks taking [the victims] to the pit when I went home. After the women, the men were brought to be shot, they were shot to death, the shooting was going on until evening. When the shooting was over, the pits were covered with lime and afterwards [Ukrainian] policemen lightly covered the pits with earth. The next day I came early to work in the forest. I worked as a woodchopper …. And I went to this grave [the pits], but there were no bodies outside the pits, only the smell of human corpses… . Afterwards I began to work… around 11 a.m. we [he and his wife] saw [Eduard] Millar, the head of the Shepetovka police [Ukrainian auxiliary police] who came to the pit in the military car with his wife, they left their car under a pine tree, he had a drink, then they approached the edge of the pit and he laughed, gesturing with his hands, and declaring to his wife that they had performing a heroic act. Afterwards they drove in the military car to the town of Shepetovka. The pits had not been hermetically closed and in the course of the following two weeks German officers and soldiers came to see this grave…. About 2,000 Jews were killed in this mass grave…. The pits had been dug by [Soviet] POW's… .

The ChGK report from Shepetovka The ChGK report from Shepetovka GARF 7021-64-818, copy YVA JM/ 19712

The following report of the ChGK from 1944 contains a description of the mass murder of the Jews in Shepetovka:
From the testimony of O. Stetsyuk, a Ukrainian doctor who took care of the ghetto inmates of Shepetovka
… Before the liquidation of the camp [ghetto] the Gendarmerie men took away the good things, furniture. The inmates of the camp had to pay a great sum of money, so-called tribute. Some of the ghetto's inmates, mainly children, old people, and women, were shot to death in the summer of 1942, only specialists [craftsmen, artisans etc.] and others [considered] capable of work were allowed to remain [in the ghetto]. On the eve of the shooting, in the evening, the Gendarmerie collected all the inmates and carried out a selection. Those who had been condemned to be shot to death were taken to the synagogue and held there until the morning, thus [the Germans] forced them to suffer before their death since every one of them knew that they would be taken to be shot in the morning. The remaining inmates of the camp were shot to death 2 months later; they were taken [to be shot] all together, heavily guarded by Gendarmerie members and [Ukrainian auxiliary] policemen. On the way those who tried to escape were shot to death on the spot. Thus, the camp was liquidated in the fall of 1942.